Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sink or Swim

Work on manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, in-hand manipulation, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, visual form constancy, spatial relations, body awareness, executive functions, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: One plastic grid, 14 puzzle pieces of different shapes, 1 challenge book
Ages 8+, 1 player

Sink or swim is a perfect one-person puzzle for those long summer days. The goal is to move the man on the red inner tube to the steps at the right bottom corner of the pool (grid). Choose a puzzle from the challenge book and place the matching pieces in the exact locations on the grid. The puzzle book has 50 puzzles that range from level one to level five.  The more difficult the puzzle, the more moves it will take and the longer the game will take to finish. Like the old-fashioned slide puzzles, pieces must slide from space to space, without being lifted out of the grid. Pieces are square, L-shaped, and rectangle. The individual setting up the puzzle must be able to read the challenge book, which is a bird's eye view of the puzzle. Answers are printed in the back of the booklet as a list of moves.

If you would like to read more about one-person logic puzzles, check out my post on What's in Your Therapy Box? Logic Puzzles Edition.

Try this:
  • Use the challenge book as a pattern book. If the individual cannot complete the puzzle, just set up the games to work on spatial skills.
  • Play a game as the individual watches, talking your way through the problem solving process. Then set the same game back up and let the individual play.
  • Play a game until you get to the last two moves and let the individual finish the puzzle. Then play a game until you get to the last three moves and let the individual finish, etc. Use the solution page so that you won't have to actually spend time playing the game and figuring out the moves yourself. 
For more information click on the image below.

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