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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 8, 2015

Snap Circuit Jr.


Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual closure, figure ground, finger strength and dexterity, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, thinking skills, play and leisure exploration and participation, eye-hand coordination, using two hands together in a coordinated manner
 
In the box: A plastic grid, lots of plastic pieces including speaker, fan, whistle chip, slide switch, resistor, space war integrated circuit, music integrated circuit, battery holder, lamp socket, etc., instruction book with 101 electronic experiments
Ages 8+
 
The kids who like this activity, REALLY like this activity. I have used it a lot to work on spatial skills. Build an electrical or electronic project from the book and IF everything is EXACTLY as it should be, something will happen - a fan may twirl and take off, an alarm could sound, or music might begin to play.  Even something as small as a tiny light bulb going on is quite satisfying when you know you made it happen! The pieces have snaps on them that secure them to the plastic nubs on the base so that they stay in place, hence the name Snap Circuit. There are 101 projects and some take as few as 8 pieces, while others may take up to 25. The pieces are numbered according to the level. For instance, a model may have three layers that overlap. All pieces that are on the first layer are labeled 1, second layer are labeled 2, third layer labeled three, etc.
 
 
Some of the projects are flying saucer, voice control, motor space sounds, blinking double flashlight, space battle sounds, light-controlled lamp, light/water space war.  I like the simple water alarm because every time you dip the jumper wires into the cup of water you get a different sound. And every time someone dips the jumper wires into the water I cringe. Water and electricity or electronics should never go together in my mind, so I quit using that project. I would not want anyone experimenting with that around the house. Requires 2 AA batteries. The plastic grid is marked with coordinates A-G and 1-10. It is an inexpensive activity and the quality of sound is not real clear, but fun none the less.    
 
Try this:
  • Use a project that did not work as a natural opportunity for problem solving. Compare each piece to the book and see what went wrong and fix it.
  • Call out each piece and its coordinates so that an individual not looking at the book can put it together.
  • Use a popsicle stick to pry pieces out of the plastic holder if you can't get them out easily.
  • Hand the pieces one at a time while pointing to where it goes on the grid for beginners. Reduce your assistance as the individual progresses.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.
 
 

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