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.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Tower

Work on manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, visual memory, eye-hand coordination, sequencing, thinking skills, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 1 closed shaker tube with eight marbles, 16 colored cubes (8 with grey background, 8 with white background)
Ages 8+, 2 players
This one has OT written all over it. Stack your cubes to match the sequence of the marbles in the shaker. To mix the marbles, tip the marble shaker upside down and the marbles will all roll into the large base. Shake and turn it upright and the marbles with drop into the clear tube in a new sequence. Each player gets eight cubes, and each cube has 2 colors and 2 smiley faces. For instance two greens, 2 blues and 2 smiley faces on one six-sided cube. Start with your eight cubes in front of you, all smiley faces up. As soon as the marbles are mixed and shaker is placed upright on the table, pick up the cubes, one at a time, and stack them to match the marble colors. It may sound simple, but you may get toward the top and find that you don't have the right colors left. At that point you will have to exchange a cube or two with ones that have already been placed to get the colors you need. Simple problem solving skills and the ability to reach and stack will be required.

Try this:
  • Rotate each cube in-hand to find the appropriate color and then stack.
  • Look at the vertical tower, but line the cubes horizontally instead of stacking vertically. The tower cannot be laid on its side without the marbles flowing back into the base.
  • Memorize the color order of all, or just a few of the marbles. Hide the tower and build the stack.
  • Stack as many cubes as you can before they fall.
If you would like to purchase this toy, or for more information, click on the image below. 

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