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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Connect 4X4


Played on two sides! Be spatially aware!

Work on fine motor precision, manual dexterity, pincer grasp, visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, spatial relations, critical thinking, eye hand coordination, crossing midline, spatial relations, social interaction, visual scanning, play exploration and participation

In the box: 68 checkers, 8 blockers, double-sided grid
Ages 8+, 2 players

My second favorite Connect 4 game includes a double grid, blockers, and 2-4 people can play! (My favorite is Connect 4 Launchers.) Connect 4X4 plays like regular Connect 4 in that you need four in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally to win. It is different in that you can play on both sides of the grid and a Connect 4 can occur on either side or weave through both sides. Each player also gets two blockers. A blocker is a double checker that blocks both sides at once - use them wisely! A lot to watch and a fun challenge for those who are already familiar with the original version.

Try this:
  • Ask the individual to hold two or three checkers in-hand at once. Each turn, have him move one checker to the fingertips to play.
  • Use only one side of the grid. Make a paper pattern of the grid filled with colored checkers. Place the pattern next to, or in front of the grid and ask the person to make the colored pattern on the grid instead of playing a game.
  • Fill the grid with the checkers, in several lines of four going in different directions. Ask the individual to find and point out all the Connect 4's that he can see on the grid.
  • Practice dropping the checkers in the slot at the top. Make a random pattern or just free play.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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