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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Work on manual dexterity, graded pressure, tool use, coordinated use of both hands, finger isolation, in hand manipulation, spatial relations, figure ground, visual discrimination, sensory awareness, reasoning, attention, visual scanning, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation 

In the box: Honeycomb game stand, cardboard insert, 48 honeycomb pieces, 2 push sticks, 1 spinner, bumble bee 
Ages 4+, 2-4 players

Build a honeycomb. Push out the pieces one at a time. Don't let the bumblebee fall! You will need to build the honeycomb before you can play. Press the two yellow plastic side pieces into the blue stand. Slide the cardboard insert into the back and lay the honeycomb form flat on the table with the blue part hanging off the edge of the table (to make it completely flat). Now add the honeycomb pieces. They are shaped like hexagons and will need to be placed in certain orientations to fit. Once you have filled the honeycomb form, press the inset flat on the back (to keep the pieces in place) as you stand the structure upright. Slowly remove the cardboard backing and you are ready to play. Spin the dial to see the color you will remove or whether you lose a turn. Use the push stick to gently put pressure on a piece. If it slides out the back easily, your turn is over. If it seems tight, move on to another piece and test until you find one that removes easily. Once you remove one piece, your turn is over. All players take turns removing one piece until someone removes a honeycomb piece that makes the bumblebee fall.

Try this:
  • Use your finger instead of the push stick. Can you feel the difference between the tenseness of some and the looseness of others?
  • Choose one color and see if you can push them all out without the bumblebee falling.
  • Call one color, instead of using the spinner, for each turn and push out any one of that color.
  • Set up the grid by putting some of the pieces upside down on the table. Ask the player to pick up each piece and turn it in-hand to the right side before placing.
  • Hold the spinner in the palm of the non-dominant hand. Practice flicking the fingers to spin the dial.
For more information, click on the image below.

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