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, May 31, 2015

Following Directions Building Set 2

Work on spatial relations, in-hand manipulation, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, using both hands in a coordinated manner, finger strength and dexterity, manual dexterity, hand strength, thinking skills, problem solving, visual form constancy, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box 100 snap cubes, 24 model cards, blue stand to hold card

Another great construction activity, useful in so many ways. The cards are large, 2 sided, and plastic coated. The front side shows the finished model and a pictorial list of what you will need. It would be nice if you could lay each piece right on top of its picture on the card, but you cannot. The pictures of pieces on the card are too small.

Following Directions - Front of card.

Once you have gathered your pieces, flip the card over and start building. The directions are printed in four steps.

Following Directions - Back of card.

The instruction cards show arrows in the direction you should go while assembling. Sometimes it doesn't matter, other times it does. Models range from 13 pieces to 30 pieces. This tulip has 19 pieces. Most of the pieces take a good push to connect and a good pull to take apart. The majority of the models are animals with a few things like jet plane, submarine, pineapple, and palm tree thrown in. I like construction sets with pattern cards and the directions on this one (following the arrows) are different from what I already have. I like the variety and always work toward generalization of skills.

Try this:
  • Give time for free play at the beginning so that the person can examine the different shaped pieces and how they snap together.
  • Turn pieces on the table so that they can't be picked up in the correct orientation. Ask the individual to pick up a piece and turn it in-hand to the correct orientation.
  • Set a few pieces at a time in front of the individual to cue him which direction he will be working, for instance when there is a color change or when moving from part one to part two. 
  • Give the person one piece at a time as he needs it for the building process. Because of the arrows, some people may be confused as to where to start or where to go next.
  • Cover the card so that you can only see one layer at a time as you build to further assist in directing the individual.
  • Give the individual a piece at a time while building and point to the piece on the card to show where it should go.
  • Skip the instructions on the back and ask the individual to build the model from the completed picture on the front. This will be more difficult as some of the pieces will be hidden on the picture of the finished model (i.e. parts in back).

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