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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.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Haba Tack Set

Hammer geometric shapes to a corkboard to make colorful images.


Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, form constancy, spatial relations, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, precise fine motor, bilateral hand use, thumb opposition, separation of two sides of the hand, tool use, play and leisure exploration and participation 

In the box: 1 cork board, 1 hammer, 100 thin wood geometric shapes, tacks, pattern page
Ages 4+

I am always looking for different kinds of hand tools to use with kids so they get a wide range of novel experiences. I look for any tools that I think kids will like - kitchen tools, garden tools, art tools, and yes, even game tools, like the hammer in this set. The wood pieces are thin and the nails are short. There is not really enough room for your finger to hold the nail above the wood piece. I have been pushing the nail in a little myself and letting the kids hammer it the rest of the way in. I am heading to Home Depot to find some longer nails. The hammer is fairly lightweight, but it does the job. There is a model sheet with about 20 finished models on it. They are not step-by-step and the individual will need to be able to work from the finished model. However, the models are basically 2D, since the pieces are flat, so this makes it easier. As you can see from above, you can fit several models on the cork board at the same time. Good news - push pins also work instead of the tacks if you want to work on just making the models without the hammer. There are a few times when you will need to combine pieces to complete a picture, as in two blue triangles make one blue square.



There are also similar models on the back side of this sheet.

UPDATE: I got a package of Everbilt wire nails, #18 X 5/8 in 1.75. This nail is about 50% longer and about the same thickness. However, if you use it with the board that comes with the set, the nails will come out the back and SCRATCH your table. They are too long for the cork board. I have a cork board that I bought at Michaels that I can use. The frame is wider than the cork board itself, so nails or push pins that stick out the bottom will not reach the table. If you get different supplies to use, check them out before using the board. Nobody wants that kind of a surprise!

Try this:
  • Use pushpins and a harder corkboard to work on strength. I use a corkboard from Michaels, about $7 for one square, but they last me quite awhile. The holes in the wooden pieces are just big enough.
  • Match the push pin color to the wooden piece.
  • Hammer random pieces to the cork board to get used to that part first, before adding the additional challenge of creating a model.
  • Ask the child to push the pin in to start it. He will probably not be able to do this if he has weak hands.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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