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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Magnetic Gumball Counting Maze

Practice holding a pencil without writing.

Work on pencil grip, visual scanning, visual discrimination, figure ground, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, eye-hand coordination, play exploration and participation
In the box: 1 unit, magnetic tool attached
Ages 3-6
A fun way to sneak in some tripod grasp practice without having to write. The board is wood covered by a thick plastic. Hover the magnetic tool over the metal ball you want to pick up and it will jump to meet the tool. Carefully guide the ball through the maze to the gumball machine where you want to drop it. Lift the magnetic tool from the plastic surface and the ball will release. Only the magnetic tool can be removed from the board, everything else is self-contained, so there is no chance of losing the balls. The magnetic tool can pick up more than one ball at a time. To reduce this, lay the board on a flat surface and they tend to separate as you see above. Bright colors, a fun theme, and solid construction make this a practical choice. Push the tool into the slot on the board for storage.
Try this:
  • Pick up two balls at a time and count by twos.
  • Use your eyes to track where you are going to move before moving each ball.
  • Sort by color, all green in one machine, all blue in another, etc.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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