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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.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mini Pegboard

A 99¢ Store fun find.

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, tactile discrimination, finger and manual dexterity, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination

In the package: One board with dowels for stacking shapes, 12 wooden shapes

This 99¢ Store fun find is a mini version of a pegboard that most OTs are familiar with. I stumbled onto this today while shopping for a cat's birthday party. :) It is well constructed, all wood and features four different shapes, just like the larger versions. When the board is empty, the individual must recognize the location for the piece by matching the dowel positions to the holes on the pieces. Because these pieces are small, they may require more dexterity to hold by the sides while keeping level than the larger pieces do. The pieces slide on and off the dowels easily.

Try this:
  • Put one piece of each shape on the board to start if the individual would not be able to identify the shape by the position of the dowels.
  • Put all the pieces in a bag (or Ned's Head). Ask the individual to reach into the bag and, without looking, pick up one piece, feel it, and identify it as a circle, triangle, rectangle, or square.
  • Make a pattern on the peg board by placing all green, then all red, then all yellow.
  • Cover the board except for one shape at a time and stack if the individual is distracted by the other pieces or cannot find the right spot.
  • Stack the pieces for each shape in the same color pattern, such as red, green, yellow.
  • Learn shape names by verbally identifying each piece as it is placed. 

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