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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.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Positional Word Resource Box


Work on spatial relations, visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, visual memory, body awareness, manual dexterity, following directions, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: frog and lily pad, bear and toy box, duck and swimming pool, bridge and car, 6 instruction cards for each of the 4 sets (24 cards total)
Ages 3-6, 1 player

What a fun, kid-friendly way to work on positions in space. The pieces are kid-sized, colorful, common place objects that are easy to handle. The instructions are one-step and most can relate to putting a duck in a swimming pool or a teddy bear in a toy box.  The bear and car are stuffed and made from a tricot material. The pool, frog, bridge, lily pad, and toy box are vinyl. The instruction cards are large and plastic coated. There is one direction on the front of each card and the answer is on the back of the card. However, some of the instructions may have more than one "answer". For instance, putting an object 'next to' or 'beside' an object can mean a number of different things, as the object could end up in front of, behind, to the right of, to the left of, etc. If I think seeing the back will confuse the child, or the child chooses a position that is not pictured on the back, I don't show it.
The bear is BESIDE the toy box but does not match the answer on the back of the card.
Overall I like this activity a lot and consider it a good investment. Most Lakeshore Learning products are a little pricey, but they offer items that you can't find elsewhere, and they so often just hit the mark of what I am trying to teach. Plus they are typically well built and made to last.

Try this:
  • Turn the card to the answer side and cover the sentence at the bottom. Ask the child to tell you the positions, such as the duck is in the pool.
  • Let the child play and tell you the positions as he goes, such as the teddy bear and the car are in the toy box or the car drove off the bridge and into the swimming pool. 
  • Hide the animals around the room and describe the position of each one as you find it, such as the duck is under the couch, and the frog is on the chair.
  • Make up 2-step directions and play them out, such as the frog jumped off the lily pad and jumped into the swimming pool.  
  • Hid the items around the room and give the individual instructions for finding them, such as the frog is under the desk.
  • Give the child one toy and ask him to place the item in the room as you give directions. Example: The duck is next to something, the duck is behind something, etc. 
  • Place the toy box, lilly pad, bridge, and pool on the table. Place the bear, duck, car, and frog in front of the child. Ask questions and then have the child set up the scene and give you a verbal answer. Example: You ask "What is in the toy box?" The child chooses any piece(s) and places it in the toy box and then answers your question using a complete statement to practice using the terminology.
  • Show the card and read the direction. Hide the card and see if the child can remember and follow the direction. Practice saying the direction out loud several times to reinforce the information if the individual struggles to remember.                    

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