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, June 28, 2015

LEGO Creationary

Work on thinking skills, problem solving, following directions, sequencing, visual discrimination, visual closure, visual form constancy, spatial relations, visual memory, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, precise fine motor control, hand arch strength and support, separation of sides of hand, using two hands together, finger strength, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 338 LEGO pieces, 96 cards, 1 buildable LEGO die
Ages 7+, 3-8 players
A great challenge for LEGO fans, and a fun way to bring together many of the skills you are working on in a single game. The object is simple - draw a card, throw the die to see which object you will be building from that card, and build that object so that others can guess what it is. Make it as simple or as complex as you want, just make it recognizable.
The pieces are standard LEGO pieces and come in all kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes.The cards are divided into three levels of difficulty - basic, advanced, and expert - based on the difficulty of the objects pictured on the card. Each card has four pictures that fall into four categories: 1) green - nature, 2) yellow - vehicles, 3) red - buildings, 4) blue - things.

Left - a basic level card. Right - an expert level card.

The die has four pictures to match those four categories. Throwing it will tell you which of these items you will be making. It also has a question mark, which lets you choose your own category and come up with your own object to build, and a X2 side, which indicates double points for that turn. In this instance, the player on your left with call the category for you to use on the card you pick. Guess what another player is making and win that card. Win three cards to win the game. There is nothing to keep the pieces divided by color in the different sections. Either keep the box upright at all times or put each color into a separate baggie for storage. A game that will stretch you!
Try this:
  • Mix the pieces and let the individual sort them by color into the box.
  • Sort the pieces by shape.
  • Allow the individual to choose his own object and not name the category. You guess the category. Sometimes easier than guessing the object.
  • Choose an object for you and another player to build. Stand a book up between you so you can't see each other's work while you each make the object. When done, compare objects. How are they different, the same? Which one do you like the best?
  • Ask the individual to hold the model in his non-dominant hand while snapping on pieces with his dominant hand.
  • When the individual picks up a piece he wants to use, ask him to turn it in-hand to the orientation for placement.

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