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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.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Melissa & Doug See & Spell


Work on letter recognition, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, in-hand manipulation, finger isolation, figure ground, visual closure, visual form constancy, visual memory, spatial relations/position in space, eye-hand coordination, tactile perception, stereognosis, sequencing, executive functioning, play exploration and participation

In the box: 8 double sided wooden spelling boards, 60 wooden letters

This set includes brightly colored letters and pictures of easily recognizable objects.  There are more than enough letters to spell out all of the words at the same time. Each board has two pictures, one on the front and one on the back. The wooden letters sit in the cutout letter spaces on the board. The sixteen words are frog, cake, bird, bus, car, hen, sun, boat, duck, sock, fish, bear, cow, cat, pig and dog. The spelling boards are 1/4 inch thick, about 10 inches long, and about 4 inches tall. All pieces are made of wood. My pet peeve with Melissa & Doug products - 68 pieces and no lid.

Try this:
  • Trace the letter grooves with a finger before placing the letter(s). The cutout holes are just wide enough to do this and it is a good sensory activity to help reinforce recognizing and writing letters.
  • Ask the individual to close his eyes and hold out his hand. Place 1 letters in his hand. Ask him to feel the letter, with eyes closed, and tell you what it is. Start slow by showing him 2 letters before he closes his eyes and ask him to pick between those two letters as he feels the letter. Add more letters to the group until he can feel and recognize the letter without looking at it first. 
  • Put all the letters in a pile. Give the individual a spelling board. Ask him to find the letters in the pile to complete the word on the board. Start easier by only grouping several letters to pick from and increase difficulty by adding more and more letters to the pile to look over.
  • Place a spelling board in front of the child and put the letters needed to complete the  word upside-down and backward on the table. Can he recognize the letters and turn them to the correct orientation to finish the puzzle?
  • Mix the letters in a pile. Ask the child to find a letter and turn it in-hand to the correct orientation before placing it on the spelling board.
  • Ask the individual to complete a word on the spelling board. Then take the letters off the board and ask him to complete the word on the table, next to the board. Then remove the spelling board, mix the letters, and ask the individual to reproduce the word again.
  • Choose a board but don't tell the individual which picture it is. Verbally tell him one letter at a time and have him pick the letters from the pile of letters. Can he recognize the word without the picture? Then turn the board over to spell the letter. Start slow by only have the specific letters on the table and ask the individual to put them in order as you say them. Move to adding more and more letters to the pile to search through. 
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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