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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.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Croquet Animal Game


Work on eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, spatial relations, visual discrimination, coordinated use of both hands, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 6 animals, 6 stands, 2 croquet ball, 2 mallets
Ages 3+, 2 players

This brings back the memories! Croquet was one of my grandma's favorite games. I was never very good at it, so it's funny that I have chosen to play it again. Must be the nostalgia factor. : ) The comments on amazon were that there was not enough room for the balls to clear the holes when played in the grass. I measured, and there is between 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch clearance between the top of the ball and the hole it goes through, depending on the animal. So playing it on a flat carpet, tile floor, or flat cement surface, it should be OK. There are no metal pieces to drive into the ground as the animals have stands that hold them up.

Animal with removable stand.

The animals appear to be pressed wood with a very heavy duty decal on the front and back. They are all 2-sided. They are also all numbered, so you can pass through them in sequence. There is a monkey, giraffe, koala, zebra, lion, and elephant. The mallets are each two pieces and you have to screw them together to get the full length, about 20 inches long. The balls are also made of wood.

Two pieces of mallet and ball.


Try this:
  • Act like the animal you are going to shoot for instead of following the number sequence. Can anyone figure out where you are headed?
  • Play with the non dominant hand. Is it any harder?
  • Angle the animals so that you can shoot through one and be set up to shoot right through the next. Do this for all six animals. Can you make it through all six in only six shots? Hard!
  • Make a line on the floor (chalk, tape, whatever is appropriate for the surface). Line the animals up on one side of the tape. The higher the number, the further away from the line. Standing behind the line, how many points (number on the animal) can you make in six shots?
  • Set the animals up on the table at different angles and distances. Sitting down, can you roll a ball through each animal? Have a ball catcher on the other side.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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