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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

Poppin Hoppies


Work on eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, visual tracking, visual closure, precise fine motor control, spatial relations, body awareness, figure ground, hand and finger strength, social interaction, play exploration and participation, coordinated use of both hands  

In the box: Game board, 7 Poppin Hoppies, 4 Poppin Hoppies figures
Ages 5+, 2-4 players

A blast from the past. Work on catching skills while maintaining a position with a wide, stable base of support - sitting down.  The goal of the game is to be the first to assemble a six piece Poppin Hoppie figure (body) by catching Poppin Hoppie hoppers.


Poppin Hoppie figure (body).




Poppin Hoppie hoppers.

To obtain a body piece, you must catch a Poppin Hoppie hopper of the same color. Start by setting up the board. The board is only for placement of the hoppers and a place to build your figure. Open the board and take two Hoppin Poppies that match the colors in front of you on the board. It will be your job to "set" the poppers by pushing down on them (will take minimum to moderate strength) and hold them there until the suction cup sticks to the bottom piece of plastic (a couple to a few seconds). The popper pieces are the same colors as the body pieces. When the game starts, all let go of the poppers they are holding down and wait for the action. When a popper jumps into the air, the goal is to catch it so that you can earn a matching color piece for your figure. If you catch a popper, place it by you and wait for another to jump. All players must keep their hands on the table between jumps. Poppers may all pop at once or may pop separately. Once all poppers have jumped, that round is over. Collect body pieces that match the Poppin Hoppies that you caught and reset the hoppers for round two. The first to collect all six pieces for their figure, wins. The game is new, so I don't know how long the pieces will continue to "stick". If I have any trouble I will come back and update this post.
Try this:
  • Set a few hoppers and practice catching them before the game starts so you know what to expect.
  • Catch one-handed, with your dominant hand.
  • Catch one-handed, with your non-dominant hand.
  • Put together four six-piece figures, like a puzzle, one for each color.
  • Sort all the body parts by color. Sort the body parts into piles by body part.
  • Skip the board, just set all the Poppin Hoppers and try to catch them.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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