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, July 5, 2015

Rings and Sticks

 Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual closure, eye-hand coordination, figure ground, manual dexterity, separation of two sides of hand, precise fine motor control, executive function, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 156 pieces, 8 pattern cards
Ages 3+
Rings and sticks says it all - the 156 pieces are plastic rings, half rings, and sticks of different lengths and sizes. Eight of the pattern cards are full size, such as the car and butterfly below. The pieces can be laid directly on the pattern cards, as sizes are the same. The other four pattern cards are divided in half, one half with the picture you are building and one half showing the pieces that will be needed. The pieces can be laid directly on the card side showing only pieces, but cannot be laid on the picture you will build. Since it is only a half card size, the picture is too small. You will need to build next to the card.
The pictures on the full size cards are car, butterfly, sailboat, truck, train, sailboat, person pushing baby carriage, bird, flowers. Pictures on half cards are person carrying buckets, people on teeter totter, airplane, person. Pattern cards make this an activity that kids can grow with but they are not ranked for difficulty. I like this one and so have the kids.

Try this:
  • Put the pieces on top of the card to build a picture. Then take the pieces off and make the same picture right next to the card, using the card as a visual guide only. This can be a much harder activity.
  • Turn the piece in-hand if you pick it up going in the wrong direction.
  • Separate out only the pieces that will be needed before starting a picture if the individual is having trouble judging sizes or finding pieces in a large pile. Add in unrelated pieces a few at a time as his skill increases.
  • Choose the correct pieces and hand them to the individual if he is having trouble getting the correct length or you want to concentrate on only one skill, such as orienting the pieces correctly on the picture.
  • Use terminology such as too short, too big, too small, or too long to help the individual recognize the different sizes and zero in on the correct size.
  • Make copies of the cards that show the pieces needed on the right hand side. Cut this side off all the copies. Line the pictures up on the table. Hand the individual one copy of pieces only. Can he look at the pictures and determine which picture needs those particular pieces?
  • Look at one of the large pictures. Ask the individual count the pieces that make up that card. How many yellow pieces, how many red, etc. Can he separate them out?
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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