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 15, 2015

The Cars Puzzle Book

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, leisure and play exploration and participation
In the book: 4 short stories and 5 different jigsaw puzzles
This kid-friendly board book based on the movie Cars also comes with five complete jigsaw puzzles! I don't know why, but I have always liked jigsaw puzzle books. Maybe it's because it combines two of my favorite pastimes. The puzzles each have 12 pieces. You have to punch out the pieces the first time you use the book, then reassemble the puzzles before you close the book. Each page you turn is a new story and a new puzzle. The puzzle/story subjects are Lightening McQueen, Mater, Sally, Doc Hudson, and Fillmore.
The puzzle pieces are large, roughly 3X3 inches, and are more lightweight than your typical puzzle piece. If you were to take all 12 pieces out of one puzzle, the picture will still be in the background. You will be building the puzzle on an exact picture of the puzzle. This puzzle book, as most puzzle books, suffers from one of my biggest pet peeves - no way to make sure the pieces don't fall out. There is a big square hole on the front of the book (so you can see Lightening McQueen) and no clasp to keep the book from falling open. I either tape a clear, plastic transparency sheet on the back of the cover, or I put a piece of paper on the first puzzle and close the cover. Then I rubber band the whole thing. If you are going to invest, you might as well make sure it lasts awhile.

Try this:
  • Talk about the frame as having one straight edge and corners having two. Put the frame together first. There will only be two more pieces to finish the puzzle.
  • Ask the individual to turn the puzzle piece in hand if he picks it up in the wrong orientation for placement.
  • Hand the individual a piece at a time to assemble, giving the piece in the wrong orientation so the individual will have to turn it.
  • Use positional language consistently, such as above, below, next to, under, to the right of, etc.
If you are interested in this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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