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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.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tricky Fingers

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

In the box:2 puzzle boxes, 14 puzzle pattern cards
Ages 4+, 1-2 players

I'm not sure why, but I am more enthusiastic about this game than the kids are. Hold the plastic box in your hands and put your fingertips in the holes on the bottom to push the marbles into the pattern you want. Move new marbles into place without disturbing the marbles that are already in place. The marbles are plastic and there are four each of four different colors - red, blue, yellow, and green. There is hard clear plastic covering the top of the box and the box cannot be opened. The backs of the pattern cards are imprinted with the grid in black and all the holes are white. You can color them in, or copy them, and make up your own patterns. That can at least double the number of patterns for this game! 

Try this:
  • Start by just playing with the box. Practice holding with two hands and pushing marbles from the bottom. Let the individual make up his own design or try to get all of one color in one corner.
  • Model for the individual, as many have trouble coordinating holding the box while pushing marbles from the bottom with the fingers.
  • Cover all but one vertical or horizontal line at a time on the pattern card if the individual doesn't know where to start or how to proceed.
  • Think about your strategy before you start to avoid getting marbles cornered in the wrong locations.
  • Start slowly by making your own pattern cards and color in only one colors at a time. This will cover only four holes. Make a card for the four marbles in a row vertically, then a row horizontally, then four of one color in a corner. Then move to four randomly placed around the box. Don't worry about the other colors. Then move to patterns with two colors. Work your way up to all four colors.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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