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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.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Cat Stax


Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, spatial relations, visual form constancy, manual dexterity, precise fine motor control, play and leisure exploration and interaction, critical and analytical thinking, grasp

In the box: 12 plastic cats, 24 puzzle cards (48 puzzles total), 24 solution cards (48 solutions total), plastic carrying case
Ages 8+, 1 player

Calling all cat lovers - this is a one-person brainteaser that will tickle your cat fancy. Each puzzle card shows a colored grid and a number of specific cats at the top. Using those cats, lay them on the grid so that there are no empty spaces and no cats are overlapping or hanging off the grid. The cats can face any direction, front or back. The puzzles increase in difficulty as you go and include beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. The card will indicate if the cats are to be arranged in two, three, or four layers! Multiple layer puzzles can include cats that are standing up as well as laying down. There is a puzzle on each side of each puzzle card and a solution on each side of each solution card. I have not ended up using this puzzle much for therapy as the cats are small and can slide around on the card. This can end up being frustrating for some as different arrangements are tried.


Try this:
  • Solve a puzzle or two with the individual looking on before giving it to him to solve. Think out loud as you try different pieces or strategies to help teach problem solving.
  • Solve one puzzle as the individual looks on as above. Then mix up the pieces and ask the individual to solve the same puzzle.
  • Start a puzzle. Add all but the last cat. Allow the individual to lay the last cat. Then start a puzzle and add all but the last two cats. Repeat adding one less cat each time and allowing the individual to finish. Use the solution card for a faster game.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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