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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, September 27, 2015

HiHo Cherry-O

 
Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, eye hand coordination, pincer grasp, fine motor precision, manual dexterity, thumb and finger opposition, coordinated use of both hands, in-hand manipulation, open web space, social interaction skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
 
In the box: Game board, 4 plastic buckets, 40 pieces of fruit, spinner
Ages 3-6, 2-4 players
 
A child's first game, HiHo Cherry-O focuses on color recognition, counting, fine motor precision, taking turns, following directions, and using a spinner. The goal is to be the first one to pick all of the plastic cherries off your tree and place them in your basket. The difference between the two versions is that the original version has red cherries only for all four trees, and the newer version has four types of fruit in four different colors: red cherries, blue blueberries, orange oranges, and green apples. The fruit pieces are small.
 
There are four trees on each game board, and each tree has holes for 10 pieces of fruit and a plastic bucket. The game board stays in the bottom of the box.
 
To set up, place all the fruit in the holes on the trees. Each tree will have only one color of fruit. Stand each piece upright so that the stem sticks up in the air and is in position for easy pick-up. To play, flick the arrow on the spinner. The arrow will land on one of six options:
  • One cherry - Pick one cherry from your tree and put it in your bucket.
  • Two cherries - Pick two cherries from your tree and put them in your bucket.
  • Three cherries - Pick three cherries from your tree and put them in your bucket.
  • Four cherries - Pick four cherries from your tree and put them in your bucket.
  • Bird or dog - Take two cherries from your bucket and put them back on the tree.
  • Spilled bucket - Remove all fruit from your bucket, put it back on the tree and start over.
Follow the directions each time you spin and play until someone has picked all the fruit from his tree. I like to pull this one and Granny Apples out in the fall when apple picking time rolls around.
 
Try this:
  • Set up the game by putting two or three pieces of fruit in the individual's palm. Ask him to bring them to his fingertips one at a time, without dropping, and place them on a tree. 
  • Clean up the game by asking the individual to cup one or both hands. Drop the fruit into his hands one piece at a time while he holds this position. Can he hold them all?
  • Use a die instead of the spinner. Throw the die, observe the number, then pick that many pieces off the tree. Squirrel the pieces into the hand one at a time without dropping. Drop them all together into the bucket.
  • Hold the spinner in the non-dominant hand and spin with the other hand. 
  • Ask the individual to flick different fingers while using the spinner, such as index finger, middle finger, ring finger. 
  • Ask the individual to cup the non-dominant hand to hold several pieces of fruit. If he has difficulty with this, place a small ball in his hand and cup his fingers around it to help him shape his hand. Place several pieces of fruit in that hand for setting up the game. Ask the individual to hold them in that hand and pick them up with the dominant hand, one piece at a time, to place.
  • Take all fruit pieces from the mixed version and mix them up. Set the four buckets in front of the individual. Place several pieces at a time in the individual's hand and ask him to sort them by color into the buckets.
  • Place all fruit pieces, stems up, from the mixed color version on the trees. Set the four buckets in front of the individual. Using a pincer grasp and an O shaped web space, pick each piece off each tree and sort by color into the buckets.
  • Skip the spinner. Set the fruit on the trees and then call the order of the fruit to be "picked" by color.
  • Set the fruit on the trees. Pick the fruit, one piece at a time, and squirrel it into the palm without dropping. Can you pick a whole tree worth of fruit this way without dropping any?
  • Sort by color. Mix all the fruit in a bowl. Ask the individual to place each piece on the tree by color, filling up one tree before moving to another.
  • Place the fruit for one color tree in its basket. Ask the individual to hold it in their non-dominant hand, then pick the fruit out of the basket one at a time to place on the tree.
  If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.
 

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