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, September 11, 2015

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Picture Maker

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, spatial relations, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, tool use, tripod grasp, manual dexterity, play exploration and participation

In the box: 1 plastic grid, 6 double sided picture cards
Ages 4+, 1 player

I have never been a fan of magnetic picture makers for therapy. Lakeshore Learning also has one that I own. If I had to choose between the two, I would pick this one for one simple reason - the cards are removable and can be slipped in back of the grid. The Lakeshore Learning grid has a white background and you must look at the picture off to the side to create, which is harder. So for this unit, simply choose the picture card you want, slip it into the back of the grid through the hole at the top, and go to work.

The red thing looped to the side of this unit is a magnetic tool. It is attached to the unit (bottom) by a cord so you can't lose it. The small colored pieces that you see at the bottom of the unit are attracted to the magnetic tool and are contained in the unit behind a piece of plastic. They are not removable without breaking into the unit. Move the tool over the piece you want to pick up and then move the piece to a colored circle on the grid. Lift the tool up to release the piece and it will drop into the hole on the grid. The main reason I don't like these activities is because it can be difficult to move the pieces into place without attracting pieces that are already in place and moving them inadvertently. Start at the top and work down in an orderly manner. A missed piece in the middle of the picture would be difficult to go back and place without disturbing other pieces around it.

If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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