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.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mega Bloks Junior Builders - 60 pieces

Work on spatial relations, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, bilateral hand use, sequencing, finger strength and dexterity, creative play, problem solving, visual form constancy, play exploration and participation, leisure exploration and participation

In the tub: 60 pieces, 2 pattern cards, sticker sheet
Ages 24 months - 5 years

As I noted in a previous blog titled Building Skills with Construction Toys, building sets are great for working on multiple skills simultaneously. Comparable in size and shape to LEGO Duplos, I purchased this Mega Bloks Junior Builders set solely because of the pattern cards.

You can't see this very clear, but according to the picture of the tub (above, top right), there are three pattern cards shown. There are six models pictured on the front of the tub so I figured that would be three cards, with a model printed on each side. In reality, there are only two cards and only three patterns depicted. The fourth side is a picture of all the sets together. I felt that was misleading.

The tub is oversized, the blocks only take up about 1/3 of the space. The lid sits on the top and does not snap on at all, just sits there. I contacted Amazon and said I wanted to return the item. They refunded my money and told me to keep it.

Try this:
  • Offer a few minutes of free play at the beginning so the child can get the feel of the pieces and learn how they go together.
  • Give the beginner a piece at a time while building and point to the piece on the picture to show where it should go.
  • Put out only the blocks that will be needed for each project so as not to overwhelm. Or just give one block as it is needed.
  • Start with the smaller projects, end with the rainbow (increasing in difficulty).
  • Keep the unused pieces in a pile so the child will have to search for each needed piece. Turn some of the pieces upside down or on their side so the child will have to recognize them from different perspectives.
  • Advise the child to hold the model in the same orientation as the one in the picture if they are having trouble orienting a piece.
  • Take time to play once your set is complete.
  • Place a piece of white paper over any pieces (on the pattern card) above the layer you are working on if the individual has difficulty keeping track of where he is working.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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