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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.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pig Popper Target


Work on eye-hand coordination, hand and finger strength, visual tracking, coordinated use of both hands, social interaction, play exploration and participation, manual dexterity, spatial relations

I was really tickled to stumble onto this Pig Popper target because I have used the Pig Popper for some time now. This target is about 1/4" thick plastic and has a removable stand in the back (bottom) that holds it upright. The target has not tipped over on me once, even when hit fairly hard with flying balls. There is a net behind the opening for the mouth that drapes to the bottom of the pig, so lots of room for balls. I blogged earlier about the Pig Popper itself. This is a good activity if you are working on hand strength and/or hitting a target. The popper comes in about 20 different shapes, including animals, monsters, and seasonal shapes.

Try this:
  • Once you can hit the target at one location, move it back a foot. Once you master that, move it back again.
  • Start where the individual is and make the pig harder and harder to squeeze as you go. Pushing the ball into the pig's mouth gently will not require much hand strength to pop it out. Pushing it in as far as it will go will require much more hand strength to squeeze it out.
  • Use it for a target for other lightweight objects.

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