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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, October 25, 2015

The Orchard (Obstgarten)

 
Work on in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, pincer grasp, rounded webspace, spatial relations, visual closure, visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation
 
In the box: 4 fruit baskets, 40 wooden pieces of fruit, 1 9-piece puzzle, 1 game board, 1 die
Ages 4+, 1-4 players
 
Another fun one to pull out in the fall. The board depicts an orchard at harvest time, with ripe fruit hanging from every tree. Actually apples and pears are harvested in the fall, with cherries and plums ready in mid summer, but I typically pull it out in the fall. The object of the game is simple - pick all the fruit off the trees before the raven puzzle is complete. Once the raven puzzle is complete, he will swoop down and pick the fruit for you (pretend). This is a cooperative game, with the players vs. the raven. To set up the board, place all of the fruit on the trees. Set your baskets next to you for storing your picked fruit. Put the nine pieces for the raven puzzle to the side. To play, throw the oversized die. If it lands on a color, pick one piece of that color fruit and put it in a basket. If it lands on the basket, pick two pieces of your choice off the trees. It if lands on the raven, place one puzzle piece in the middle of the board. If you can pick all the fruit off the trees before you finish putting together the raven puzzle, you win the game. If you finish putting together the raven puzzle before you pick all the fruit, the raven wins. 
 
The pears and apples can be stood upright on the trees and the cherries and plums will lie on their sides.

Try this:
  • Line up the baskets, mix the fruit, and put the pieces on the table. Sort them, one color per basket.
  • Put one, two or three pieces in the player's hand while setting up the game. Have him bring the pieces, one at a time, to the fingertips and set them on the appropriate trees.
  • Pick up the apples and the pears by their small stems, using your index finger and thumb and making a rounded webspace.
  • Put the fruit away by picking up several pieces of fruit of one kind, in one hand, squirreling each piece in the palm as you go. How many can he picked up without dropping any?
  • Cup the hand, spread the fingers a little to accommodate the large die, hold them in that position and make the die move as you shake.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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