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.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Thin Ice

Work on visual discrimination, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, fine motor precision, tool use, palmar arch support, coordinated use of both hands, sensory awareness, graded pressure, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation, sequencing  
In the box: Igloo base, 2 hoops, 3 legs, marbles, tissues, tweezers
Ages 5+, 2+ players
Using tweezers, pick up and set one marble at a time onto the top of the igloo. Be careful, don't let your marble be the one to break the ice! The base, legs, and hoops all make up the igloo and are lightweight plastic. To assemble, stand the three legs on the base. Place a tissue over one hoop and press the second hoop on top to make the tissue taut. That part is then balanced on the three legs. The picture above shows what the igloo looks like when assembled. I typically have to try a few times to assemble it, getting the legs balanced while putting the hoop on the top without the legs falling. Place the marbles around the base. Each player, in turn, will pick up and place one marble on the top of the igloo using the tweezers. The weight from the marbles will eventually break the tissue, and all the marbles will fall into the base. It does make a racket, for those who need the fore warning. I don't care for the tweezers, but they are usable. I use the tweezers from my Scatterpiller game as they are just right for picking up marbles. Once you run out of tissues, you can use regular tissues, like Kleenex. I use single ply. I actually added some of my own glass marbles because we have played games where the tissue has not given way even though all marbles were on it. Not for young kids because marbles would pose a safety risk.
Try this:
  • Work on colors by calling a color of marble for each player to pick up.
  • Put the game away by cupping the non-dominant hand, fingers together, and dropping the marbles in one at a time. How many can you hold?
  • Put the game away by picking up one marble at a time, drop it into the palm, and hold while picking up the next marble. Get a handful before putting them into the box. How many can you hold without dropping?
  • Set the game up by picking up the marbles with the tweezers and putting them into the rim of the base.
  • Ask the player to name the marble colors as he picks them up.
  • Put the game away by picking up several marbles in the dominant hand. Bring them to the fingertips one at a time and count them as you drop them back into the box.
  • Ask the individual to put on two or three marbles on each turn. Give him a sequence, such as red-yellow, for the order of placement.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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