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, January 21, 2016

Upper Body & Core Strength Fun Deck

Work on strengthening trunk, shoulder, arms, wrists, and hands, motor planning, gross motor movement, balance, endurance, posture, visual perceptual skills, fine motor skills

In the tin: 59 cards
Another fun deck by Super Duper. A whole curriculum of movement activities designed to build strength and flexibility in the upper body: core (trunk), shoulders, arms, wrists and hands, and stretches. Quickly flipping through the color-coded cards or the table of content cards makes planning easy. The cards are kid friendly and I typically show the child the picture on the card when explaining what we will be doing. Cards are laminated, and the front of each card shows a child performing an action. On the back you will find a list of items needed at the top, simple instructions for the activity, and tips or challenges at the bottom (optional). For example, the activity below is called "train".

The instructions on the back read:
  1. Stand up tall with your arms down by your side.
  2. Bend elbows to 90 degree angle with your wrists and fingers straight.
  3. Keep arms still as you raise your shoulders and move them in circles moving in a forward motion.
  4. Next, move your shoulders in a backward motion.
Challenge: Complete activity while walking.
The trim color around the cards tells you the category, such as blue trim indicates activities for shoulders. Seventeen of the cards require an additional item or two, commonly found in a home, clinic, or school, including a writing utensil, eraser, medium-size ball, and towel.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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