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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.


Monday, January 18, 2016

What's in Your Therapy Box? Logic Puzzles Edition

What's in your therapy box this week? Here are 10 of my favorite one-person logic games which include pattern cards and challenges that get more difficult as you advance. Great for multiple visual perceptual skills as well as executive functions. Just click on any game name to go to my post about that game for more information.

UPDATE - I figured it was silly to stop at just 10 when I had so many more so I will just keep adding new games to this post as I blog about them.



Cat Crimes  - These felines are up to no good. Using the clues on each card, identify the criminals. 40 challenges that increase in difficulty as you go.


Rush Hour Trains - Move the red engine across the grid and through the traffic jam of train cars. 50 challenges from Beginner to Expert. One train engine, 19 assorted train cars, challenge cards, bag to carry everything in.

Color Code - Stack transparent tiles to recreate geometric patterns. Puzzles range from two pieces to six pieces. 100 challenges in all. One of my favorites.

Day & Night - A children's theme, bright colors, and sturdy wooden pieces have made this game popular with kids. Build models from colored pictures (day), then build the same patterns from silhouette pictures (night). Ten wooden pieces, 48 challenges.

Smart Car - Build the car in the picture using the four wooden blocks. Puzzles become more difficult by showing only a partial pattern or the car from different angles. 48 challenges.

Smart Car 5 X 5 - All the fun of Smart Car with five pieces. Two puzzles books are included with 48 challenges each. One booklet is for 4 piece puzzles and one booklet is for 5 piece puzzles.

Three Little Piggies - To play, place the pigs (and wolf) on the plastic grid per the puzzle diagram. Then place the plastic pieces with the houses on the board with no overlapping or hanging off the edge. 48 challenges.

Castle Logix - Look at the picture in the book and create castles with the blocks and flags. Another favorite that I have used a lot and kids like. 48 challenges from Junior to Master.

Bunny Peek-A-Boo - An awesome game for beginners to work on visual form constancy, spatial orientation, visual closure, and building a 3D model from a 2D pattern card. 60 challenges from Starter to Master.

Prince and Dragon Go Getter - Create mazes with nine puzzle pieces and 12 challenges.

Chocolate Fix - There are 9 candy pieces, and 40 challenges from Beginner to Expert. Each flavor (chocolate, caramel, strawberry) has 3 shapes - 1 triangle, 1 circle, 1 square.

Sink or Swim - An updated take on the old fashioned slide puzzle. Pieces are different shapes and include 3D fun characters in a swimming pool. A great way to pass summer afternoons. 50 puzzles that increase in difficulty as you go.

North Pole Camouflage - Put the animals in their natural habitats - polar bears on the snow and fish and whale in the water. 6 transparent pieces fit over 48 different challenge cards that increase in difficulty as you go. This has been a favorite of the kids. You can also buy an expansion pack.

Rush Hour Safari - All the fun of the original Rush Hour with a couple of twists. The green jeep that you drive off the grid swivels, so it can travel north and south or east and west. There is also a square animal piece that moves in all four directions also. Features 3D wild animal pieces and 50 challenges.

Rush Hour Jr. - Drive the ice cream truck through the traffic and off the grid. A beginners version of the popular game Rush Hour. 15 vehicles and 40 challenges that get more difficult as you go.


IQ Twist - A portable brainteaser with 15 playing pieces and 120 challenges over 5 levels. A challenge for most.


Shell Game - A one-person puzzle to help develop memory and logic skills. 6 hermit crabs, 6 sea shells, 3 stones, 60 challenges that increase in difficulty as you go.


On the Dot - Flip and turn 4 cards to match the dots exactly on the pattern card. 64 challenges that get more difficult as you go.


Cover Your Tracks - Cover your tracks as you walk through the woods. 4 pieces, 20 challenges that get more difficult as you go.


Angry Birds Under Construction - Use the 4 puzzle pieces of wood and stone to cover characters on the board. 48 challenges that get more difficult as you go.


Stenzzles - Layer 8 plastic cards to come up with the same color combination as shown on the puzzle. 8 challenges.


Archelino - A beginners logic puzzle. Load the animals onto the ark while pleasing each animal's seating request. 60 beginner challenges.

Laser Maze - Set up beam splitters, double-mirror, targets, mirrors, etc. on the game grid in such a way as to manipulate the laser beam so that it ends up hitting the end target. 60 challenges

Logic Dots - Nine cubes and 36 challenges. Use the clues for each challenge to arrange the nine cubes in the box.


Troy - A puzzle built on the legend of Troy. Build walls around your blue knights to keep them safe inside, and the invading red knights outside.

Hoppers - Set the frogs up on the pond according to one of the challenge cards. Then start jumping over frogs and removing them as you do, until only the red frog is left in the pond. 40 challenges.

Bill & Betty Bricks - Build rectangle and square building while always keeping either Bill or Betty on the top to supervise. 7 playing pieces and 60 puzzles that increase in difficulty as you go.


Zoologic - You are a zookeeper trying to avoid chaos among the animals. As you solve puzzles, no animal can be placed next to a rival or next to his favorite food. 60 puzzles.


Smart Games - Why I Love Them, Why You Should Try Them - A compilation of one-person logic games by Smart Games and why I like the one-person logic games.

Little Red Riding Hood - Set up paths so that Little Red Ridinghood can visit grandma and avoid the wolf. 48 challenges.

Penguins on Ice - Five penguins on five shape-shifting floes with 60 challenges.

Land & Water Go Getter - Connect people, places, and things through maze-like roadways and waterways. 12 challenges.

Mummy Mystery - Nine pieces maze game with 48 challenges.

Jungle Hide & Seek - A day and night jungle animal puzzle. Four pieces and 80 challenges.

IQ Steps - A pocket sized game with 8 pieces and 120 challenges.

Animal Logic - Help the animals cross to safety before the river rises. 60 challenges, wooden animals and game board.

Dr. Microbe - Use the tweezers to move the bugs to your petri dish and solve the challenges (54 in all).





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