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, April 20, 2016

Create a Mosaic Puzzle

Work on manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, grasp, palmar arch development, visual discrimination, visual closure, spatial relations, figure ground, play and leisure exploration and participation 
In the box: Plastic storage box, lots of small mosaic pieces, large
Let me start off by saying I got mine second hand, so I am not exactly sure of the contents. I did some research and did not come up with anything definitive, so if anyone knows for sure, a comment would be appreciated. However, what I have is what you see above, which is an image taken from Amazon. The pieces are all hard plastic, including the container. The lid snaps on tight. I have the same three large pictures as above and there are pictures on both sides of each sheet, six total. The six images are bear/Santa Claus, penguin/alligator, and joker/parrot. There is an additional picture book that I have not used because the pictures are quite small. Working from the book will take more time and the ability to work from a 2D model, not just place matching pieces on top of colored squares, but counting spaces on a grid. There are 24 pictures in this booklet, but six of them are the same as the large pictures.
The white grid on the lid comes off easily so you can take it off, put one of the pictures on the lid, then put the grid back on top. That is what you see in the picture of the bear at the top of this blog. The plastic mosaic pieces fit nicely into the grid with no slipping or sliding around once in place. Two triangle pieces equals the size of one square. The pieces come in white, black, red, orange, green, blue, and yellow.  There are white mosaic pieces, but not enough to fill in all the unused portion of the images. For a quick cleanup, take the white grid off and then just dump them out.
Try this:
  • Dump the pieces out before starting. The tray is deep, the pieces are square, and it is just harder to keep digging the pieces out of the tray.
  • Work on in-hand manipulation, over and over and over. Pick up a few at a time and move them to the fingertips one at a time for placement.
  • Use as a color sorting activity.
  • Use a marker and a straight edge to draw a grid on the large pictures. Then place the picture on the side of or in front of the grid and make the picture. Wherever there is part of the picture there are grid markings, but there are none on the white blank areas of the picture so it is hard to tell where to start each line in some cases.
  • Cup the non-dominant hand and drop pieces in when putting away. See how many will fit in the hand without dropping.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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