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

Shell Game

Work on visual memory, visual discrimination, spatial relations, logic, problem solving, manual dexterity, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: Spiral bound puzzle book with 60 puzzles, 6 sea shells, 6 hermit crabs, 3 ocean stones

A one-person puzzle to help develop memory and logic skills. Based on the old shell game of years gone by, you must remember the locations of the different colored hermit crabs as you move them to solve the puzzle. To play, choose a puzzle and set up the different colored pieces (hermit crabs) as well as the gray pieces (ocean stones) according to the set up at the top of the book. Place a shell over each piece to completely cover it. Following the red lines in the book which tell you the pieces that can be swapped, move the shells so that you feel you have lined up the colors according to the answer at the bottom of the page. Now lift the shells and check the colors to see if you are correct. 

There are 60 puzzles in the book and they increase in difficulty as you go, from beginner to expert. The harder the challenges get, the more colored hermits you will use and the more moves it will take. The answers to the puzzles are in the back of the book.
Try this:
  • Leave the shells off and show the individual how to move the pieces around before trying with the colored pieces covered.
  • Cup the non-dominant hand and drop the stones and crabs into the palm one at a time when putting the game away. Can all pieces he held without dropping.
  • Pick up the crabs and stones one at a time and squirrel them into the palm when putting the game away. How many pieces can be held without dropping?
  • Set up the game by putting one or more stones and/or crabs in the individual's palm and ask him to bring each one to the fingertips and rotate for upright placement on the puzzle. Can the task be performed without dropping any or having to set the pieces on the table top or orient?
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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