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.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cutting Fruit Playset

Work on tool use, manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, eye-hand coordination, visual discrimination, visual closure, fruit recognition, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 10 pieces of plastic fruit, plastic knife, cutting board

A simple, kid-friendly activity to introduce cutting, holding a knife and/or an activity to use two hands together. The pieces are brightly colored, hollow, hard plastic, and do closely resemble fruit. The pieces stick together with Velcro that is already in place when you buy the fruit. The fruits are pineapple, apple, grapes, orange, watermelon, banana, pear, lemon, peach and strawberry. Many of the pieces are divided into halves, but several are more involved. The pineapple has three rings, as pictured above, but you cannot cut all the way through with the knife because there is a round core inside. You can start with the knife or just pull them apart with your hands. The banana has three peels that you can take off by hand and there is a banana inside. The orange is divided into four quarters and each quarter has its own removable skin, so you can cut it and then peel off the skin. The peelings are all hard plastic also, not flexible like a real peeling. The knife is sturdy and the blade edge is rounded, it is not sharp.

Try this:
  • Start by cutting only the half fruits. Model the more complicated fruits before asking the child to assemble or disassemble. Taking something apart usually takes less skill than putting something together.
  • Pull the halves apart and mix one of each fruit on the table. Give the individual one half and ask him to find the other half and put it together. 
  • Pull the halves apart and mix them up on the table. Ask the individual to assemble them into complete fruits.
  • Use as a precursor to cutting real fruit.
  • Put the pieces together a little askew before asking the individual to separate them. The plastic is smooth and slick and it may be a little tricky to get a good grip on the smooth pieces on some of the fruits (grapes and pears). Putting the pieces together askew with allow for something to grab onto.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below. There is no bowl as pictured below.

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