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, May 25, 2016

Following Directions Farm Game

Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations/position in space, figure ground, visual closure, visual memory, eye-hand coordination, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, body awareness, sequencing, play and leisure exploration and participation  

In the box: 1 wooden base, 20 pattern cards, 14 individual farm related pieces

An activity from Oriental Trading that focuses on spatial relations. I probably would not have called it following directions, as I tend to think of that as verbal or written directions, or at least a step-by-step visual. But a fun activity non-the-less. The object is to place the pieces into the wooden base so that they match the pattern card. The wooden base in inches is 12L X 6W X 1H with three grooves the length of the board to stand the pieces in. It is solid wood and heavy. The pattern cards are a light-weight card stock and glossy on one side. All of the pattern cards picture either 4, 5 or 6 pieces and they are not numbered, you will just have to sort through them if you want to place them in any order. The individual pieces are made from more of a chipboard type product, glossy on one side. They are much thicker than the cards, but could be bent if played with roughly. The individual items are cow, barn, silo, fence, tree, chick, duck, corn, bale of hay, lamb, carrots, pig, and horse. I have also blogged about other products of this type called Excellerations Spatial Relations Playset and Excellerations 3D Spatial Relations Activity Set. For even more of this type of activity, see my post on What's in Your Therapy Box? Pattern Blocks Edition.

Try this:
  • Use consistent positional terms such as front, middle, back, behind, etc.
  • Let the individual make up his own picture and describe it to you in positional terms.
  • Ask the individual if his finished scene is correct. Check each piece with the pattern card. Guide the individual to help him identify the incorrect piece(s) and how to correct without giving him the answer outright. Teach him to problem solve.
  • Place the pieces in a pile and ask the individual to find each piece as needed.
  • Only place one piece at a time in front of the individual to start slow or if he needs help with how to start or how to proceed. As he learns, then place two pieces at a time, then three, etc.
  • Cover parts of the pattern card that you are not working on if looking at the whole card is too confusing.
  • Place the pieces in different orientations on the tabletop so the individual will pick some up from the bottom or the side. Do not allow him to orient the piece by turning it on the tabletop, but instead ask him to orient it in-hand for placement.
  • Set up a scene on the board for the player. Follow the pattern but add an extra piece. Ask the individual to find and remove the extra piece.
  • Make a scene on the base. Place several cards on the table including the one you worked from. Ask the individual to find the card that matches your model.
  • Call the grooves front, middle, and back. Ask the individual to place the pieces by location, such as place the middle pieces first, then ask for the pieces in the back to be placed, etc.
  • Make a scene from a card. Place a piece incorrectly. Ask the individual to find the incorrect piece and correct it.

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