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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.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Jumbo Pegs & Pegboard


Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, figure ground, visual closure, visual memory, visual scanning, eye-hand coordination, sequential memory, manual dexterity, following directions, color recognition, sequencing, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 25 pegs (5 each of yellow, green, blue, red, orange), pegboard

A foam-type pegboard with stackable, plastic, chunky pegs designed for small hands and/or beginners. The pegs fit together snugly and are not tipsy when you stack them. Will take a little push to insert the pegs when it is new. A little less as it wears. Pegboards are tools that many OTs use because they are so versatile. The smaller pegboard activities are great for working on in-hand manipulation but these are too big for most kids.

Try this:
  • Sort and place so there is one line of each color.
  • Make a stack of two or three and let the child copy it.
  • Make pattern cards with white paper and markers. Ask the child to copy them by putting the pegs into the board in the same order. Fill the board.
  • Make pattern cards as above, but don't fill the whole board so the child will have to leave some spaces empty.
  • Make a full pattern card as above. Place the card by the pegboard and call out a color. Ask the child to put that color on the pegboard in a placement that matches one on the card. Keep going until the pegboard is filled.
  • Call out a color and let the child place one of that color onto the pegboard until all are on.
  • Place all the pegs onto the board. Call out a color and have the child take one off and place it in the box to put away.
  • Show the child a stack of three. Let him view it 5-10 seconds. Take it away and ask him to duplicate it.
  • Verbally list 2, 3, or 4 colors. Ask the child to build a stack in that color order.
  • Stack as many as you can before it topples.
  • Place the pegs in the formation of letters.
  • Place the pegboard squarely in front of the child and then place the pegs on the non-dominant side of the board so the child will have to reach over (cross midline) to pick them up. Make sure they don't lean as they cross over.

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