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.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mental Blox 360 Degrees

Work on visual discrimination, spatial visualization, spatial orientation/position in space, visual closure, visual form constancy, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, executive function
In the box: 15 pieces, 40 double-sided puzzle cards
A 3-D puzzle that will require you to use logic and deductive reasoning to build 3D models from different 2D perspectives. The 15 plastic pieces are smooth, hollow plastic, brightly colored, and easy to manipulate.
The pattern cards have a puzzle on the front, showing you the pieces you will need, the finished puzzle, and the perspective that you are looking at. For instance, look at the top right hand corner of the first puzzle in the image below and you will see a small box colored blue on the top. That tells you that the finished model below it is being pictured from the top. The back of each card will show you the puzzle solution, from different angles if necessary to see all pieces. 
The challenges increase in difficulty as you go, and the first image above shows the simplicity of the first puzzle, and the second and third images show the complexity of the last puzzle in the box. I love when challenges increase in difficulty as it can help kids develop greater skills as they go. 
Try this:
  • Start by examining each piece. Turn it this way and that and discuss how one piece can look different when looking at it from different perspectives.
  • Use consistent directional and positional language as you work.
  • Choose a challenge and build the model while the child watches. Then take it apart and give him the pieces and let him build it.
  • Think our loud as you build so that the individual can learn from your problem solving process.
  • Allow the child to identify the error if he builds it incorrectly. If he cannot correct it without help, verbally state the problem and help him walk through problem solving a solution.
  • Hand the child each piece as he builds until he can determine where to start and how to proceed.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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