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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.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Get the Picture


Work on visual scanning, visual closure, visual form constancy, sequential memory, spatial relations, visualization, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, crossing midline, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, writing tool control, logic, play and leisure exploration and articipation

In the box: 20 beginner puzzles, 20 intermediate puzzles, 20 advanced puzzles, 2 picture frame playing boards, 2 "guesses" cards, 2 dry erase markers
Ages 8+, 2 players or 2 teams

I'm a fan of dot-to-dots because of all the skills that they take to complete, and the fact that kids with poor pencil control that don't want to hold a pencil and write will often hold a pencil to complete dot-to-dot pictures. So when this game arrived I was excited to open the box and see what was inside. The puzzles are printed on glossy paper and there is a different one on each side of a sheet. The puzzles are rated from beginner to advanced. This does not mean that the beginner puzzles have less dots, as beginner puzzle number 1 has 125 dots, and anther beginner puzzle has 175 dots. This fact eliminated many of the people I work with that can not count that high or recognize three digit numbers. This is something I didn't think to ask before buying the game. The object of the game is to make the most points by guessing the picture you are drawing sooner than your opponent guesses his picture. To play, give each player a playing board with a paper puzzle inserted, a marker, and a guesses card. The puzzle slides in through an opening down the right hand side of the board and, once inside, is covered by a sheet of clear plastic so you can write on it. The playing boards measure approximately 11" X 11.5". There are 10 small sliding doors down the left side of the puzzle board. Doors 1-9 are clues, and door number 10 is the  answer to what you drew. To play, each player or team opens door number one. It will show a range of numbers, such as 11-19. Find and connect those dots on your picture. Now make a guess on the guesses card as to what the picture is. This may be next to impossible on the first few clues. The second door may then say 57 - 66. As more numbers are connected, the picture will become clearer. This is something you can also do informally with regular dot-to-dot pictures to work on visual closure. There is a word clue behind door number three for every puzzle that may be a big help. For instance, the beginner clue for #1 is "feathered friend". That does narrow it down. To make the puzzle more difficult, I would not open that door until later, or only if the player gets stuck. Three things make the advanced puzzles more difficult than the beginner puzzles:     
  • The puzzle clues are often more general, such as animal instead of giraffe.
  • The objects are more specific, such as macaw instead of bird.
  • There may be two or three items in the puzzle you have to identify, such as mouse and cheese instead of swing set.
Players will continue to clue 10 to see the answer. Players then earn points for the number of times they correctly guessed the answer on the guesses card.

The numbers for the puzzles are not meant to be connected starting from number one and going in order. There are decoy dots that, if connected in this manner, will show lines that don't go to the picture. These dots will not be connected if you open the doors and connect per their instructions. In the image at the top left of this post, not all the dots were connected to make the fish bowl. The image on the right shows a picture with the extra dots connected.  You will use the dry erase marker on the guesses card as well as the playing board. I would say this is for higher level individuals. Let me also add that after using it, I was disappointedly underwhelmed.

Try this:
  • Play alone. No time pressure.
  • Use the puzzles additional times by opening the doors out of order so you won't recognize the pictures as easily (since you have already completed them once).
  • Help the individual search for the first number in the sequence if they are having trouble getting started.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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