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, July 3, 2016


Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations/position in space, visual closure, visualization, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, executive functioning skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation 

In the box: Puzzle book with 60 puzzles, wooden boat, 7 wooden figures
Ages 4+

Can you load all the animals into the ark while pleasing each animal's seating request? The zebra and giraffe have had a spat and want to sit back-to-back, but the lion and the panda want to sit face-to-face so they can chat. A beginners' puzzle to teach logic and visual perception. The age range on this box is not correct, in my opinion. When the age maxes out at 99, that indicates that there will be some difficult puzzles toward the end that will challenge most. This is not the case. This game starts out very, very simple. There are 60 puzzles and the first 35 or so give you all the information you need to place the figures without having to do much, if any, reasoning. And I figured out #60 in less than 30 seconds just by looking at the puzzle. Here are puzzles #1, #4, #32, and #60.

The puzzle book is spiral bound and stands independently (see above). I wish the pictures were a little bigger, but the kids have been using it without mention. The pieces are all solid wood. The animals are printed on both sides so they can be positioned looking either left or right. The boat has a hollowed out groove across the length of it to stand the figures in. The figures fit into the boat with enough play that they will tip forward or backward if bumped, but won't fall out of the boat. There is a Noah figure, but he is always in the same place - first in line. I was wondering why they even bothered to include him, but then figured how else would you explain all those animals on a boat.

If you are interested in reading more about logic puzzles, check out my post on What's in Your Therapy Box? Logic Puzzles Edition.

Try this:
  • Solve the puzzle on the tabletop before standing the animals in the boat and checking the solution. It will be easier to move the animals around.
  • Solve a puzzle while the individual watches. Talk out loud as you reason to teach the individual how to solve the challenges. Then take the pieces out and ask the individual to solve the puzzle.
  • Hand the individual one piece at a time to place. Start out with the obvious and move to the those that will take some reasoning when the individual is ready.
  • Turn some of the animals to face the incorrect direction as they lie on the table before the individual starts the puzzle. As the player picks up animals, ask him to turn the pieces in-hand to correct the orientation, instead of using the tabletop or body for support to turn.
  • Use a piece of white paper and place it vertically to cover the unsolved part of the puzzle as you work for beginners. For instance, in the second puzzle in the images above, while the individual is placing the panda, I have a white piece of paper covering the rest of the boat to the right. Then I move the paper over slightly to reveal just the next animal, the giraffe. Work this way until the individual realizes that they are going to incorporate all the levels into one line of animals.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment.