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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.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bug Balancing by Plan Toys


 
Work on visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, spatial relations/position in space, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, balance, separation of two sides of hand, grasp, social interaction, executive functioning, play and leisure exploration and participation
 
In the box: 1 tree, 18 ladybugs, 1 die
 
An all-wood balancing game which challenges you to place the ladybugs on the tree branches, one at a time, without causing any to fall. This will take a delicate touch and the ability to balance out different sized ladybugs on each branch, because the branches are attached with an elastic cord and can turn to the sides or dip down enough for bugs to slide off if there is too much weight. The surfaces are smooth and even the slightest bump can make multiple ladybugs fall off. The six colors on the die (red, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple) match the color dots on the branches. To play, divide the ladybugs evenly between the players. Taking turns, players will throw the die and place one bug on a matching color dot on the branches. If any ladybugs fall during a player's turn, he takes those bugs. Whoever plays all their ladybugs first, wins. There are three different size ladybugs and it is up to each player to decide which size to play. The die is oversized.
 
Try this:
  • Allow the player(s) to start by examining the tree and the bugs. Skip the die and just place the ladybugs on the leaves to get a feel for releasing and balancing them.
  • Sort the ladybugs into piles of small, medium, and large.
  • Mix the bugs on the table. One by one, name a size. Ask the player to recognize and place that size ladybug on the tree.
  • Put the ladybugs away by asking the individual to cup the hand and keep it in the position as you drop them in one by one.
  • Cup two hands together and keep them in that position as you drop the ladybugs in one by one.
  • Put the game away by picking up the ladybugs one by one and squirreling them into the palm. How many can be held?
  • Play a game of placing the ladybugs on he tree without the use of the die. Place one bug in the players palm and ask him to push it to his fingertips to orient and place on the tree. Can he do so without dropping any? Do this over and over until you fill the tree with the bugs.


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