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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, January 8, 2017

Dr. Eureka


 Experiment with the test tubes and marbles to match the pattern cards.
 
Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations/position in space, figure ground, visual closure, visual form constancy, eye-hand coordination, visual memory, auditory memory, working memory, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, palmar arch development, coordinated use of both hands, crossing midline, shoulder stability, sequencing, executive functions, social interaction skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation  

In the box: 54 challenge cards, 24 balls (8 red, 8 green, 8 purple), 12 test tubes

The premise for the game Dr. Eureka is that you are working in a lab and Dr. Eureka has important experiments he need you to complete. To do so, you will need to pour the marbles into the empty test tubes so that they match the patterns (experiments) on each the card. The instructions for the game are pretty much summed up by this picture on the back of the box:


  • Step 1 - Start out with three test tubes with two marbles each (2 green, 2 red, 2 purple), three empty test tubes, and a challenge (pattern) card.
  • Step 2 - Pour the marbles into the tubes, without touching any of them with your fingers, so that they match the challenge card.
  • Step 3 - Be the first to finish and yell "EUREKA" to win the card. Be the one with the most cards at the end to prove you are the top scientist in the lab.

You will start each game but the first with the marbles as they were left in the tubes from the previous game. If the marbles are in such an order that you cannot make the pattern you need, you are allowed to make the pattern upside down and flip the test tube when you set it on the table. You're never quite sure how difficult a game might top out when you only have the box and a puzzle or two to look at. This one is not as difficult as I hoped it would be, but I am still able to use it. The pattern cards do not increase in difficulty. You start each game with six marbles and each challenge takes six marbles. The tubes are clear and a sturdy plastic. The marbles are about the size of a gum ball, so keep safety in mind for anyone who might mistake one for gum. The tubes measure 3 5/8" tall and the cards are about 3"x3". 

Try this:
  • Use the challenge cards one at a time for a simpler game. Use the fingers to pick up the marbles and make the patterns in three tubes to match the challenge card.
  • Cover all but the tube you are filling if the individual has trouble separating them.
  • Practice pouring the marbles from tube to tube to get the knack of it before starting a game. Marbles cannot be touched or dropped during the game.
  • Sort the marbles by color into the tubes.
  • Place two or more marbles into the players palm and ask them to bring the marbles one at a time to the fingertips to drop into the test tubes.
  • Ask the player to cup their hand and hold it in that position as you place marbles in their palm, counting as you go. How many? Next cup the other palm and repeat. Can it hold the same amount? Can you add just one more?
  • Build a pattern card and make all the tubes upside, meaning after you add the marbles and flip each tubes over the marbles will match the pattern card.
  • Hold all three tubes in one hand as you pour the marbles into the tubes with the other hand.
  • Choose a pattern card and ask the player to look at it to remember it. Turn the card over. Can they remember and create the pattern? Start with one test tube at a time, covering the other two with blank paper if they are not able to remember it all. Verbally rehearse the order to aid in remembering.
  • Tell the player the color sequence to place in a tube. Do not give a visual. Ask them to repeat it verbally several times to help them remember, then build it.
  • Choose a tube placement (first, second or third) and choose one color. Place the stack of challenge cards, face side-up, in front of the player. Ask the player to separate and pick up the cards, one at a time without spilling the pile, and sort them based on your color and number. For instance, any card that has a purple ball in the third tube goes on the right (yes pile). Any card that does not goes on the left (no pile)  
 If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information and reviews, click on the image below.

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