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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, January 2, 2017

Logic Dots

Work on spatial relations/position in space, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, eye-hand coordination, logic, problem solving, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, bilateral coordination, following directions, working memory, planning, play and leisure exploration and participation.

In the box: 1 plastic puzzle frame, 36 challenge cards, 9 cubes, solution cards

A logic and spatial reasoning game that will require coordinating multiple visual perceptual skills to complete. There are 36 challenges that increase in difficulty as you go and 9 color cubes. The goal of this one-person game is to always solve for the location of the gold cube. To do this, follow the instructions on a challenge card to place eight of the cubes into the frame. When you are done there will be one space left and the gold cube goes there. The cubes store and are played in a sturdy plastic black frame. There are clear sliding plastic doors on the front and on the back that stay in place until you pull them out. As the games get harder, you will be working on both sides. Each plastic cube measures 1" x 1", and the colors are part of the cube, not stickers. They feel like some type of plastic or resin type material, solid but not heavy. There are nine colors: pink, yellow, light blue, green, orange, dark blue, teal, purple, grey, gold. To play, take the cubes out of the frame. Choose a challenge card and follow the instructions on the card to solve the puzzle. There will be a line of colored dots at the top of each card to show you the colors you will be using. I have the kids turn the cubes to these colors before starting the puzzle (always looking for that in-hand manipulation opportunity LOL). I will give you the instructions for the first (easiest) puzzle and the last (most difficult) puzzle:

Puzzle 1 - Colors used: 3 light blue, 2 green, 1 orange, 2 teal, 1 gold
  • 1. The two green cubes are on the left.
  • 2. The two teal cubes are at the bottom.
  • 3. The three light blue cubes are at the top.
  • 4. The orange cube is on the right.
Puzzle 36 - Colors used: 1 of each color. I decided to just take a picture (below) of the card because there was so much typing.



Image 1 - First challenge. Image 2 - Size of cubes. Image 3 & 4 - Last challenge, front and back of card. Image 5 - Solution card. You can click on these pictures and they will enlarge so you can read them.

My biggest beef with this game is the colors. The blues are very close in color and I usually have to find one of each and then I can determine which one is the lightest or darkest. The teal looks like a dark green and there is nothing that resembles a pink, IMHO. Then there is purple (called pink) and violet. Again you may need to find both and then determine the one you should be using. This game could go a lot faster and be more fun if you didn't have to keep stopping and examining the cubes to try to determine their color. Another reason we turn the cubes ahead of time to the colors is so that you don't have to keep interrupting your train of thought while solving the puzzle.

Try this:
  • Ask the player to turn each cube in-hand to show the correct color when setting up for each puzzle.
  • Play under good lighting.
  • Read over the instructions and start with the instruction(s) that tell you exactly where something is, such as "the grey cube is in the middle of the bottom row." Then if you get an instruction such as "there are two orange cubes on the bottom row", you will not have to guess where they go. Do the least amount of guessing that you can. This will get harder and harder as the puzzles advance in difficulty.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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