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, February 12, 2017


A maze game that will make you think. 10 challenges included.

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, visual form constancy, spatial relations/position in space, focus, attention, visual tracking, visual tracing, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, in-hand manipulation, bilateral integration, balance, coordination, motor planning, executive functions, process skills, social integration skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: large 2-piece round maze board, 1 base, 17 maze pieces, 4 balls, 10 pattern/challenge cards

Create a maze, a BIG maze, by adding maze pieces to the black maze board following a pattern/challenge card. Then tip and turn the maze board so that you maneuver your ball through the maze per your challenge instructions. All pieces are plastic and the round black maze has holes in it (22 across at the widest) that the pieces snap into. The maze board comes in two pieces that snap securely together and it is about 16 5/8" across. The plastic feels sturdy but also lightweight. The board has a rounded base that snaps to the middle, bottom to help it smoothly move as you turn it. There are nine different shaped pieces as you can see from the image above. The cards are large and each one shows the grid with the pieces in a certain pattern and then has challenge instructions below it. The back of each card has the same picture and (I am assuming) the same instructions in three other languages (FR, ESP, DEU). Options for playing include resting the maze on a flat surface, holding the maze in the air with two hands, and playing with a partner, holding the maze in between. Here are samples of the challenges on the pattern cards:
  • Guide the ball from one goal to the other. Have the ball touch each piece along the way.
  • Guide the ball from one goal to the other, touching only the blue pieces.
  • Guide the blue and red balls into opposite goals without letting either ball escape the center of the maze.

Try this:
  • Begin by putting the ball on the black grid and rolling it back and forth so you can get the feel of tipping and turning and how the ball glides.
  • Start easy by putting some pieces randomly on the board and just rolling the ball in and around, without rules. Or play a simple game of just trying to touch each piece with the ball.
  • Visually trace the path your ball will take before beginning the challenge.
  • Stand with feet apart as wide as the shoulders when standing and holding with two hands.
  • Get creative, make your own mazes to challenge yourself or others.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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