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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

IQ Steps

A visual perceptual and problem solving puzzle with 120 challenges.
Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, visual form constancy, spatial relations, executive functions, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, frustration tolerance, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: Plastic playing board/carrying case, puzzle booklet with 120 challenges, 8 plastic pieces

A portable game that will challenge the visual perceptual and problem solving skills of the brightest. It measures roughly 5 1/2" x 3 1/2" and could fit in a purse or pocket. The object of the game is to place the 8 pieces on the board with no hangover. The pieces are made of rings and the rings for each color are molded together so that they take up two tiers. Sounds simple enough, but these types of puzzles are so not me. I hate to admit it, but I took one piece out of the case and it took me 10 minutes to put it back in. For a minute I thought I would have to go get a Ziplock bag. And that was with the other seven pieces already in place! I used to have a theory that if I couldn't do something I didn't give it to another person to do. I assumed if it was frustrating for me it would be frustrating for them. Then I realized that my weaknesses could turn into their strengths, so I stopped that. There are 120 puzzles in this booklet and they advance in difficulty. The puzzles start by showing seven of the eight pieces in place. Follow the guide to put the seven in the case and you figure out where the eighth one goes. The puzzles go from showing seven pieces to showing only two on the most difficult challenges. All solutions are pictured in the back of the book.  A natural opportunity to practice in-hand manipulation as you turn each piece to try this position and that.

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 a puzzle as the individual watches. Problem solve out loud so that they can learn the process. Then take the puzzle apart and let them solve it.
  • Turn each piece in-hand as you try different orientations.
  • Encourage the individual as they try different orientations and fail, letting them know that trial and error is part of the process and not a sign of failure. 

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