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.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Jumbo Cardboard Blocks

40 large blocks for creative play. Use your imagination.

Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual form constancy, auditory memory, grasp and release, reach, manual dexterity, balance, coordination, executive function, sequencing, process skills, creative thinking, social interaction skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 40 cardboard blocks (unassembled)

Before you purchase this set, consider one thing - storage. As you can see from the image above, the blocks are fairly good sized. Here is a breakdown of sizes:

The blocks come flat and you will need to assemble them, and that will take time. They are not the type of boxes that you can just pull out the flaps and flatten the box. Below is a picture of the yellow block before folding. There are 22 folds involved. All three sized blocks are the same form, just different sizes. They are a sturdy cardboard, but I am not prepared to say that they will hold up to years of rough play, like the box says. Amazon also shows a child standing on one block and I would hesitate to try that also. With that being said, they do seem sturdy enough to build and stack over and over. 

Smallest block before folding.

Try this:
  • Examine the blocks before playing. Take the opportunity to talk about how one block can look very different, depending on which side you are looking at.
  • Stack all or some and throw objects (ball, beanbags, etc.) to knock them over. Stand further away each time to make them more difficult to hit.
  • Make a wall to play behind or a fort to play in.
  • Stack as many as you can in one tower.
  • Make a tower of the red and use for target practice. Then a tower of blue, then a tower of yellow (reducing the size of the target).
  • Stack as many as you want and give two tries to knock blocks off the tower. Then restack and give two tries and attempt to knock over more.
  • Sort the blocks by color or by size (small, medium, large).
  • Set up individual blocks and see if you can knock them over.
  • Set up blocks on a level plane at equal distances and see if you can knock them down. Then set them up on a variety of elevated planes at equal distances, then on different planes at different distances.
  • Tell the individual which color to hit before each throw.
  • Verbally state two colors. Ask the individual to knock over two blocks in that order. Then state three colors.
  • Use them as a surface to set things on if you need areas of different heights to do other activities.
  • Make a vertical or horizontal pattern with them.
  • Build a stack, then push/pull out one box at a time, like Jenga. Try not to be the one who removes the box that makes the tower tumble.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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