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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.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wooden Threading Fruit

My favorite stringing fruit.
Work on bilateral integration, manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, visual discrimination, sequencing, spatial relations, crossing midline, palmar arch development, focus and attention, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 24 pieces of wooden fruit (bananas, apples, pears, plums, oranges), 4 cords with wooden "needles"

When one of my families asks to borrow a game I am delighted to lend it. It does my heart good to think of them all gathered around the table and enjoying time together. Funny thing, no one has ever asked to borrow this. I'm sure to most folks (including kids!) this may not look very exciting, but I love this set for multiple reasons:
  • The fruit is smooth, solid wood, brightly colored
  • The hole is very large and smooth all the way through (no snagging) 
  • The fruit is a nice size for cupping the hand around and works well with hand-over-hand assist
  • The cord is about 54" long and will hold all the fruit at once if you want 
  • The cord has a 4" wooden "needle" on one end and a 1.75" wooden piece tied onto the other end to keep the fruit from slipping off
  • The cord does not collapse as you are attempting to thread because the needle is so long
  • The needle and hole are big enough for those with poor vision or hand skills to still be successful
  • The stringing involves a multiple step process that coordinates the use of both hands, and then unstringing reverses it 
What can I say, it's an OT thing.



Try this:
  • Place the fruit in a container and ask for a specific piece each time, such as get an apple or get a pear, etc.
  • Ask the individual to turn the fruit in-hand as he looks for the hole.
  • String a sequence of two or three different pieces and repeat.
  • Take the fruit off before putting away to reverse which hand does what.
  • Place the fruit on the table after taking it off the string. Then pick up one piece at a time, cupping it in the hand, and put it in the box.
  • Place the fruit pieces on the dominant side (that holds the needle) so that the individual will have to cross over to pick it up.
  • Start your time together with an activity that requires focus, such as stringing, to set the tone for the session.

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