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, May 21, 2017

Alphabet Alligators

Alphabet Alligators - There's less than meets the eye.
Work on visual discrimination, visual form constancy, spatial relations, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands executive function, figure ground, play ad leisure exploration and participation

In the bucket: 13 two-piece alligators

I am big on reading, and recommending that others read, descriptions and reviews before buying. Therefore I was surprised when this arrived with only 13 alligators and a big, clear plastic cone inside the bucket to take up room so the bucket would look full. I expected 26 two-piece alligators, one for each letter of the alphabet. After returning to Amazon to check the description I see that yes, they made it very clear there are only 13 two-piece alligators, each with a capital and small letter on one side, and a different capital and small letter on the other side. The front and back of the alligators push together easily and pull apart easily (will not require much hand strength), but not so easily that they will just fall apart. However, the description on Amazon also says that this is a self-checking activity, which it is not. If an activity is self-checking, there is one, and only one way that two pieces will fit together - the correct way. In fact there are three complete green alligators, three blue, three red, two orange, and two purple. So there are many opportunities to get it wrong and not know it. In addition, if an individual is supposed to be working on matching the alligators by letter, but is actually matching them by color, they will probably get some randomly correct while you are thinking they are learning letters. Easy to use with hand-over-hand assist because of the shape. A complete alligator measures approximately 5"L x 1.5"H.

Try this:
  • Start by giving only the pieces that make correct matches so that individuals don't learn them incorrectly.
  • Place one front of each color on the table. Present one of the backs at a time and ask the individual to match the color. If this is too challenging, reduce the number of pieces to choose from.
  • Place all fronts of one color on the table. Give the back of one of them and ask the individual to find the matching letter.
  • Use as a two-handed activity and allow the individual to push any two pieces, front and back, together. Then take them apart as you put them back into the bucket.
  • Place all the pieces in a pile and assemble the alligators by letter. Play with more than one person and race or take turns matching alligators.
  • Place the pieces in the pile in different orientations so that some of the letters are upside-down or laying sideways.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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