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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.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Giant Sight & Sound Tubes

Work on visual discrimination, visual scanning, visual tracking, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the tubes: Gems, bells, feathers, balls, soft foam shapes

I actually only have one of these tubes, the first one with the small transparent gems in it. I picked it up second-hand and didn't know where it came from until I saw this image on the Lakeshore Learning website. Here is the link if you would like to check them out. Lakeshore Learning. The tube measures  16" long. The gems are small, about twice the size of a piece of rice. I have some of the same gems that are loose (not in this tube) that I use in the Treasure Chest activity. The blue caps do not come off. Reading the reviews I see that these are very popular with toddlers, but I don't work with kids that young so typically use them for visually scanning or tracking. Here are some of the ways that I have used this tube:
  • Hold the tube with one hand on each end. Tip the tube slowly and follow the gems with your eyes as they roll downward.
  • Hold the tube with one hand on each end. Hold the tube still as you start at one end and scan with your eyes across the tube looking for all gems of a certain color. Count them if you want. Then start at the end where you stopped and scan in the opposite direction looking for all the gems of a different color.
  • Add stickers that are removable and turn the tube in-hand, scanning for the different objects or characters.
  • Hold the tube out so that the arms are not against the body nor propped on a table top for support.

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