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, June 14, 2017

Wigglefants Wooden Stacking Game

An elephant stacking game with pattern cards.
Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, eye-hand coordination, spatial relations/position in space, figure ground, coordinated use of both hands, manual dexterity, graded grasp and release, executive functioning skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 10 wooden blocks, 5 2-sided pattern cards
A wooden stacking game by HABA. The wooden blocks are shaped like elephants (they call them wigglefants), and they have ridges on them in several places that help reduce slipping and sliding. You can see from the image (above) that the pieces are large and so are the pattern cards. The blocks measure L 3" x W 1" x H 2.5". Each pattern card has a pattern on the front and on the back, so 10 patterns in all. You can rank the patterns in order of difficulty, but they are not marked in any way. Some of the patterns have fewer pieces, but have pieces stacked in a variety of orientations, so not necessarily easier.
Try this:
  • Cover pieces above where you are working if the individual wants to start at the top and build down.
  • Give the individual one piece at a time if he does not know where or how to start and/or proceed.
  • Call the piece by color instead of giving it to the individual for building order.
  • Place a piece for the individual if he cannot figure out what to do, such as with the pattern on the right with the multiple orientations. Then remove the piece and hand it to the individual to place.
  • Stack the blocks flat for a game requiring less precision.
  • Hold the card upright while the individual builds if he tries to build the model flat against the table.
  • Build the models flat that can be built flat against the table (for instance the model on the left above) for those who cannot balance the model upright.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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