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, July 5, 2017

Mega Bloks Dora's House

Check out the house that Dora built.
Work on spatial relations, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, bilateral hand use, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, sequencing, creative play, executive functioning skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the bag: 60 pieces

A Dora the Explorer playset by Mega Bloks. Mega Bloks are larger than LEGOs and comparable to the LEGO brand DUPLOs. This set includes Dora's house, a tree, a few furniture pieces, and a Dora figure and a Boots figure. This set also comes with a step-by-step booklet for making the house and accessories pictured on the front of the bag (image above).  If you look in the far top, right corner of the bag in the picture above you will see another version that you can put together, but it does not come with any instructions. You will need to work from the picture. The pieces are plastic but are a little bit flexible, not solid hard plastic. Because of the flexibility, the structure can be hard to move, even just a little, without pieces coming apart. Here is a picture from the instruction booklet:

The new pieces that will be added to each page are at the top of the page in the white boxes. The new pieces are pictured "floating" above the model with black lines that trace down to the surface where it will be added. The tops of the pieces where the new pieces will be added are also colored with yellow and blue circles.

Try this:
  • Offer a few minutes of free play at the beginning so the child can get the feel of the pieces and learn how they go together.
  • Keep the unused pieces in a pile so the child will have to search for each needed piece. Turn some of the pieces upside down or on their side so the child will have to recognize them from different perspectives.
  • Advise the child to hold or place the model in the same orientation as the one in the picture.
  • Give the beginner a piece at a time while building and point to the piece on the picture to show where it should go.
  • Place the pieces for each step on the non-dominant side so that the individual will have to cross midline to pick them up. Instruct him not to lean to the side as he reaches across.
  • Ask "what is different" at each new step in the instruction guide to focus on where the new parts will go.
  • Take time to play once your set is complete.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information about it, click on the image below.

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