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.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hot Dots Jr.

Work on visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, figure ground, visual memory, sequencing, counting, letter recognition, turning pages, grasp, manual dexterity, executive functioning skills

In the box: 4 books, ace the dog, lesson guide

Hot Dots has a large range of products. This one is a junior edition and the box says that it has 160 interactive lessons. A lesson turns out to be one page in any of the books, because there are 160 pages total across four books. The name comes from the fact that each possible answer on a page has a big black dot next to it. Touch the dot with the tip of Ace the taking/teaching dog to find out if you are correct. The books are spiral bound and laminated. Most pages have between three and six problems. The four book titles, with some of the lessons in each, are as follows:
  • Book 1 - Shapes
    • Find the circles (or triangles or squares, etc.), Find the shape that matches the first shape, which shapes are the same, and find the shape that finishes the pattern
  • Book 2 - Colors & Patterns
    • Find the color that is the same as the first one, choose the pictures that are the same color as the color of the crayon, choose the colors that match the picture, and find the matching color word.
  • Book 3 - Let's Learn Numbers
    • Which are the same and how many?
  • Book 4 - Learning the Alphabet
    • Choose the letters that are the same as the first one, match the uppercase and lowercase letters, Find each box with a matching uppercase and lowercase letter

Above is an image of Ace the teaching/talking electronic dog pen. He is electronic and takes 2 AAA batteries. He is not easy to grip like a pencil, as you can see. The blue part of the dog is top-heavy, and if you try to hold it by grasping the black part, you will feel the weight pulling back. You can set it so that your feedback from the dog will be in either speech, sound effects, or a mix of both. You can also set the volume to low, medium and high. The dog has 23 phrases and if your answer is correct a green light will come on across his eyes and he will say something like good job, barking, woof, way to go, you got it, yes and terrific. If your answer is incorrect, a red light will glow where the eyes are and you will hear sorry, incorrect, nope, a dog whining and that's not right. 

The lesson guide has 24 pages and consists of ideas of things that you can do in addition to using this activity to teach. It suggests things like singing the ABC song, making crafts, making touchable letters, and using counters. None of those materials are included, just ideas.

I believe you can use the dog pen with any of the other sets they sell. Some of the other topics are phonics, money skills, vocabulary, and multiplication.

Try this:
  • Keep the book folded in half and cover other sections you are not working on with white paper if the individual is not able to focus in on the problem due to all the other unnecessary background shapes and colors.

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