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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.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Melissa & Doug Catch & Count Fishing Game

A magnetic fishing game can make a fisherman out of most.

Work on visual discrimination, visual form constancy, figure ground, visual scanning, spatial relations, visual motor integration, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, grasp, bilateral integration, executive functioning, balance, sequencing, motor planning, proprioceptive perception, vestibular perception, upper body strength, shoulder strength and stability, tool use, socialization skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 2 fishing poles, 10 fish, 1 spinner, blue net bag


This is simply a magnetic fishing pole set, you've probably seen them before. The pole itself is made of wood and plastic and the fish are wood. The spinner is cardboard and has not held up that well. It is warped and so the arrow will no longer spin around. At the end of the fishing line there is a magnetic piece encased in plastic. Hover that piece over one of the fish, which each have a metal tack on top, and the two will attach and you have caught yourself a fish! Each fish is numbered, as you can see above, and the fish increase in size a little as they go from 1 to 5. As you can also see on the image above, there is a big circular wood piece attached to the pole with a smaller wood piece attached to that. Hold the small wood piece in your fingers and as you turn it the fishing line will raise or lower. The line will raise and lower as long as you want to continue turning the knob. The fishing line is much shorter than I thought it would be, only a little over a foot when fully lowered and about 10.5 inches when fully raised. You cannot fully reel in the line because the bobber stops it. So if you are going to use this with an older or taller person, they may have to lean over quite a bit to make the line come in contact with any fish that are on the floor. Or you could use it on a table top and raise the arm to hover the magnet over the fish instead. You can see the boy below is sitting down to fish and the line is pictured at its longest. The short line is really a drawback for me since I don't work with real young kids.





To play:
Lay the fish on the blue net bag and pretend it is water. Scatter the 10 fish on the bag. The spinner is large and has the numbers 1-5 on it. It is made of card stock and if the card gets warped at all, like mine is, the arrow will not spin. Either use your spinner to determine in what order to pick up your fish or choose your own fish to pick up. Keep fishing until you have hauled them all in.


Try this:
  • Pretend you are standing on a bridge and stand on a balance beam while fishing. 
  • Scatter drawings or pictures of other item in the "lake", such as an old boot, a flat tire, and a rock. Slip a paperclip onto each item so it will attach to the magnet and try to avoid picking them up while you are fishing. Or assign points to them also and try to pick them up.
  • Pick up the fish in numerical order or counting backwards.
  • Call out a color, number or size for the fisherperson to pick up. Eliminate the 2s and 4s, leaving you with 1, 3, and 5. Call out by sizes: small, medium, and large.
  • Place the fish at different distances and on both sides of the balance beam so the individual must move and reach and lean to practice dynamic balance while hauling in their catch. 
  • Throw down a blue blanket on the floor and pretend it is a lake. Toss the fish in the lake. Pack a snack of fish crackers and take a well-deserved break after you have caught your limit for the day.
  • Scatter the fish so that the individual must recognize the numbers in different orientations, upside down, sideways, etc. 
  • Hold the spinner in one hand and flick with the other. Look for a well-rounded web space before you flick.
  • Call out a location such as pick up the fish that is to the left of the blue 2.
  • Pick up all kinds of things using paperclips and a magnetic fishing pole. Let your imagination run wild. I hope you land a whopper!
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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