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!

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Rock the Beat

Gesture cards can be used as a simple motor planning activity.

Work on manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, body awareness, sequencing, motor planning, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination

In the box: 36 gesture cards, 10 penalty cards, 2 quick start cards
Ages 10+, 4+ players
A party game that can be used as a simple motor planning activity. I use the 36 gesture cards only. Each card has a different gesture pictured on it, from thumbing a ride, to a karate chop, to making a butterfly.  Add clapping, slapping, snapping, and/or tapping, in sequence, to the gestures to rock the beat.
Try this:
  • Begin your session with this activity if deep pressure would help calm and organize and add clapping. 
  • Start by placing the cards, one at a time, on the table to introduce and practice the gestures before adding speed or a rhythm.
  • Make up your own sequence for the rhythm, such as two claps, one gesture, 2 claps, repeat the gesture. Simplify or complicate it based on ability and challenge level needed.
  • Do something different with each hand for the rhythm, such as slap the table with the right hand and snap the fingers with the left.
  • Increase the difficulty of the sequence for the rhythm over time. Involve the hands and the feet and the gestures for a challenging workout.
  • Clap your hands, slap the table or your knees, snap your fingers, tap your toes.
  • Set the gesture cards that were difficult aside and come back to them at the end.
  • Lay three cards on the table and perform the sequence, with snapping or clapping between each gesture.
For more information, click on the image below.

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