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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dora To the Rescue! Mega Bloks

Work on spatial relations, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, bilateral hand use, sequencing, finger strength and dexterity, creative play, problem solving, visual form constancy, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the bag: 34 pieces and a sticker sheet, instruction book
3+ years

Still popular with many kids, Dora is on an adventure to find the bananas that Swiper stole from the baby monkey. If you have a Dora lover, like I have a Dora lover, this is for you. This is a beginners construction toy by Mega Bloks, similar in shape and size to Lego's Duplo. Read the story and construct the play set as you go. The story is told throughout the booklet, each page adding another line to the story at the top that relates to the pieces you are going to add, such as "make a tunnel above" or "and now for the slide". The pieces are plastic and easy to handle. They are the slightest bit malleable, not hard, solid plastic.

Pieces are large and easy for youngsters to handle.
The characters included are Dora and a monkey. Swiper and the banana are on stickers, which are placed on the sides of the blocks for permanent play (see Swiper above). The yellow car and trailer both have rolling wheels and snap together if you want to use them as one unit. The instruction book has instructions to build one play set, the one pictured above. Not all Mega Blok or Duplo sets have step-by-step instructions, you will have to read the box.

Instructions for Dora to the Rescue! by Mega Bloks
There is also another play set that was built from this kit that is pictured on the back of the bag. There are no step-by-step instructions, so the individual will have to be able to build from the picture of a finished model. This is a more difficult task than building from a step by step guide. Of course you are also free to build as many different play sets as you want from the pieces. The fun doesn't stop after the construction, it's just beginning!

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 the model in the same orientation as the one in the picture if they are having trouble orienting a piece.
  • Take time to play once your set is complete.
  • Give the beginner a piece at a time while building and point to the piece on the picture to show where it should go.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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