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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Disney Princess Deluxe Hopscotch

Work on balance, aim, eye-hand coordination, hopping, manual dexterity, social interaction, play and leisure participation, sequencing, turn taking

In the bag: 9 foam squares, 4 markers
Ages 3+, 2+ players

A traveling hopscotch game for Disney princess lovers. I say traveling because you can pick up and take the squares with you, as opposed to the traditional hopscotch grid that is typically drawn on the sidewalk with chalk. The squares measure approximately 12 1/4 X 12 1/4 and are made of 1/4 inch thick foam. There is a picture printed on the top of each square. There are eight different Disney princesses, one on each square numbered one through eight, and the ninth square has a picture of a castle (home). The pieces connect together like a puzzle and are easy to put together and take apart. The game comes with four plastic hearts (markers), so four kids can play. The object of the game is to be the first player to reach home after tossing and skipping over the first eight levels. The game starts as player one tosses her heart onto square number one. If she misses, her turn is over. If it lands there, she proceeds to hop the length of the hopscotch grid, avoiding hopping on the square where her heart is. If she makes it to the end without making a mistake (hopping on wrong foot, stumbling off foam pieces, etc.), she is done with level one and will attempt to toss the heart in square two on her next turn.  Each numbered piece will be taken in order, as above, and if she is the first to reach level nine (home), she wins the game. The grid can be made up in whatever configuration that you would like. It comes in a lightweight, zippered bag for easy carrying.

Try this:
  • Hop on the square where your heart marker is sitting, lean over and pick it up without falling, finish jumping to the end.
  • Avoid jumping on your marker square, get to the end, turn around (with hops), head back to start, stop and pick up your marker on the way back.
  • Make a shorter grid with fewer pieces for beginners. Increase squares as they get better at the game.
  • Assemble the nine pieces in a 3 x 3 grid. Place it on a table top or the floor. Use the hearts or other items you have such as beanbags and toss them onto the grid. Call a number or picture first and try to land a beanbag on that square.
  • Call out an attribute and ask the individual to throw a beanbag on a matching square. Such as, find a square where the girl has blue in her dress, is wearing a headband, or is wearing a necklace.
  • Make the 3 X 3 grid as above and turn it 1/4 turn every so often. Numbers will now be in different spatial positions and orientations.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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