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.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Body Awareness Fun Deck


Work on body awareness, motor planning, gross motor, balance, core strength, spatial relations, visual perception

In the tin: 56 illustrated cards, Contents/Game ideas card, Introduction/Game ideas card
Ages 5+

Fun loving Otis, the OT gorilla, may help motivate even the most reluctant to get involved in motor planning fun. Otis is an ever-smiling, friendly gorilla that demonstrates the positions for kids to imitate. Each time I look at Otis, I think  that the logo on his shirt, OT is, just begs for a fill-in-the-blank, like OT is my dream job! LOL Choose from five levels of difficulty and four different games to help develop body awareness. The cards are laminated and brightly colored. They include Otis striking a pose on one side and the picture on the front of the tin (above) on the other side, no wording. The cards are color coded by the border color and are numbered in the upper right hand corner. The five color-coded levels are:
  1. Tabletop positions - cards 1-5
  2. Upper body positions - cards 6-17
  3. Upper and lower body positions - cards 18-28
  4. Challenging upper and lower body positions - cards 29-36
  5. Pairs of opposing body positions - cards 37-56
These are the four games suggested on the cards:
  1. Imitate OTis - Place the cards, one at a time, in front of the child and ask him to imitate Otis.
  2. Mirror Image - Stand opposite the child and strike a pose. Ask the child to strike the same pose. Since you are standing across from the child, depending on the position, his hands or feet may be on opposite sides from yours.
  3. Beat the Clock - Place the deck of cards face down in front of the child. Turn over the first card. Can he imitate it in 10 seconds? Repeat until the cards have all been turned over.
  4. Follow the Leader - Give each individual playing a few cards face down. Ask one child to turn up the top card and imitate the pose. All other individuals playing should follow the leader and imitate the same pose. Go around the group and let children take turns being the leader.
These games can easily be played by several people at the same time.  

Try this:
  • Demonstrate for the child if he has difficulty imitating the pose. I usually move one hand or foot at a time and let the child imitate my moves until the whole position is attained.
  • Choose a card where the body is in an asymmetrical position (such as hands doing different things). When explaining the mirror image concept, I will stand side by side with the child and we each strike the same pose as on the card. I will ask the child to stand still and I slowly turn to face him. My hands or feet are now on opposite sides from his. This can be a difficult concept to understand and may take time, especially if the child has laterality difficulties.
  • Use a simple 30 second or 1 minute timer. See how many poses the child can correctly imitate in the time frame. Play again and try to beat the score.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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