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.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, critical and analytical thinking, social interaction, turn taking, hand arches
In the box: 21 dice, 10 small chips, bag
Ages 8+, 2 players
Shake and take pretty much sums it up. Shake all 21 dice (even a lot for adult hands) and remove one or more dice of the same color or symbol. Your turn is over. Players take turns repeating these steps until the last die is taken. The person to take the last die loses the round and gets a loser chip. Play a set amount of rounds, and the person with the least amount of loser chips at the end, wins. It sounds rather simplistic, but it does take planning. Below is an image of the dice and their colors and symbols.  The box shows the dice stacked, but no stacking is involved.
Try this:
  • Show the player which side of the dice is "up" if they are not familiar with dice games.
  • Make your own stacking game. How many can you stack before they topple?
  • Stack two towers of dice at the same time, one with the right hand, one with the left.
  • Choose a symbol from a blue die. Pick up each blue die and turn it in the fingertips until you find that symbol. Lay them in a line on the table. Do again for red, then green.
  • Shape the player's palm before shaking the dice by putting a small ball or round object in the hand and forming the hand around it. Do that for both hands, drop the dice into the players hand, and ask him to  place the other hand over the top and shake.
  • Ask the player to shake at least 10 times, to hear them dance, or really mix them up good, etc. This will keep the palms in that position a little longer.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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