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.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Color Code

Work on spatial relations, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, visual closure, visual form constancy, in-hand manipulation, logic, critical and analytical thinking, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: plastic base, 18 tiles, booklet with 100 challenges
Ages 5-99, 1 player
One of my absolute favorite activities for working on spatial orientation and problem solving. A one-player game that increases in difficulty as you go. Puzzles range from two pieces to six pieces and from starter to master levels. There are two tiles for each color. The goal is to create a 3D puzzle in the base that looks exactly like the 2D challenge picture in the book. Each puzzle tile is square, transparent, and has a colored form printed on it (not transparent). It is obvious which side is the back as the back of the tiles are all white. Work your way through the book and just keep getting better as you go! If the player gets frustrated, remind him that it is a trial and error type activity, meaning you may need to try several orientations before you get it right. This is not failure, it is just the nature of the puzzle. A young man I work with likes to say "not quite" when he doesn't get it right. I like that because it says that you are having success and are almost there.
Try this:
  • Use consistent positional terminology, such as left, right, top, bottom, middle.
  • Allow the individual to correct the puzzle if he completes it incorrectly.
  • Assist the individual with the problem solving process, perhaps prompting that the green one looks wrong, or narrowing down the options by asking "is the yellow one correct", "is the green one correct", etc. until he identifies the incorrect tile. 
  • Ask the individual to turn the piece in-hand as he tries different orientations.
  • Start by putting out only the tiles needed in the correct orientation on the table. Then only the tiles needed in incorrect orientations. Then add a few more pieces and let the individual choose the correct pieces and orientations. Lastly allow the individual to look through all the tiles to find what he needs and complete on his own.
  • Remind the individual that there are only two pieces of each color if he has trouble finding the correct tiles. Put the two pieces side by side and ask him which one is correct. Most pieces are very different in shape.
  • Say "turn" if the individual has the correct piece but fails to try it in different orientations. Sometimes I say "turn" two or three times until the person gets it correct.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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