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!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thumbs Up!

Work on figure ground, visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual form constancy, eye-hand coordination, sequencing, manual dexterity, using both hands in a coordinated manner, finger isolation, counting, attention, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation 
In the box: rings, challenge cards
Ages 6+, 2-6 players
Look at the pattern card and stack the rings on your thumb in that color order. For instance, the card with the cats below would be first ring yellow, second ring green, third ring red, fourth ring blue, and fifth ring blue.
I have been using this as an activity for one individual at a time for one simple reason - speed. The winner is the person who can produce the correct stack of rings on their thumb the fastest. I have played it with several people and there is typically one person who leaves everybody else in the dust. Not all respond well to games based on speed, and especially not if having difficulties in any of the key skill areas. But this game has been fun for kids in therapy. Each card only takes seconds to a minute for most to complete. Play with someone with a short attention span, adding a few more cards each time you play to increase time on task.
Try this:
  • Skip the competition, just show the player one card at a time and have him stack the rings.
  • Ask the individual to lift the top card off the stack after he makes each pattern. Try not to slide the cards all over or tip the pile over.
  • Place each ring flat on the table for a more challenging pick-up.
  • Isolate different fingers to stack on.
  • Sort the rings by coloring while putting them back in the box.
  • Place the rings flat on the tabletop. Pick them up one at a time between the thumb and index finger. How many can you hold without dropping?
  • Cup the hand and count the rings as you drop them, one at a time, into the palm. Drop hem into the box. Then cup the other hand and count and drop another color. Put them back into the box by the handful when cleaning up.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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