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, November 28, 2015

Bill & Betty Bricks

Work on spatial relations, visual discrimination, visual closure, visual form constancy, eye hand coordination, manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, balance, graded release, body awareness, critical and analytical thinking, building 3D models from 2D models  
In the box: 5 colorful wooden blocks, 2 playing figurines, building base, booklet with 60 challenges
Age 5+

Congratulations, you are now in the construction business! Help Bill & Betty build rectangular and square shaped buildings, always keeping one or both of them on the building at all times to supervise the work. All blocks are made of wood, brightly painted, and well constructed. The same design is on both sides of each block. The 60 challenges increase in difficulty and extend over five different skill levels - starter (ages 5+), junior (ages 6+), expert (ages 8+), master (ages 8+), wizard (ages 8+). The come in a nice spiral book that lies flat. Step-by-step answers are included for the starter and junior puzzles and are printed on the back of each challenge page.
         Challenge 10                 Solution to Challenge 10
Once you get to the expert level, all the answers are in the back of the book. To play, choose a challenge and get the bricks that you will need for the puzzle, which are pictured on the challenge page. The bottom of the challenge page shows you which bricks to place to start, and has a dotted white line around the shape of the finished model. The bricks pictured at the top of the page are the bricks you will use to finish the model. As you build, Bill and/or Betty can only advance one level at a time, until they are standing on top of the finished building. Another building successfully completed.

Try this:
  • Introduce the puzzle slowly to those who are new to it or need to be taught how to plan and use strategy. Build the whole design but the last piece and let the individual place the last piece. Then build a whole design but the last two pieces and let the individual place them. Then build a whole design but the last three pieces, etc.
  • Build the model yourself, thinking out loud as you work to teach how to use logic to plan and use strategy. Let the individual watch. Take the building apart and ask the individual to put it together.
  • Encourage the individual to see a block from different angles. If it is the correct piece and he tries it in the wrong orientation and sets it down, ask him to turn it and try again, then again, until he finds the correct orientation.
  • Look at the puzzle and, without moving any bricks physically, visualize manipulate them and solve the puzzle. Check your answer.
  • Turn a block to the correct orientation and place it on the building if the individual get stuck. Then take it off, rotate it out of orientation, and hand it to the individual to place.
  • Turn the block in-hand instead of flipping it on the table to get it into the correct orientation for placement.
  • Talk through the reasoning process if the individual gets stuck, such as "the blue block can't go there because then the building will be too high on that side."
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below. 

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