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.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Work on attention, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, spatial relations, balance, manual dexterity, body awareness, throwing and catching, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the tube: 12 yellow balls, sheet with Velcro stickers, 2 pickers
Ages 8+, 2 players

A really fun one for eye-hand coordination. To set up the game, put six of the round Velcro stickers on each ping pong ball. Scatter the 12 balls on the floor. Strap one of the pickers - a tennis ball attached to an elastic cord attached to a wrist band - around your wrist. Aim the red tennis ball at one of the yellow ping pong balls and throw it. If you make contact, the ping pong ball will easily stick to the red tennis ball. Because the red tennis ball is on an elastic cord it will snap back toward you and you can try and catch it. Keep playing until you have picked up all the ping pong balls. I used to buy tennis balls on an elastic cord at the dollar store several years ago. The ones from this game have a thicker cord and a more substantial wrist band, but I bet the dollar store ones would do. Buy a package of ping pong balls while you are there, buy some stick on Velcro, and I bet you could make your own game much cheaper. FYI - I imagine pet hair will stick to these easily. As with any ball, be careful about throwing it inside.

Try this:
  • Strap the ball onto your wrist and practice throwing and catching before aiming to pick anything up.
  • Play with an opponent. See who can pick up the most balls.
  • Practice picking up the balls on different surfaces. I would recommend doing this outside, so perhaps one on the picnic table, one in the crook of a tree branch, one on the front steps, etc. 
They don't carry this at Amazon, you will have to search for it elsewhere if you are interested in picking it up.

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