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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Peanuts Movie 400 piece Family Puzzle

Work on spatial relations, visual closure, visual discrimination, visual form constancy, figure ground, visual scanning, sustained attention, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, separation of sides of hand, fine motor precision, crossing midline, body awareness, leisure and play exploration and participation

In the box: 400 pieces of three different sizes

I love these Family Puzzles that allow people at different skill levels to join together in one fun activity. As you can see from the box above, there are three different size pieces. The large pieces start on one end of the puzzle, and the smallest pieces on the other. Both meet the medium pieces in the middle. The pieces in this puzzle are what I would consider average in height and shape, none of those weirdly shaped pieces or pieces that just sit next to each other without being joined. Nobody makes puzzles like Ravensburger, so once I discovered those, everything else is average (or less). I like Ravensburger better because the pieces are a little thicker and they are easier to "catch" into place if you have reduced fine motor control. They are also durable, come in sturdy boxes, and have fun topics. I will be blogging on them soon. I received this puzzle a week ago as a gift. It was $9.99 from Amazon at the time. Today it is selling for $32.99. Amazon's prices can vary greatly now that they include third party sellers. Anyway, I look forward to putting this one together because of the theme.

Check out the different sized pieces.

Try this:
  • Place all the pieces flat on the table. Ask the individual who is working with the big pieces to sort through and take out all of his pieces. If he has trouble with this, turn all the pieces over and then look. They may be easier to spot when they all look the same.
  • Turn each piece in-hand to orient it before placing it.
  • Point to something on the box and ask the individual to find the piece to match it and put it in place.
  • Pick up a random piece that would be easily recognizable on the picture and ask the individual to point out where that piece goes on the picture on the box. Do this multiple times to help the individual understand they can consult the box for help while assembling the puzzle.
  • Place pieces that have not been played upside-down and sideways so the individual will have to recognize them in different orientations.
  • Place one or two pieces that the individual will need next close to him to find if he has trouble looking over a lot of pieces at once.
  • Talk about edges and corners and have the individual pick out all the edge pieces. Then build the frame first.
  • Look for patterns and/or colors. For example, look at Peppermint Patty's jacket and sort out all the green pieces from the available pieces. Sort out all the orange pieces for Franklin's coat.
  • Assemble the puzzle and leaving out obvious pieces and giving these to the beginner to add as you go.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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