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, March 1, 2016


Work on figure ground, visual discrimination, visual scanning, manual dexterity, palmar arching, in-hand manipulation, working memory, processing speed, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation  
In the box: 41 wooden sweet treats, 3 wooden color dice, 1 round cloth playing field
Ages 4+, 1-8 players
Tobi and his sister Lisa received a bag of candy from their mother for helping her in the garden. They both tug on the bag at the same time and it breaks open. The candy spills out. To play the game each player will, in turn, throw the dice to determine a 3-color combination. This 3-color combination must be held in the memory as players scan the candy to find the exact piece. To set up the game, place the blue cloth circle (tray) on the playing surface and scatter the candy pieces on top.

From this point there are three versions for playing the game:
  • Version 1 - Collect candy pieces. After each throw of the dice, all players will search for the candy piece with that 3-color combination. The first person to find that piece of candy picks it up. The game ends when someone collects five pieces of candy.
  • Version 2 - Keep score. Play as above except point to the correct candy piece but leave the candy lay where it is. The player who finds the piece first gains one point. Play for an amount of time that is specified before the game starts, such as 10 minutes. Person with the most points after 10 minutes wins.
  • Version 3 - Put back candy pieces. Randomly give each player five pieces of candy. Players throw the dice, in turn, and if you have the piece of candy with that color combination you get to return it to the blue circle. Whoever runs out of candy first, wins.
Both I am the kids have liked this game and I have used it quite a bit.
Try this:
  • Tell the player to choose one of the three colors and only stop and check pieces with that color to eliminate stopping at every single piece to check for the 3-color combination.
  • Place one piece of candy in front of the individual. Ask him to turn each die in the fingertips, one at a time, and find the three colors that match the colors on the candy.
  • Throw only one die to start. Remove all the candy with that color.
  • Throw only two dice. Remove all the candy with those two colors.
  • Cup the hand to shake the dice. If the individual has difficulty with this, place a small ball into the hand and ask the individual to cup the fingers around it. Remove the ball and add the dice.
  •  Keep the hand in the cupped position longer by asking the child to count to 10 before throwing so you can watch the dice "dance".
  • Listen for the dice "dancing" if the child tends to squeeze the dice in the hand and just move the wrist up and down.
  •  Shape both palms before shaking the dice. Drop the dice into the player's hand, and ask him to place the other hand over the top and shake.
  • Instruct the child to repeat the color combination verbally to help him remember what he is looking for as he scans.
  • Use game version 3 as you put the game away.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment.