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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Feed the Animals

Work on manual dexterity, separation of the two side of the hand, eye-hand coordination, proximal stability, play and leisure exploration and participation. 

In the box: One basket to hold the pieces, 1 tweezers, one animal (monkey, dog, or rabbit), 30 pieces (carrots, bones, or bananas)
Ages 3-5

I have seen some people rave about these, but I'm not that excited about them. I own the rabbit and the monkey, and I have used the dog. Basically, I don't like the tweezers. You can pick up the pieces, but when releasing the tension to let go of the carrots and bananas, the pieces don't always drop out. Sometimes you have to give your hand a little shake to make the piece fall out of the tweezers. The bones, on the other hand, pick up and drop easily because the middle is narrower than the ends and people tend to pick up the pieces somewhere in the middle. If I was only going to buy one, it would be the one I don't own - the dog. When putting the animal away, make sure you lay him on his side to avoid bending the head back. If you set the animal basket upright, it is too tall for the box and after you close the box, you will end up bending the head backward. The head feels like a piece of cardboard covered in vinyl, and over time you will end up breaking the cardboard and the head won't stand upright any more. I only say this because I have seen it happen. You can purchase these sets separately, or you can buy the set of three together for a little savings.

Try this:
  • Replace these tweezers with another set that you own and like.
  • Place the objects on the table top and separate them. Trying to pick up one piece out of a crowded basket with a set of tweezers may be too difficult for beginners.
  • Use fingers instead of tweezers.
  • Mix objects together from different sets and use as a sorting activity if you have more than one set.
If you are interested in purchasing this or just want more information, go to LakeshoreLearning.com

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