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, April 16, 2016

Take 10! Count Em Up Family Fun

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, counting, sorting, sequencing, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, palmar arch development, coordinated use of both hands, grasp, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation  
In the container: 36 plastic figures, 2 large foam cubes (1 number, 1 color)
Ages 3+, 1+ players

Learning Resources has several Take 10! games, designed to be portable games that can be played anywhere in 10 minutes or less. The figures in this container are flexible plastic and can stand (see above). There are six characters (mom, dad, brother, sister, baby, cat) in six colors (purple, blue, red, orange, green, yellow). Each specific character has one of each color. The number cube is numbered 1-6 with the actual numbers, not dots like dice. The color cube has one of the six colors on each side. The cubes are made of a very light foam and are oversized. I don't care for games with the oversized cubes/dice as much because I don't think they are as effective for cupping the hand and working on palmar arch development. Lots of options for playing simple games using one or both cubes to count and sort by color or shape. There are instructions for these three games included:
  • Game 1 - Pile the people on the table. Take turns throwing the color cube and taking a family member of that color. Try to collect each family member in a different color. 
  • Game 2 - Pile the people on the table. Take turns throwing the number cube and take that many family members. The first player to collect 10 family members first wins.
  • Game 3 - Pile the people on the table. Take turns throwing both the number cube and the color cube and take that many family members. The first player to collect 10 family members wins.
The container is smaller than what is pictured.
Try this:
  • Sort into piles or into a cupcake tin by shape.
  • Sort into piles or into a cupcake tin by color.
  • Play games 2 and 3 (above) until all the family members have been collected, not just until someone has collected 10. Each player counts his characters and the one with the most wins.
  • Cup the non-dominant hand and add the family members to the hand one at a time. How many can you hold? Now switch hands and try again. Count as you go.
  • Place the characters one at a time in the players hand. Make sure some are upside-down and/or backward. Ask the player to manipulate each character in-hand and stand it on the table top.
  • Place the characters in a pile on the table and ask the individual to pick them up one at a time and manipulate them in-hand before standing them on the table top.
  • Ask the individual to stand all the characters on the table top in a large grouping, grouping each color together. Talk about the importance of staying with your group when you are in a public place in a crowded area.
  • Stand all the characters on the table top. Throw one of the cubes and put them back into the container in the order of the color or number that you throw.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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