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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tangoes Jr.

Work on manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, separation on two sides of the hand, precision placement, body awareness, spatial orientation, spatial visualization, visual closure, visual form constancy, visual memory, problem solving
In the box: 1 carrying case, 7 plastic pieces, 12 2-sided puzzle cards
Ages 4+

Tangoes Jr is a multi-award winning puzzle activity. Large cards, thick pieces, and simple objects makes this a great game for beginners. Tangoes are puzzles that use geometric shaped pieces to create different objects. For example, the puzzle on the box front above shows a skipping man. Those same seven pieces can be used to make a variety of objects. The ones included in the game are leaping woman, camel, sitting man, man in cap, rabbit, house, cat, sailboat, swan, and lamp. There is also a blank card that you can use as a background to make your own puzzles. All the pieces and pattern cards for this activity fit neatly and securely in a plastic carrying case with a handle. There is a drawer on the right hand side that slides open and holds the seven pieces (see picture above). Flip up the lid (on hinges) and you will find the 12 cards stored inside. The front of the case and the pieces are magnetic. Choose the pattern card you want to make, close the lid, place the card on top of the lid, and place the pieces on top of that. The pieces stick and will not slide around.

Each puzzle card has 2 levels: Level 1 (front) shows outlines for each piece and where it goes and Level 2 (back) shows the object all in blue with no lines to tell where pieces go. Create the puzzle on level one and then flip the card over and see if the individual can remember and create the picture without the lines as guides. You can also buy a separate Tangoes Jr. People Puzzle Pack. It includes just the cards and they are all different than the cards you will get with this set. I really like this product and have used it a lot with beginners.

Try this:
  • Complete level 1 and then 2 for a puzzle card. Next place the puzzle card next to or prop in front of the case, put the blank card on top of the case, and ask the individual to complete the puzzle.
  • Orient a puzzle piece and place it on the card if an individual cannot orient the piece correctly. Next, pick it up and hand it to the individual to orient. The individual may not be able to "see" the shape as it would look in a different orientation and a visual demonstration like that can help a great deal.
  • Work on level 2 at a different time, not right after level 1. This will take more problem-solving skills with less chance of just remembering where a piece goes.
  • Use consistent language, like flip and turn, as you work.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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