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.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Q-Bitz Jr.

Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, figure ground, visual closure, visual memory, in-hand manipulation, distal rotation, separation of two sides of hand, palmar arch development, manual dexterity, executive functions, social participation and interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 4 wooden trays, 16 wooden cubes (four for each tray), 60 pattern cards 

I have long been a fan of the Q-Bitz games and have already blogged about Q-Bitz and Q-Bitz Extreme. New this year from Mindware is Q-Bitz Jr. Q-Bitz Jr. is a much simplified version, or in other words, a great place for beginners to start. The object of the game is to use your blocks to recreate the pattern on the pattern card. The first two Q-Bitz games have 16 blocks per tray. Q-Bitz Jr. has only four blocks per tray, so each pattern card uses only four cubes. There are 4 sets of cubes and each set is a different color (blue, purple, gold, orange). The individual must be able to look at the black and white card and see the white as white, but the black as their individual color (blue, purple, gold, or orange).The cubes are larger than the other Q-Bitz games but I still use them for in-hand manipulation for most. The patterns are numbered in the bottom right hand corner and increase in difficulty as you go. Many beginners are not able to separate the four cubes mentally so I will start by covering up all but one cube at a time. I usually just turn over a couple of other pattern cards to the back side and then lay them on the card you are working on. Then I advance to showing them two cubes at a time. Slowly work your way up to four cubes this way. 

Try this:
  • Let the individual copy what you do as you place each cube in your tray if he is not able to read the card and separate the four cubes.
  • Make a design on one tray and let the individual use it as a pattern to make the same design (3D pattern to 3D pattern).
  • Cup the hand(s), shake, and throw the cubes on the table. Once all available for the design are used, pick up the remaining cubes and shake again. Keep going until you use all the cubes.
  • If the player has made an error, ask him to compare his pattern, cube by cube, with the pattern card and see if he can identify and correct it independently before assisting.
  • If placing a cube in the puzzle for the individual, show him how to orient it and then take it out and turn it. Give it back to him to place.
  • Use the cubes without the trays and make a pattern with all the cubes such as AB or ABB. Start the pattern and let the individual finish it.
  • Demonstrate and then ask the individual to turn each cube in-hand if he is using the tabletop, his body, or two hands to do it. 
  • Place one cube at a time in the individual's palm and ask him to bring it to the fingertips and then orient it for placement.
  • Use the back side of unused cards or a white paper to cover all the black and white squares except for the one you are working on if the individual has difficulty mentally separating it. Once he improves, move to covering all but one line, then two lines, etc.
  • Focus on the white if the player has trouble translating the black to his color. For instance I will say the cube has a white circle, or it is white across the top and down the right side.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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