Friday, November 21, 2014

OT Approved Toy | Morphology

You guys, I'm not going to lie. This game is hard! Morphology is a bit different from the other toys and games I have been sharing, in the sense that it doesn't have a direct motor component (although it does require fine motor skills to manipulate the pieces). What I really love about this game is the creativity and flexible thinking required. In this team game, one person is chosen to be the "morphologist." That person must "morph" the game pieces into the word on the card, and the teammates have one minute to guess the word. There are both "easy" and "hard" words to choose from, as well as a clue. Can you guess what the pieces in the picture above are?


Best for ages: 10 and up

Side note: I once played this game with a group of freshman that I was running a Social Thinking group with, and they complained about playing a "Junior" version of a game. I told them that I am waaaay older than them, and I play the Junior version of the game myself. After one round, they all agreed that Junior was the way to go :) It appears that Morphology Games has since re-released this game, and it looks like the original Morphology Junior is now being sold simply as Morphology. Probably because this game is challenging enough as it is.


Skills addressed: 

  • fine motor
  • turn taking
  • cooperative play
  • executive functions (initiating, planning, sequencing, recall)


Where to buy:


Purchase Morphology on Amazon.

For more OT Approved Toys, be sure to stop by my Toy Page.

Disclosure: This game was received complimentary of Morphology Games in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions and writing are my own. Links to Amazon are affiliate links

Thursday, November 20, 2014

OT Approved Toy | Frida's Fruit Fiesta Game


Yesterday I shared The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game and today I'm back with another educational toy with tongs. (Remember? OT's love tongs!) In this game, there are three spinners, which really just adds to the fun (and provides more opportunities for visual scanning!). Use the Frida Tongs to pick up a letter that matches a letter from your spin and place it on the corresponding letter on your card. First to to get four fruit bowls in a row wins!

Best for ages: 4-6 years

Skills addressed: 

  • fine motor
  • visual scanning
  • letter identification
  • turn taking
  • cooperative play

 

Similar games: 

Here are some more fun games from Educational Insights that work on similar skills and have tongs! Have I mentioned that I love preschool boardgames with tongs?
Frankie's Food Truck Fiasco Game - Seriously? A food truck game? What's not to love about that?
Shelby's Snack Shack Game - For the dog lovers out there!
The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game - The original Educational Insights board game with tongs!

 



Where to buy:


Purchase Frida's Fruit Fiesta Game on Amazon or directly from Educational Insights.

For more OT Approved Toys, be sure to stop by my Toy Page.

Disclosure: This game was received complimentary of Educational Insights in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. Links to Amazon and Educational Insights are affiliate links

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

OT Approved Toy | The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game


Educational Insights consistently knocks it out of the park with their games. Like so many of their games, The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game not only has great artwork, but also works on fine motor skills. Yay! OT's love tongs for developing fine motor skills and strengthening the muscles of little hands and guess what? This game includes a squirrel that is actually tongs!! The concept of this game is similar to Hi Ho Cherry-O, but the players use the squirrel tongs to pick up the little acorns and place on their logs. Be the first to fill your log with acorns and you win!

Best for ages: 3-5 years

Skills addressed: 

  • fine motor
  • color identification
  • matching
  • counting
  • turn taking
  • cooperative play

If you love this game, you might also like The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Card Game. I haven't seen the game myself, but I hear speech language pathologists love it!

Where to buy:

Purchase The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game on Amazon or directly from Educational Insights.

Similar games: 

Here are some more fun games from Educational Insights that work on similar skills and have tongs! Have I mentioned that I love preschool boardgames with tongs?
Frankie's Food Truck Fiasco Game - Seriously? A food truck game? What's not to love about that?
Shelby's Snack Shack Game - For the dog lovers out there!
Frida's Fruit Fiesta Game - Tongs and letter identification. Yes!


For more OT Approved Toys, be sure to stop by my Toy Page.

Disclosure: This game was received complimentary of Educational Insights in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. Links to Amazon and Educational Insights are affiliate links

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In My Therapy Bag | Lauren from The Inspired Treehouse

Today I am so excited to welcome Lauren from The Inspired Treehouse! Lauren is a pediatric physical therapist and is part of the amazing trio that makes up The Inspired Treehouse, an educational blog packed full of great child development tips from pediatric physical and occupational therapists. Read on to see what Lauren has in her therapy bag and then be sure to hop on over to their blog for more great tips!


What's in my therapy bag?

 

My therapy bag is a huge abyss of toys that the kiddos I work with dig through with a vengeance the minute I set it down. One of the most popular toys in that bag is my set of Stepping Stones. This simple toy is perfect for tackling all kinds of developmental skills - teaching balance and coordination while providing sensory feedback in the form of proprioceptive and auditory stimulation (they are filled with air and make a great little gushing noise when you step on them).   I use them the traditional way -- encouraging kids to step on them -- and I mix it up and use them in ways that are certainly unintended but definitely beneficial for child development!  I also have a set of Flip Flop Faces that get thrown in the mix of stepping stones too!


How I use stepping stones in therapy:

 

The Stepping Stones come in a set of 6 and can be used in a million ways to create all kinds of great gross motor activities.  Here are some ideas:

-You can space them out to create a path that your child can walk on through their very own “garden”.  If your child is smaller, be sure to put them closer together to make it easier to get from stone to stone.  Place your garden objects randomly on the ground along this path and have your child try to pick them up as she goes! The challenge for the child is to stay on those stepping stones as she walks and as she squats down to pick up the objects.  When I do this in therapy sessions, I tell the kids to pretend that there is a river that they are trying to cross.  If they fall off, their feet will get all wet!  Every child LOVES this challenge!



-Walk without shoes to make this a bit easier — greater proprioceptive input!  :)

-If walking across the path is too difficult for your child, have the child try standing on two stones — one foot on each.  Just balancing here may be difficult enough to start!  When that gets easier, try playing catch with him while he’s balancing on his two stones!

-Space the stones even farther apart for a greater challenge or put them in a curvy line instead of straight.

-Place objects between the stones that your child would have to step over before getting to the next stone for an added dose of motor planning, balance, and coordination practice.

-These stones are numbered so mix up the numbers and ask your child to hand you 5 flowers or 3 sticks…whatever corresponds to the numbered stone they are standing on.

-Need some friendly competition and have a few kiddos around?  Have each child try to stand on one foot on a stone.  Who can do this the longest without falling off?

-Need a creative way to use stepping stones without really stepping on them?   Your kiddos can use them as bowls to catch a tossed beanbag or walk with them on their head to encourage good posture!

Your child will probably come up with a few ways of her own to play with these super fun “stones”.  If so, please let us know what they are…we may be able to add them to the tricks in our therapy bag!  :)



Connect with The Inspired Treehouse:

Website: www.theinspiredtreehouse.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/inspired.treehouse
Instagram: www.instagram.com/insptreehouse
Twitter: www.twitter.com/inspiredtree
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/inspiredtreehou/
Google+: www.plus.google.com/u/0/+Theinspiredtreehouse/posts


Be sure to check out all of the other great posts in this series to find out what must-have items therapists have in their therapy bags.

Do you have an item in your therapy bag that you'd like to share? I'd love for you to share it in an upcoming post! Just send me an email, AbbyPediatricOT {at} gmail {dot} com for more information. Open to all therapists! You don't have to be a blogger to participate!

Monday, November 17, 2014

OT Approved Toy | Mega Bloks

I LOVE building toys! They are great for pretend play, as well as for developing fine motor skills. I especially like Mega Bloks because the size and ease of connecting the blocks is great for a first building block set. I use these when babies are first learning the concept of pulling apart and pushing together. They are also great for practicing releasing objects into a container. As kids get older, you can sort by size or color for more educational activities.

 
Best for ages: 1 - 4 years


Skills addressed: 

  • fine motor
  • grasping/releasing
  • bilateral coordination 
  • pretend play 
  • eye hand coordination

 

If your kids are a bit older:

I recommend Lego Duplo Blocks for ages 3 -5 and traditional Lego Blocks for ages 5 and up.

Where to buy:

Mega Bloks can an typically be found anywhere that toys are sold. You can also find a wide selection on Amazon.



For more OT Approved Toys, be sure to stop by my Toy Page.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. Links to Amazon are affiliate links

Friday, November 14, 2014

OT Approved Toy | Play-Doh

I LOVE Play-Doh! I use Play-Doh nearly every day in my therapy sessions because I'm able to address so many different skills with it. Oh, and the kids love it, too! The original Play-Doh comes in a variety of colors, or you can make your own! I personally like to make my own so I can customize the color and even the scent for an extra sensory component. Once you have your Play-Doh, then the fun begins! Grab a few things from your kitchen and start playing! A rolling pin, some cookie cutters, and even toothpicks are a great place to start! OT's also love to use Play-Doh to teach scissor skills. For even more ideas, this post is full of homemade playdough recipes and lots of fun activities.

 
Best for ages: 2 - 6 years


Skills addressed: 

  • fine motor
  • hand strength
  • grasping
  • bilateral coordination 
  • sensory exploration
  • pretend play

 

Where to buy:

Play-doh can an typically be found anywhere that toys are sold. You can also find a wide selection of colors and accessories on Amazon. Or, you can go with my personal favorite, and make your own!


For more OT Approved Toys, be sure to stop by my Toy Page.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. Links to Amazon are affiliate links

Thursday, November 13, 2014

OT Approved Toy | 12 piece puzzle

I LOVE these 12-piece puzzles from Melissa and Doug! They are a great way to introduce interlocking puzzles to preschool age kids. Twelve pieces seems to be just the right number for it to be a challenge, but not too much of a challenge. In the OT world we call that the just-right fit. I have this set of vehicle puzzles, and they are a hit among boys and girls. Another thing that I really like about these puzzles is that the back of the puzzle pieces are labeled with a shape. It helps keep the puzzles organized, and also adds another educational factor: sorting!

 
Best for ages: 3-6 years

Skills addressed: 

  • fine motor
  • hand eye coordination
  • visual perceptual
  • sorting
  • matching

 

Where to buy:

Michaels carries Melissa and Doug products and they frequently have 40% off coupons available on their website! That's how I purchased mine! Michaels in-store selection can be better than their online, but it really varies by location. You can also find a wide selection of 12-piece puzzles by Melissa and Doug on Amazon.

For younger kids interested in puzzles, smaller peg puzzles are great for 2-3 year-olds developing a pincer grasp, and larger knob puzzles make a great first puzzle for babies!


For more OT Approved Toys, be sure to stop by my Toy Page.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. Links to Amazon are affiliate links

You might also enjoy: