Inside you’ll find: the best occupational therapy games you can do with traditional board games!
When your child has special needs, you try and use EVERY moment as a way to help them overcome and grow. If your child struggles with hand strength, bilateral coordination, sensory input, visual discernment, or other fine motor issues, these games will make “therapy” FUN again!
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Board Games for Occupational Therapy…
Pop The Pig Ok, this game is so funny and ridiculous! The pig is a bit like a jack-in-the-box. After rolling the die, the player feeds the pig a hamburger with a number on the underside. The child must then push the head of the pig as many times as is indicated on the hamburger. With each push, the belly grows bigger and bigger and eventually his chief jacket pops wide open! The best part is that muscle strength and control it takes to push down the pig’s head. Even I have to use to arms, hand over hand. Your child will be getting bilateral coordination, even core strengthening and proprioception!
Whac-A-Mole Stack-A-Mole If you’re child likes to whack things, they’ll love this game! Each player is given a hammer/gavel type tool. In front of them is a large assortment of colored cups that fit perfectly within the gavel. They’re given a card with colored circles on it. They then have to whack/stack the cups in the same order as it appears on their card. This is a great game for visual discrimination and hand eye coordination.
Froggy Feeding Fun This game is a snap to learn. Roll both dice to see how many, and what color “flies” the frog has to capture with this mouth. The genius is in the frog itself. The child must place their thumb and index finger on the cheeks of the frog and SQUEEZE to make the frog’s mouth open wide enough to grab the flies. Then the same action is required to spit the flies out. This game makes my kids giggle every time, all the while clueless that their doing their hand strengthening exercises for the day!
Spot It! Junior Seems like it would be an easy game, especially as an adult. But it is QUITE challenging! Players flip over two cards that have multiple objects on each, but only one matching object will be shared between the two cards. The first player to figure out which object that is, gets a point. It provides some great visual perceptions activities!
Feed the Woozle is a super hilarious game! After rolling the die and the spinner, the child has to feed a certain amount of ridiculous snack to the woozle while doing certain movements to get there. It’s fine motor AND gross motor learning, and my boys just LOVE it! There’s also the benefit of mid range control practice as the child balances the “snacks” on the spoon as they cross the room.
Looking for the BEST toys to promote a healthy sensory system??? Check out the ultimate list of sensory toys for every need!
Don’t Break the Ice has been around for quite awhile. I remember playing it as a kid! Small “ice” blocks are wedged into frame and the child must tap out a singular block without making the whole surface crash down. If your child struggles with proprioception, chances are they also struggle to put the right amount of force into a task. This game is a perfect way to practice hitting things JUST hard enough.
Suspend is a game of balance and control. Players have to add metal rods to a teetering structure in such a way to avoid toppling the whole thing. While the game is recommended for folks 8 years old and up, there are many ways to adapt the game for the younger crowd so they can still get the full benefit of this fine motor skills game. As an added bonus, they’ll be learning practical engineering and physics!
Stack Up! is perfect for the younger crowd and has an element of silliness! There are three ways to play so that even a child as young as TWO can play! Players work together to build a stack before the “hand” makes it around the board to smash it down. The youngest players just use their hands to build the tower, while more advanced children use the stacker sticks. The blocks have holes in the sides for the stacker stick pegs to be inserted into. And for the hardest level of play, flip the stacker sticks around and just use the “marshmallow” ends (as my boys call them.) There are challenge cards that add to the craziness, making things even more exciting. While there is a lot of fine and gross motor learning (because of the challenge cards), my favorite part of this game is how both hands have to work together to stack the blocks, providing excellent bilateral coordination practice. A BIG thanks to Peaceable Kingdoms for providing this game for review!
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