Games and Toys – A Therapy Technique

Part of my mission was to have less therapy.  Therapy was important; however I never saw it as a cure.  I wanted for my Mel to have normal childhood experiences and thus she needed to not be in the sterile world of a clinic.  She needed to be doing the things other kids were doing.

Games were one of the tools I sought.  I was constantly on the lookout for cool interactive games.  Games that were fun and had purpose.  Games that taught skills yet also were not just educational.  Learning comes from fun, interactive life experiences.

We have a game closet.  My kids did not get Televisions in their rooms until Coleman was in high school.  One TV in the entire house.  The purpose was for the kids to interact.  Interactions are needed to build social skills and social skills are the key to relationships.  Is not this world,  all about relationships?  What gets you connected?  Who teaches? How do you meet that certain person who is going to help you be you?

We also had no screen mornings. They were always times in the week when dad was not home as he was a screen junky.  I kind of miss those days.  How things change as kids get older. I can still keep the TV off some mornings but we now are a typical american family with 3 TVs and lots of gaming screens.

One of my main focuses with Mel was the potential for a NonVerbal Learning Disorder.

A nonverbal learning disorder or nonverbal learning disability (NLD or NVLD) is a condition characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and lower motor, visuo-spatial, and social skills on an IQ test.  NLD involves deficits in perception, coordination, socialization, non-verbal problem-solving and understanding of humor, along with well-developed rote memory – yes I’m quoting Wikipedia. I’ll post later on this topic…

So what games did I get and why-See below

Games to develop her hands.

I sought any game that required her to use her hand in a refined way

I saw lots of tongs in therapy so tong games were high on the list.

a)      Hasbro Scatterpillar Scramble

b)      Bed-Bugs

c)       Wok and Roll

d)      Operation

e)      Ravensburger Jolly Octopus

Pressure Control  She needed to use a soft touch

a)      Topple-Game

b)      Pick-Up Sticks, Melissa & Doug

c)       Don’t Spill the Beans, Milton Bradley

d)      Don’t Break the Ice, Milton Bradley

e)      Wood Labyrinth

Other hand games

  1. Ants in the Pants, Milton Bradley
  2. Chopsticks retro game
  3. Jumbo Jacks
  4. Klutz cats cradle
  5. Tiddlywinks

Games that required her to think about spatial concept

  1. Klutz cats cradle
  2. How to Make Paper Airplanes
  3. Clay Mania
  4. Sequence for Kids
  5. geosavanna wooden magnets
  6. Tridio Twist
  7. Acuity
  8. Rush Hour
  9. Hoppers
  10. Origami for Kids
  11. Lego’s with objects to build
  12. Puzzles – at 16 Mel continues to enjoy 25 piece puzzles so I have become the queen of sorting. I sort out parts of larger puzzles like a barn or an animal and give those to her to put together.  I do the edges and she fills in the rest.

Games to develop her eye hand skills ie make her hand and eyes work together

  1. Mr. Mouth,Hasboro
  2. Wack A Mole
  3. Wood labyrinth
  4. Jumbo Jacks
  5. Mighty Motors Bead Maze
  6. Tether Ball
  7. Juggling for Beginners
  8. Height Adjustable Wide Mouth Disk to allow disc golf in the back yard
  9. Suspended baseball for back yard bating that did not need me to fetch

Games that developed memory

  1. Ravensburger Enchanted Forest
  2. Whats in Neds Head
  3. Simon
  4. Stone Soup Board Game
  5. Boggle Jr.


Toys to get her moving. Kids develop eye skills by moving in space and thus any toy that allowed her to move was on my list.  Think about it.  Legs not so good and thus my Mel was moving less than other kids.  How does that impact learning?  In my mind, movement equaled learning and learning was needed for life.

  1. The Twist Car
  2. The Krazy Kar
  3. Back yard swing set that she could use to swing and spin
  4. Scooter Board

Some of my favorite places to get games and toys

What toys are in your closet?  Why?

Disclaimer – Mel did not like every toy and game I got.  However; I had two other kids.  Coleman and Shandra needed to learn so I can’t say I shopped just for Mel.  In fact this was one of my struggles.

Coleman and Shandra were very intelligent; straight As without much effort.  I heard that every time the brain is opened (shunt revision) IQ pints are lost.  How many points are lost?  I’m not sure.  Is this true?  I do not know.  But why was she struggling to make Bs and Cs when As came so easy for the others?



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