Top 5 Occupational Therapist Approved Family Games

Project Play Therapy’s favorite family games that strengthen pediatric occupational therapy skills

What better way to reinforce what your child is learning in pediatric occupational therapy than through a family game night? Project Play occupational therapists have put together a list of our top 5 favorite family games you have at home! These games help children strengthen skills such as fine motor, visual motor, motor planning, dexterity, core strength, balance, focus, attention and much more. Pick up one of these games after dinner and sneak some entertaining therapy practice into your day!

1. Spot It

This enjoyable game for any age is comprised of cards with pictures of childhood toys and animals. Between any two cards there is only one matching picture. There are five different ways to play this quick game keeping it fresh and exciting for every member of the family! Occupational therapy skills such as visual motor skills, fine motor skills, motor planning, coordination of both hands, dexterity, focus, attention, and concentration are all practiced when playing Spot It.

2. Twister

Twister supplements occupational therapy at home for many reasons! Primarily, your kiddo won’t even realize they are practicing therapy skills! Twister teaches discrimination between left and right, motor planning, crossing the midline, core strength and balance! There are many ways to modify the game to target other skills as well.

3. Jenga

This classic family game becomes incredibly interactive with just a few modifications! Write different actions on each Jenga piece such as crab walk, hop like a bunny, do 5 push ups or leap frog jump to target a multitude of occupational therapy skills. Based on the action items you write on the Jenga pieces skills such as gross motor and fine motor, motor planning, balance, coordination, muscle tone and much more are strengthened!

4. Operation

Another great family game is Operation! Players use a small tweezer to pull “organs” out of a pretend surgery patient. The goal is to extract the organs without touching the patient’s body and setting off the buzzer. As a result, kids are excited about precise fine motor movements when playing Operation! Partners cheer each other on to hone visual discrimination skills and pincer grasping. Additional skills targeted are dexterity, thumb positioning, hand-eye coordination, and social interaction.

Yet another perk to operation is that the game has many different versions! Spongebob, Finding Nemo, Shrek, Minions, and Trolls to name a few. Parents can pick the best version to pique their kiddos interest. 

5. Connect 4

Connect 4 is a game that requires two players to drop small colored pieces into the top of the upright board. The goal is for one player to get 4 pieces in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Fine motor skills, crossing the midline and in-hand manipulation are used to pick up and drop in the game pieces. In addition, players plan and watch where their pieces are in relation to others which engages visual-motor planning and attention!

Any games you think we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!