The first toy I decided to review called the Catch and Count Fishing Game by Melissa and Doug. It’s great because it can be used in so many different ways that target all kinds of skills, which is something I absolutely LOVE as an OT practitioner.
The game comes with a set of 10 magnetic fish, of different colors and numbers which can be used for matching, counting, sorting…the possibilities are endless! Along with the fish, there are two fishing rods with magnets on the end to pick up the fish. It also comes with a spinner to make the game even more interactive. As I played the game, I started to think about all of the skills it could target, depending on how you decide to play. The skills I came up with are as follows:
- Bilateral integration– using both sides of the body at the same time.
- Crossing midline– reaching across the opposite side of the body (an important foundational skill)
- Gross motor coordination– coordinating large muscle groups (core, shoulders, hips, arms, legs)
- Fine motor coordination– coordinating smaller muscle groups (wrists, hands, fingers)
- Proprioception– gauging appropriate amount of force needed to complete a task
- Visual perceptual skills– taking in visual information and making sense of it
- Visual motor skills– using eyes and body simultaneously to complete a task
- Interpersonal skills– turn-taking, social cues, good sportsmanship
- Executive function– higher level cognitive processes including memory, attention, planning
If the game is too difficult, it can be graded down: Instead of using the fishing poles, you can simply use your hands instead to put the fish in a bag or bucket.
If you want to add a challenge because it’s too easy, you can lay on top of a wedge or a ball, or stand on a dynamic surface like a bosu ball, which promotes core strength and balance.
If you’re interested in purchasing this game to try with your kids, clients, or students, I found it here.