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Last week, we shared 25 Occupational and Physical Therapy supplies to start the year right – our favorite toys and games to facilitate gross motor, fine motor, and sensory motor play with kids.
While this list was geared toward therapists, anyone can grab an item off of this list and play in a way that will encourage developmental skills!
As a new grad working in pediatrics, one of the first games I realized kids couldn’t resist was the Lucky Ducks Game. A modern twist on the game of memory, Lucky Ducks reinforces developmental skills like matching and memory, but, as I quickly learned, it is VERY motivating and it can be used to encourage just about any kind of skill you can think of.
7 Ways to Play with the Lucky Ducks Game
Put the duck pond on the top of the stairs and the duckies on the bottom. Instruct the child to squat down, pick one duck up off the floor, and take it up the stairs to place it in the duck pond.
As more of a challenge, the child could pick up two ducks, one in each hand and navigate the stairs without railing support.
BONUS — when the whole duck pond is full, the child can push the red button and hear all the ducks quack with joy!
2 || Create an obstacle course and put the duck pond at the end of the course.
Instruct the child that they need to navigate through the obstacles by climbing, jumping, crawling, hopping, etc. – carrying their duck all the way through to the pond on the other side.
3 || Play hide and seek with the ducks to work on visual tracking and mobility.
As the child closes or covers his/her eyes, place the ducks in plain sight around the room in various locations (on the ground, on a table, on a high shelf). Once the ducks are “hidden”, invite the child to open his eyes and find the ducks.
To work more on mobility skills, instruct the child to find one duck at a time and return it to the duck pond. To work on holding and carrying multiple objects while navigating the environment, encourage the child to find multiple ducks before returning them to the duck pond.
4 || Make it a gross motor game.
Write movement suggestions/exercises on the bottom of each duck. Some of my favorites are: walk like ducks, arm circles, gallop, skip, hop on one foot, balance, march, clap, and give yourself a hug. Have the child pick a duck and complete the movement before placing it back in the pond.
5 || Have the child play with the ducks and duck pond in sitting, quadruped, or ½ kneeling.
They can reach for and grab one duck at a time from you (while crossing the midline, reaching high or low) and place them in the pond as they work on their balance and strength.
6 || Find the ducks on the climbing wall.
Do you have access to a climbing wall? They are fantastic for motor planning, strength, balance, visual scanning, and coordination.
Place the ducks on the various holds on the climbing wall. Encourage the child to “rescue” one duck at a time off the wall and place them in the duck pond on the floor.
7 || Practice number and color recognition.
Of course, you can always play Lucky Ducks as the game was intended and practice number and color recognition. You can do this while playing all of the above mentioned ways or by simply playing the game as it was designed.