Tricky Tree is 3-Dimensional puzzle comprised of a sturdy green plastic tree base and “trunk” with “branches” sticking out of it at various intervals and directions on which players thread and stack six lightweight, orange and yellow plastic discs. For added visual interest and developmental skill growth, each disc has a facial expression on one side, and the flip side contains embossed basic shapes. A multitude of game options challenge and enhance a child’s development across multiple domains.
- Tricky Tree develops sense of directionality as player twists the discs right and left to fit them onto the tree.
- Tricky Tree develops problem solving skills as the player experiments with placing and twisting the discs onto the tree trunk to stack them.
- Tricky Tree offers opportunity to develop sorting and classification skills via the discs’ properties including colors, facial expressions, and embossed shapes.
- To foster sequencing and sorting skills, player will stack the discs by alternating colors. Players needing more of a challenge may stack and sort by alternating the two facial expressions.
- To develop problem solving skills, make the game into a race against time. Player will stack and unstack the tower as fast as they can. Players will get a boost in confidence as they continue to master this skill and improve their time.
- To develop sense of directionality, facilitator will ask player to verbalize which direction they are twisting the disc.
On the Tricky Tree’s base or play surface, write the letters “L” and “R” or “Left” and “Right” to assist player in learning direction while manipulating discs onto the Tree.
- Tricky Tree develops visual attention, tracking, and processing skills as the player observes the placement and rotation of the disc onto the tree trunk in order to stack it properly.
- Tricky Tree develops tactile discrimination skills as player feels the raised outlines on the discs in order to identify the shapes.
- Tricky Tree promotes the development of proprioceptive system by players reaching out with discs to the tree, improving body awareness.
- To develop tactile discrimination, child will close his or her eyes and try to identify the shapes on the back of the disk, using only their sense of touch.
- To enhance sensory play and creativity, child will immerse the bottom of the discs in finger paint to make “block print” paintings on paper, canvas or other flat surface. Children can then use finger paint to fill in the blank space within the circles created by the discs.
- To encourage two-handed play, play a game of heads or tails. Child will try to guess what side the disc will land on, Heads or shapes side. Child will then use two hands to spin the disc on its edge like a top. If this game is played with a partner keep tally of score.
- Using glue or puffy paint, trace the expressions on the discs to add tactile interest while the players are manipulating them.
- To dampen the sound of the discs falling onto the Tree’s platform or other discs beneath, attach felt or rubber furniture pads to four “corners” of the discs.
- Tricky Tree reinforces and strengthens cooperative hand movements as the player utilizes both hands to twist the discs onto the tree trunk.
- Tricky Tree promotes finger and hand control and dexterity as player grips and manipulates the discs onto and down the tree trunk.
- Tricky Tree facilitates arm reach and range of motion as player stands or sits a reasonable distance from the tree trunk for the proper leverage to manipulate rings.
- To promote hand-eye coordination, facilitator will set up the green tree base 10 feet in front of the player. Players will have two opportunities to role the discs as close to the green base, the player with the closet role wins!
- To develop unilateral strength and dexterity, child will cooperatively play with a partner working together to stack the disc’s using one hand.
- To improve hand-eye coordination, players will play a game of beanbag toss. With all 5 discs stacked and aligned with each other, players will attempt to toss bean bags through the disc hole.
- For players with hands too small to grip discs or weak grip, facilitator will hold the disc on the trunk while the player uses his / her hands to twist the discs, or eye gaze to indicate the direction the facilitator should move the disc.
Developmental Processes Promoted
- Eye-Hand Coordination
- Reaching & Arm Extension
- Two Handed Play
- Motor Planning
- Bilateral Coordination
- Visual Processing & Tracking
- Cause & Effect
- Problem Solving
- Sequential Thought Processing
- Spatial Relationships
- Age Range: