Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Clue - North Pole Holiday Edition

Clue North Pole - Which elf at the North Pole stole the presents on Christmas Eve? 
This Clue holiday game is a miniature Christmas treat from the makers of the classic Clue game. This North Pole Edition Game is a race to see who can identify the thief who stole Santa's bag of toys. Six elves are under suspicion and time is of the essence. Will you be the first to solve this holiday caper?

If you have never played Clue before, it is a board game that uses elimination and deduction to solve a crime. Three questions need to be answered in each game:
  • Who did it?
  • With which item?
  • Where?
I say miniature game because almost everything is a little smaller than usual. The game board is made from card stock, measures 11 3/16" x 9 7/8" and folds into six squares to fit into the small, impractical but festive packaging. The detective note pad is smaller and so are the suspect cards, which must be punched out before playing.

Some "dis-assembly" required.
The only things that are "regular" Clue size are the pawns and the items. The choice of items that the thief uses are scarf, bells, candy cane, hammer, fruitcake and rolling pin. Fortunately we don't have to figure out the "why" of it. The "where" will be in one of these locations: toy shop, bakery, wrapping station, bookshop, candy works, reindeer stable or Santa's den. 

Christmas is almost here and Santa is wondering if he will get his packages back in time for his Christmas Eve run. There's no time like the "present", so let's get to it and solve this case!

Be the first player to solve the crime - who, with what and where.

Set up:
Open the board. Place one item randomly in each room. Shuffle the cards by category (elves, items and location) and place them face-down on the table. Choose one from each category without looking at them and set them aside. This is the combination that you will be working to identify (who committed the crime, with what and where). Tear off and give each player one sheet from the detective's note pad. Now combine the remaining cards, shuffle them and deal them to the players. As you look at your cards, you know for a fact that none of them were involved in the crime. Make checks on your detective sheet next to each thing you got on your cards. You have started the process of elimination. When you have eliminated all but one in each category, you will have the answer! Never let other players see your detective sheet. Players each choose a pawn.

Players take turns. Roll the dice and move that many spaces toward a room on the board, or you can just stay in a room if you are already in one. If you reach a room or are in a room, you may make a suggestion. A suggestion consists of one elf, one location and one item, by name. For instance you might say "I think Hollysprig did it in the toy workshop with a fruitcake". When you make a suggestion you are naming things that you hoave not checked off on your detective sheet so that you can eliminate them (check them off). At times you may add something that you have that you want others to think you don't have. Your goal is to eliminate all but one from each category, thereby solving the crime. 

When you make a suggestion, the person on your left must secretly show you a card in their hand that shows one of the things that you mentioned. If they do not have one, the next person must show you one. By this method you eliminate things on your detective sheet one at a time. If a player can show you a card, you know it is not one of the three cards that are sitting face-down on the table and you put a check by it on your detective sheet. 

You can make an accusation immediately after asking for information, you do not need to go to the exact room or leave the room and come back in to do so. In the original Clue game you must leave a room and go back in or to another room each time you make a suggestion. Then you must go to the room where you think the crime was committed before you can accuse. With the new rules of this game the play time will be shorter, but why bother to move around the board, just park yourself in one room and stay there. I think I will play with the original rules. However, you can only make one accusation per game, so be sure. If you are wrong, you lost.

If you would like to see more Christmas games that I have blogged about, click here.

In the box: Game board, 2 dice, 6 pawns, 19 cards, 6 items, detective notepad

If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Christmas Picture By Number

Sticker By Number - Use mosaic shaped stickers to make holiday pictures.
I have been using Sticker By Number books for awhile and I quite like them. As a matter of fact, I have previously blogged about this item with nature themes but did not have the Christmas book at the time. This activity is so well liked by my kids that I decided to order this holiday book too. 

Since I have blogged about this book before, I will direct you to that post for all the specifics. The only difference in this book from those is the theme. To read my post about Sticker By Number books, click here. To get an idea of what is included in this book, see the image below.

Left: Four of the 28 pictures in the book.    Right: A dove picture before and after, plus the page of stickers.

If you would like to see more Christmas games I have blogged about, click here.

If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.