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.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pass The Pigs Party Edition

Work on spatial relations, visual discrimination, visual memory, visual form constancy, precise fine motor control, manual dexterity, palmar arch development, in-hand manipulation, play and leisure exploration and participation, social interaction skills, process skills

In the box: 8 colorful pigs, 20 challenge cards, 8 points cards, carrying case
Whether you are playing for points, or just throwing pigs to match the challenge cards, this game is fun.  Small brightly colored pigs dancing in your hand is just the incentive you need to entice kids to practice cupping the hand to help strengthen the arches.  I have used Pass the Pigs and Tip the Cows in therapy for years, but this version adds a new dimension - challenge cards!  An even better option for those who have difficulty looking at what they threw and scanning a score card for the match. Everyone throws their pigs over and over until someone matches the card.  The winner can either take the card and the one with the most cards at the end wins, or points can be awarded and the one with the most points wins.  Challenges increase in difficulty but it is still up to chance what you throw.  Siders come up the most often and are easy to get, but snouters only come along, well... when pigs fly! 

Try this:
  • Shape the palm before shaking the pigs by putting a small ball or round object in the individual's hand and forming the hand around it. Remove the ball and drop the pigs in. Often the child will just squeeze the pigs tight in the hand and shake the hand, thinking the pigs are moving around when they are not. The next turn, cup the other hand and throw.
  • Keep the hand in the cupped position longer as the child shakes the pigs by asking the child to count to 10 before throwing so you can watch the pigs "dance".
  • Add 2 more pigs to your hand if it is taking awhile to throw the pictured combination. Double your chances!
  • Put one pig in each hand and shake and throw simultaneously.
  • Lay a challenge card in front of the person and put the required number of pigs in their palm.  Ask them to match the pigs on the card by moving the pigs, one at a time, from the palm to the fingertips and rotating them into the correct positions without dropping. 
  • Require that both pigs are thrown together, or allow the person to keep one pig that is a match and re-throw the other until both are matched.
  • Show the individual a challenge card and ask him to look at it to remember. Turn the card over and ask him to place the two pigs in the position he saw on the card.
  • Choose a card and then place two pigs on the table top to match. Put them in different orientations than on the card. Lay out several cards and ask the individual to choose the card that matches the pig's positions.
  • Choose a card with a single pig or two pigs doing the same thing. Ask the individual to place all 8 pigs on the table top in that position. Have them move the pigs from the palm to the fingertips to place.
  • Put the game away by picking up the pigs, one at a time, and squirreling them into the palm. Can they hold all 8 without dropping?
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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