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, January 29, 2015

Pass the Pigs

Work on palmar arch development, precise fine motor control, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, spatial relations, social skills, play exploration and participation

 In the box: 2 small pigs, a score pad, 2 pencils, scoring guide, carrying case
Most kids are quickly engaged by the tiny pigs in this fast-moving game. The goal is to have the highest score after 10 rounds. Each person gets one throw and that is a round. 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. Model the cupping position and how to shake the pigs before starting to play - fingers squeezed together, making a rounded cup in the palm. 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. I constantly monitor this. To play, cup your hand(s), shake the two pigs, and throw them onto the table.  The positions the pigs land in will determine your score. The positions and scores are illustrated on the small green card. For instance, if one lands on his side, a sider, it's worth 1 point.  If a pig lands on his feet, a trotter, it's worth 5 points. If both pigs land on their feet you get a double bonus, 20 points total. A double snouter is worth 40 points, but hard to get! Some of the positions will also result in lost points. Add your score as you go, and after ten throws the highest scorer wins. Keeping score on the score pad will require very small writing.
Try this:
  • Cup both hands and place them together on top of each other, then shake.
  • Keep the hand in a cupped shape just a little longer by counting to 10 before the pigs can be thrown or listening/watching a few seconds as the pigs "dance".
  • Keep throwing the pigs as long as you dare, adding or subtracting from your score with each throw.  Throw a "Pig Out" or "Oinker" and you will wish you had quit sooner.
  • Ask the individual to position the two pigs in each scenario on the score card. Put both pigs into the palm of the dominant hand and ask the player to bring the pigs, one at a time, to the fingertips and orient before placing on the table top.
  • Use the opportunity to practice small writing and mental math. Use a large sheet of paper if the score sheet is too small.
 If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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