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!

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Never Forget A Face

Work on visual memory, visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations/position in space, visual closure, eye-hand coordination, visual scanning, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, executive functions, crossing midline, play and leisure activity exploration and participation, social interaction and participation
In the box: 24 matching sets (48 cards)
Match the smiling faces of children from around the world with this multi-cultural matching game. The 2 1/4 inch square pieces are 1/8 inch thick, and therefore are easier to flip than flat cards. This is an advantage for beginners who are learning to turn a piece over without pulling it to the side of the table. Almost all of the kids are smiling, so this is not a game that could be used when teaching kids to recognize different facial expressions. The cards are made from recycled, laminated board and printed with soy-based ink. The countries of origins are printed on the back of the box. 
Try this:
  • Choose a single card, talk about several specific features on the child pictured (colors, accessories, clothing, etc.), then turn the card over and see how many details can be remembered.
  • Line up one card from each set on the table.  Give clues to a certain picture and let the individual locate that card.  For instance - I am looking at a person with brown hair who is wearing a yellow shirt and a white hat. 
  • Mix all the cards in the middle of the table. Working at the same time, have 2 individuals pick up matching sets as fast as possible. See who can get the most. Or time the individual to see how long one person can find them all. The do it again and try to beat the time.
  •  Turn all the cards picture side up to make it a simpler version of matching without the memory component.
  • Start with fewer sets for beginners. Add in a few new sets at a time until you work your way up to a game using all the cards.
  • Turn six different cards face up on the table. Turn the rest of the cards face down. Take turns turning over one card. If you made a match to one of the cards turned face up, take it and place the set next to you. Try to remember which cards have been turned up and are not matches to avoid turning them over again. When the last match is made, the person with the most pairs wins.
  • Turn one card from each set face up on the table. Ask questions such as 1) how many candies have green in them, 2) how many kids have red hair, 3) how many cards show animals.
  • Separate out one card from each set and lay them face-up on the table. Stack the remaining cards and, one at a time, scan the face-up cards to find its match on the grid you created on the table.
  • Ask the individual to flip the card in place, not pull to the side of the table to pick up.
  • Empty the cards on the table. Ask the individual to place all the cards face-down in preparation for play. Pick each card up and, if necessary, turn it in-hand to orient it for placement instead of turning to orient it on the tabletop.
  • Put the cards away at the end by picking up one card and stacking it on top of another, pick up both cards and stack them on top of another, pick up all three cards and stack them on top of another, etc. How many cards can the individual stack and hold without dropping?
  • Create the grid for play by picking up a stack of cards in the non-dominant hand and, one at a time, push the top card off with the thumb for placement.
  • Play alone to improve memory and concentration. Count how many turns it takes you to complete the game. Play again and try to beat that score.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below to go to Amazon.com

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