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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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Teddy Mix & Match

In the box: 24 large bear shaped cards, 12 sets in all
Work on visual discrimination, visual memory, figure ground, spatial relations, manual dexterity, turn taking, play exploration and participation, social interaction
What child doesn't like a cute teddy bear? They even appeal to grown ups like me!  I like this memory game because the pieces are large, colorful, and a subject most kids are familiar with. The cards have a little thickness to them, so they are easier to turn than flat cards. This is a Ravensburger game, a name I associate with quality and durability, and they have lasted me a long time. Lots of different bear outfits and representations including a baby bear wearing pajamas, a panda with bamboo, a polar bear with an ice cream cone, a brown chocolate bear, a green gummy bear, a tan cookie bear, a fluffy teddy bear, a bear with a honey pot, a bear wearing blue overalls, a bear with tan overalls, and a bear wearing jeans and a sweater. 
Try this:
  • Lay one card from each set in the middle of the table. The other cards won't be used.  Ask positional questions such as 'which bear is next to the panda bear' and 'which bear is under the pajama bear'. If the child does not understand what the pajama bear is, show him the match to the pajama bear card so he knows what he is looking for.
  • Lay one card from each set in the middle of the table. Produce one of the remaining cards and ask the child to find the match.  Do this one at a time until all are matched. Start with fewer cards for an easier game and add them back in gradually for a more difficult game. 
  • Ask the child to flip and pick up each card where it is, not pull it to the edge of the table to turn.
  • Start slow when teaching the memory game to a beginner.  Only line up two sets of cards to turn over and match. When that is mastered add three, then four sets, etc.
  • Turn all 24 cards face-up on the table, then find and pick them up by matches.
  • Talk about the bear's outfits - where they might be going or what they might be doing dressed as they are.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the Amazon image below to go to Amazon.com.


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