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.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

I SPY Quest

Work on visual memory, visual discrimination, visual form constancy, figure ground, spatial relations, grasp, separation of hand, manual dexterity
In the box: Game tray, 2 double-sided picture boards, 1 sheet with rhymes, 36 pawns
Ages 4+, 1+ players
A memory game similar to Husker Du - pick up two pawns and make a match. The paired pictures are not exactly the same so I SPY Quest offers a good opportunity to work on visual form constancy. The pictures may be fairly similar, like the same dog just different colors, or they may be quite different, such as a hand drawn pumpkin and a picture of the jack-o-lantern trick-or-treat bucket. To set up the game, place one of the picture boards in the game tray and place a plastic pawn on top of each circle. To play, pick two pawns and see if the pictures match. If they do, keep the pawns and go again. If they don't replace the pawns onto the circles and your turn is over. Once all the matches have been made, there will be a riddle to solve. The games are numbered 1-16 on the picture boards so that if you play them in order and you will not repeat any.

Check out more fun figure ground games at I SPY Games.

Try this:
  • Cue the person at the beginning to look at the picture with the intention to remember what and where they are.
  • Place the picture board in the tray and two by two, place the pawns on the matching pairs to instruct how to look for matching pairs that may look different. Once they are all covered, play a game the regular way.
  • Place a piece in the palm and ask the player to move it to the fingertips and turn it in-hand to place on the board when setting up.
  • Start with only a few sets covered if there are too many for the individual to remember. Add one set back at a time as his memory improves.
  • When putting the game away, pick up the pawns one at a time and squirrel them in the palm. How many can you pick up without dropping any?
For more information, click on the image below.

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