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.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monster Match

In the box: 36 monster cards, 1 marble shaker

Work on visual discrimination, manual dexterity, spatial relations, in-hand manipulation, visual memory, socialization skills, executive functioning skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

Shake up the marble shaker and place it on the table top for all to see. Lay all the cards on the table, picture side up as shown above.  Everyone quickly looks over the cards to see who can find the monster card with the pattern in his belly that exactly matches the pattern in the marble shaker. The person who finds it first takes the card. Shake the shaker and go again. First person to collect five cards, wins. 

Try this:
  • Ask the child to hold several cards in a stack in the non-dominant hand, push them off, one at a time, with the thumb to lay them on the table top or to sort through them for the step below.  
  • Use the process of elimination - find a specific aspect of the marbles that you will check for, such as 3 blue marbles together along the edge (see above photo). Then flip through the cards and make two piles - one pile with three blue marbles along the edge, and one pile without the blue marbles in that position.  Now all you have to do is go through the few cards that matched the three blue marbles to find the one that exactly matches the marble shaker.
  • Make the marble pattern for the process of elimination easier to remember by simple looking for the color of the one marble in the middle. Scan the line of cards and only stop to check on cards with the same color marble in the middle.
  • Show the shaker, everyone memorizes the pattern, then hide the shaker while looking for the match.

    Allow the individual to turn the shaker or the card so that the orientations match if they need. For a more complicated game, don't let cards or the shaker to be turned. Matches will have to be recognized in different orientations.

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