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 9, 2015

Rush Hour Safari

Work on manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, spatial relations, critical and analytical thinking, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 1 green base, 1 green jeep, 18 assorted safari animal figures, 50 challenge cards
Ages 8+

A popular game for working on visual perceptual skills, Safari Rush Hour has all the fun of the classic Rush Hour puzzle game, but it's for wild animal lovers. To start, choose a challenge card and place the animals on the grid so that they match the set up on the card. Puzzles start at a beginners level and advance in difficulty with each new challenge. The more difficult the puzzle, the more cars you add to the grid and the more moves it will take to solve it. Move the animals top to bottom, bottom to top, left to right, and right to left (depending on the track they are on) to clear a path for the green jeep to drive off the grid. The cutout on the side is double because the jeep is on a 2X2 square. There are a couple of ways this version differs from the original version. First, the jeep swivels. For instance, you can move the jeep top to bottom, stop to swivel the jeep so it is facing left or right, and then move the jeep side to side. In addition, there is an animal piece that is also on a 2X2 square and can move both north to south and east to west. Otherwise, animals must stay on the path they are on when the puzzle is set up. An error in setting up the grid may result in an unworkable puzzle. The answers to the puzzles are on the back of the cards. Also available are Rush Hour Railroad, Rush Hour Junior, and the original Rush Hour Traffic Jam.
Try this:
  • Make a game out of just setting up the animals, following the pattern cards, if the puzzles will be too difficult to complete.
  • Complete the first couple of moves to get the person started and model how to play.
  • Work backwards. Do all but the last move, then do all but the last two moves, then do all but the last three moves, etc. Let the individual finish the puzzle in each instance, making it more difficult as you go.
  • Complete a challenge as the individual looks on. Talk out loud as you problem solve to help the person learn. Then ask him to complete the same challenge.
  • Choose a challenge card and have the individual set up the board. Read the answer, step-by-step, from the back and have the individual follow your directions to complete the puzzle. For instance, in the example card above, move the A car to the left 2 spaces. Then move the D car up 2 spaces. And on until you complete the puzzle. Good for working on left-right.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below to go to Amazon.com

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