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.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Scram Blitz

In the tin: 6 playing mats, 6 sets of 16 pattern tiles, 50 puzzle cards
Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, visual form constancy, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, executive functions, process skills, social interaction skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

Recreate the pattern from the puzzle card onto your playing mat using your set of small pattern tiles.  Puzzle cards increase in difficulty with the lower level cards having more black and white boxes and the higher level puzzle cards having more patterned tiles. Each set of pattern tiles has a small symbol cut out in the middle so that they can be sorted quickly.  There are 6 sets of tiles so that 6 people can play. Each tile has a pattern printed on the front and is either all black or all white on the back. There are 2 of each pattern - one with a white back and one with a black back. Therefore, when a pattern is pictured on the puzzle card, you will have to choose between the two which one to use.  Match the pattern pieces first. The ones that are left are the black and white. Match them. This is where the not-too-much-strategy-involved part comes in. If you don't have the right number of say black tiles left, trade some of the white for black by looking at the pattern on a white tile and trading it for the pattern tile already on the playing mat (which has the black side). It's a simple switch. The game description says to play to see who has the fastest fingers.  I don't usually play for speed, so will use with individuals who are working on pattern matching and spatial orientation. Out of the 8 different patterns, only 4 have to be turned to match orientation. The other 4 are not directional and are the same no matter how you place them (example circle). The lid on the tin is loose fitting and will need a rubber band to stay put unless you are carrying it flat. Nothing ever stays flat in my cart! 

Try this:
  • Hold several tile cards in the non-dominant hand and push them off one at a time with the thumb.
  • Turn all the tiles to the correct side before starting a puzzle and work on matching.
  • Place all the tiles on the table. Point to one box on the pattern card and have the individual find the correct tile in the mix and then place on the playing mat.
  • Cover all but the line you are working on to eliminate distraction.
  • Give the individual coordinates to cover, such as A1 or C5. 
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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