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.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spot It! Junior

Work on figure ground, attention, visual discrimination, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, shuffling and dealing cards, manual dexterity, spatial relations, visual form constancy, visual scanning, social skills, play exploration and participation

In the tin: 31 cards
Ages 4+, 1-6 players

The junior version of my favorite card game can be used with younger kids or as a teaching version. The Spot It! Junior version has only 31 cards per deck and only 6 pictures per card, as compared to the regular version which has 55 cards per deck and 8 pictures on each card. Between any 2 cards there is one, and only 1 match. The items are in different orientations and may be different sizes, but never differ in color. The first player to find the match calls out the picture, such as dog. What happens next depends on the game version you are playing.  
Here are the instructions for the five different ways to play:

  • The Tower - The object is to collect the most cards. One card is dealt face down to each player. The rest of the cards are put in a face-up pile within everyone's reach. Everyone plays at once to see who can be the first to find a match between his card and the one on the top of the pile. The first person to call out his match takes the card and adds it to the top of his personal pile. Immediately start looking for the match between your new card and the top card on the pile. Play continues until all cards from the stack on the table have been collected by the players. Player with the most cards wins.
  • The Well - The object is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. Put one card face up within reach of all players. Deal the rest of the deck evenly and face down to all players. At the same time, all players flip their card pile face-up. Everyone quickly looks for the match between their top card and the card on the table. The first to call out his match gets to lay his card on the pile on the table. Everyone immediately starts looking for the match between their top card and the new card on the table. Play continues in this manner until someone runs out of cards. The first to run out of cards, wins.
  • Hot Potato - The object is to have the least amount of cards after all the rounds have been played. Deal one card to each player, face down in their palm. At the same time all players turn their cards face up and start looking for a match between their card and someone else's card so that they can give away their card away. The game goes until only one player has cards in his palm. He keeps those cards. Several rounds are played. The one with the least amount of cards, wins.
  • The  Poisoned Gift - The object is to have the least number of cards. Deal one card to each player, face down. Put the remainder of the deck in the middle, face up. All players turn their cards face up at the same time and start looking for a match between the card on the top of the deck and any of the other player's cards. Once you see a match, call out the item and put the card from the deck onto their pile. Keep playing in this manner until the deck is gone.
  • Triplet - The object is to collect the most cards. Lay nine cards (3 X 3) face up on the table. Everyone looks for three of one item within those nine cards. First to find one calls out the item and takes the three cards. Three new cards are added in those spots. Keep playing until their are less than nine cards left and no more sets of three.
Some of the animal pictures are dog, cat, skunk, octopus, lion, hippo, snake, starfish, squirrel and chick.

Try this:

  • Start by showing the individual each image in the instruction guide and make sure that he recognizes or learns what to call each item. It would be an unfair disadvantage if he found the match but didn't know what it was so couldn't call it.
  • Play with non-verbal individuals and point to the match on one of the cards instead of calling it out.
  • Start by making it a simple matching game to teach the object to beginners. Put two cards side by side on the table and find the match. If the individual has trouble, turn the cards so the items are in close proximity to each other. Go through the deck this way.
  • Ask the person to hold the stack in the non-dominant hand throughout the game. Push each card off the top with the thumb.
  • Lay several cards in front of you on the table and call out an object on the cards. Count how many times that object appears on those cards.
  • Lay two cards side-by-side on the table. Everyone looks. The first to find the match gets the cards. Play till all cards are gone.
  • Take turns finding matches if playing for speed is not desired.
  • Stack the pile of cards in front of each player. Lift each top card off the pile without tipping the pile over or sliding unwanted cards off.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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