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, April 19, 2015

Walk The Dogs


Yup, it includes 63 plastic dogs.

Work on visual discrimination, manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, in-hand manipulation, figure ground, form constancy, visual closure, spatial relations, executive functions, social interaction skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 63 miniature dogs, 42 dog cards, 3 leash cards, 5 bone cards, 3 dog catcher cards, 2 score sheets, 1 doggie bag (no treats included)
 Who can resist a game that includes 63 miniature dogs! I debated whether to blog on this game because it hasn't been readily available in the past, but I did see that they are now selling their games on their own website, so am going ahead. The manufacturer, Simply Fun, does not sell their games in retail locations. They prefer, instead, to sell their products through home parties. They have a lot of games that you won't see anywhere else, although they can be a little pricey. I do, however, own several of their products. Walk the Dogs first got my attention because of the 63 dog manipulatives. To set up the game for play, you line up all of the 63 dogs, in any order, going in the same direction. A perfect opportunity to practice in-hand skills. The object is to create your own line of 5 dogs of the same breed. There are cards that allow you to take a dog from the front of the line, from the back of the line, from another player, lose a string of dogs, and to add special points, if you decide to play for points. The dogs are sturdy plastic and stand well. There is only one "breed" of dog on the cards and the dog are pictured in front halves (take a dog(s) from the front of the line), and back halves (take a dog(s) from the back of the line). 
Try this:
  • Have fun just sorting the dogs by breed and lining them up.
  • Place the dogs in a pile on the table, hiding parts of some and orienting them in different directions. Ask the individual to find all of one kind of dog. Add them back to the pile, mix, and sort for another breed.
  • Use just the cards with dog pictures for a simple game.
  •  Place the dogs, one at a time, in the individual's palm. Ask him to turn the dog in-hand to get it in position and then stand it up on the table. Place the dogs upside down, backwards, etc. in the palm so that the individual will have to work. Long before 63 this activity will probably get tedious.
  • Only use half of the dogs for a shorter game.

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