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, May 15, 2015

Hello Kitty Flip 'N' Match

A memory game that requires finger isolation to play.

Work on finger isolation, precise fine motor control, visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual memory, separating the two sides of the hand, attention, concentration, turn taking, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 1 plastic game board, 36 plastic disks, label sheet
Ages 3+, 2-4 players
A Hello Kitty memory game that requires finger isolation to play. I haven't seen another memory game like this and I like it. It plays like the standard memory game - turn over two and try to find a match. It seems like there is nothing to it - a plastic board, round stickers and 36 flat discs. But it is so much more! Place the 36 labels, one each, on the 36 thin, flat disks. There are 18 matches (Hello Kitty characters), so 2 of each picture.

Left - front view. Right - side view.

Next, place the discs pink side up on the game board. The game board has 36 hollow, half-circle shaped holes. Pushing down on the edge of a disk will make it stand upright. Pull your finger out slowly or use your thumb and the disk will flip the rest of the way so that the picture shows.

If you make a match, remove the two disks and play again. If you did not make a match, turn the disks back over and the next player plays. The player with the most matches at the end wins. 

Try this:
  • Put a few disks on the board and demonstrate, then let the player(s) practice before playing the game to get the hang of flipping the pieces.
  • Place all the disks on the board face up. Ask the child to find a match and take the disks off by making each stand upright and using the thumb and a pad to pad grip to remove.
  • Set the board up with only a few and increase the number of sets as the player improves in his game.
  • Place the flat discs on the table top, face down, and play memory that way.
  • Place the pictures right-side-up, upside-down, looking left, looking right, etc. so that the player will have to recognize a matching set with the characters in different orientations.
  • Set the game up by holding three or four discs in-hand and, pushing them to the fingertips one at a time, place them on the board.
  • Place three sets in each row (or column) if having to search over the whole board for a set is too much at first.
  • Match girl to girl and boy to boy instead of exact matches for a much easier game.
  • Instruct the individual to look to remember, instead of just giving a cursory look at each piece that is turned.

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