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, May 4, 2015


A matching game with a twist.

Work on visual memory, visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, palmar arch development, in-hand manipulation, values, good sportsmanship, social participation and interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box 12 penguins,12 colored eggs (2 each of blue, green, red, purple, orange, yellow), 4 iceberg scoring boards, 2 colored dice
Ages 4+, 2-4 players
Pengaloo plays similar to a kid's memory game - reveal two and try to make a match. A difference with Pengaloo instead of matching cards you will be throwing two colored dice on each turn to tell you the colors for the eggs you will need to match. To set up the game, randomly set the colored eggs on the table and cover each one with a penguin. Give each person a blue iceberg scoring board. Whoever fills this board first with six eggs will be the winner. Taking turns, each player will throw the two colored dice and then lift two penguins, hoping to find two eggs that will match the two colors he threw on the dice. If the eggs don't both match the dice, leave the eggs where they are and cover them again with the penguins. If the individual is correct, he takes the two eggs and two penguins and places them on his iceberg. When a match is not made, remember the location of each color egg to help you make future matches. The pieces are all wood and are holding up well. I lam missing one of the eggs and do I made one from colored Play-doh, let it dry hard, and it is working just fine.
Try this:
  • After a match is made, instead of putting the egg and the penguin on your iceberg, take only the colored egg. Leave the empty penguins in the field making it more difficult to remember which ones have colored eggs and which ones are empty.
  • Allow a player to take one egg and penguin if only one is matched out of the two dice.
  • Play like a typical matching game. Skip the dice, just uncover two of your choice and try to match colors. The game includes two of each color.
  • Choose your own two colors to match. Pick up one die at a time and rotate it in your fingertips until you find the color you want. Place it on the table and do the same to the second die. Then lift two penguins and try making that color match.
  • Encourage the player to purposefully remember the location of each color egg that is revealed.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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