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!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hazard Mountain

Work on manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, thinking skills, social interaction, play exploration and participation, visual discrimination, sequencing
In the box: Game board, 50 cards, 4 pawns, 1 die
By attending to how games are set up and how game parts are manipulated, most board games offer opportunities to practice skills related to occupational therapy goals. The goal of Hazard Mountain is to be the first to ski downhill and arrive at the lodge at the bottom of the board. To start, all players set their pawns on START and someone shuffles the cards and places them in a face-down pile next to the board. In turn, each player will choose a card and read it silently. There is a short informational paragraph at the top and three statements at the bottom. Using the information at the top, the player then chooses a statement from the three choices at the bottom of the card that he feels is correct.  Consult the answer card to see if the inference chosen is true. If it is not, the player stays where he is and the turn passes to the next player. If it is, the player throws the die, chooses the path he wants to take (easy, intermediate, or difficult), and moves his pawn down the mountain. Paths intertwine and a player may start on one level and end on another. There are symbols on the paths that match symbols in the key found in the bottom right hand corner of the board. Land on a square with a symbol and follow the directions on the key. You will either be playing again, moving two more spaces forward, moving three spaces forward, or losing a turn, moving two spaces backward, or moving three spaces backward. The expert path is shorter but has more lose a turn and move backward symbols. The easy path is longer, but has more play again and move forward spaces.
Try this:
  • Hold the card stack in the palm of the non-dominant hand and deal all cards out between players. Each player chooses a card from his own pile when it is time to read a question.
  • Stack cards on the table in front of a dealer and let the dealer give them out as they are needed, being careful not to knock over pile as they separate and lift off cards.
  • Sort the cards into numerical order (not necessary to play). Cards are numbered 1-50. Start by sorting cards into five piles (twenties, thirties, forties, etc.) Then place each pile in numerical order, and finally put them all together. 
  • Cup the hand to throw the die. Squeeze the fingers together and shake the die in-hand for 10 seconds before throwing.
If you are interested in purchasing this game, click on the link below.

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