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, August 21, 2015

Animal 2 X 2

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, visual memory, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, grasp/reach/release, in-hand manipulation, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation.   
In the box: 1 ark, 24 animal tokens, 1 carrying case 
Ages 3+
Match the animals, dropping your pairs into the opening at the top of the ark as you go. This game is played like a typical memory game except that players will be flipping thick plastic tokens, not cards. 
To play, turn all plastic tokens face down on the table in a grid configuration. Set the ark within reach of both players and determine who will fill which columns in the ark with tokens, for instance left two for one player, right two for the other player. In turn, each player will flip two tokens to try and make a match. If he makes a match, he will drop the tokens into one of his columns. If he does not make a match, he turns the pieces back over, in the same spots, and his turn is over. The one who fills his column(s) with sets first, wins. The ark is double wide, so players will drop in the two tokens of each set back-to-back.
Try this:
  • Start with fewer sets for a simpler game. Work up to 12 sets.
  • Give a preview of where everything is before playing. Lay out the grid with all the tokens face up. Ask the individual to flip each token over, in place, to set up the game.
  • Lay all tokens face up on the table. Find and pick up all the matches.
  • Lay all tokens face up on the table. Call a set of mismatched animals, such as "Find a bee and a lion."
  • Lay all the tokens face up on the table. Ask directional/positional questions such as "Who is under the lion?" or "What animal is to the left of the ant?"
  • Ask the individual to concentrate on remembering where the sets are, don't just assume he will.
  • Work on categories by laying all the discs face up and asking the individual to point out everything that flies, all discs that have blue on them, or every animal with four legs.
  • Play a cooperative game with the goal of getting all the animals aboard. Take turns and as sets are found and put them anywhere in the ark.
  • Visually choose your two discs and using both hands, turn them over at the same time. Pick them up or turn them back over simultaneously also.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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