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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, August 30, 2015

CardLine Animals

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, critical and analytical thinking, social interaction, play exploration and participation 

In the box: 110 cards
Ages 7+, 2-8 players

An estimation game that will take analytical thinking and may even teach you a surprising thing or two about animals. I know it did me. Each of the cards in the box pictures a different animal. The front side of each card gives the following information:
  1. Common name
  2. Scientific name
  3. Image of animal
  4. Family, species' level of risk of extinction
The back, or "characteristics" side, of the card also gives the following additional information across the bottom:
  1. The average size in inches or feet
  2. The average weight in ounces, pounds, or tons
  3. The average lifespan in years

The object of the game is to be the only player who no longer has any cards. To start, the players decide which characteristic they will use to play the game - size, weight, or lifespan. Then the cards are shuffled and each player is dealt four cards, characteristics side down. The remainder of the cards are placed in a stack on the table, characteristics side down. One card, the initial card, is placed characteristics side up in the middle of the players. The line of cards will be built around this card. Here is an image of how the table should look, set up to play:

The first player chooses one of his cards to play. Based on the characteristic chosen, he will determine if his animal is larger or smaller than the animal on the initial card. If smaller, he will place his card to the left of the initial card. If larger, he will place it to the right. He will then flip his card over and compare the characteristic. If he is correct, the card stays and his turn is over. If he is incorrect, the card is returned to the box and he takes one card from the stack and adds it to his cards. His turn is over. Once there are at least two cards in play, the players will have to determine where in the line their card would fall. It may be to the far left, it may be to the far right, but it also may be somewhere in between. The more cards in play, the more difficult it will become. Once someone runs out of cards, the game continues until the end of the round. If no one else is out of cards, he is declared the winner. If he is not the only one with no cards, all other players are eliminated and the players with no cards each take one card from the deck and continue to play. When only one player places his card correctly in a round, he is the final winner. If you like this game, there are many different educational versions, including historical events, discoveries, American history, and the middle ages.

Try this:
  • Use a small stack of cards and place them characteristic side up. Choose one characteristic and work with the player to line them up in order to teach him how to play. Work easiest to hardest - years, size, weight.
  • Start even easier by picking out only three or four animals that vary greatly in weight, such as an elephant, a tiger, and an insect. Gradually add new cards to the line, talking a little bit about each animal and stressing the characteristic.
  • Ask the player to pick the card up where it lies if he is pulling the card to the edge of the table to pick it up.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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