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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.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Clothespins! Game


Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual closure, figure ground, visual tracking, manual dexterity, social interaction, problem solving, in-hand manipulation, sequencing 

In the box: 4 game boards, 66 playing cards
Ages 5+, 2-4 players

A matching strategy game that's good clean fun. Spoiler alert - there are no clothespins involved with this game. A better name might have been Clothesline Game. The object of the game is to be the first to complete three clotheslines of matching clothing items or matching patterns on clothing items. To set up the game, each player receives a game board with the start of three clotheslines on it. The game boards are a heavier cardboard than the cards and it is all one piece (see above, far left). Next, shuffle the cards, deal four to each player, and put the remainder of the stack face down on the table. On each turn you are allowed to play 1-4 of the cards in you hand on your clotheslines, or discard 1-4 cards. At the end of each turn the player picks enough cards so that he again has four in his hand. Each clothesline must have a minimum of three clothing cards on it before you can place the end card with the finishing pole. The more cards you play, the more points you will receive. However, there are also five bird cards in the deck. You may use a bird card to steal a laundry card from any opponent's open clothesline, or move one of your cards from one clothesline to another. Birds cannot take clothing off a finished clothesline. Once three clotheslines are complete, the game is over. Points are given for each card played and subtracted for each card still in your hand. The player with the highest score, wins. FYI - There are no clothespins involved. A better name might have been Clothesline Game.

Try this:
  • Forget about the game, just use the cards for a fun matching game and build clotheslines.
  • Remove the bird cards for younger players or an easier game.
  • Use the cards to play a matching memory game. Match for clothing type or pattern.
  • Hold the cards in the non-dominant hand and push the top card off with the thumb to deal the cards.
  • Place the cards in a pile and deal by picking up the top card, one at a time, without sliding other cards off the pile or tipping it over.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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