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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Headache Pop-O-Matic Game

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, spatial relations, manual dexterity, finger strength, in-hand manipulation, grasp, separation of hand, social interaction, visual tracking, analytical thinking
In the box: pop-o-matic board, 16 cone markers, 4 feet for bottom of the board, colored card to place under the board
Ages 5+, 2-4 players
If you've ever played Trouble, you're half way there. Don't get excited about there being two dice, it just means that if the red dot appears when you pop, you get another turn. The number die in the popper is numbered 1-6. The white die in the popper has a red dot on only one side. The object of the game is to capture your opponents cones by stacking your color cones on top of them. To start, choose a color and stack the four matching color cones on the X by that color on the board. In turn, each player gets one pop and one move, unless he pops the red dot which means two pops and two moves. Each of the first four turns, for all players, must be used to move the four cones off the X spot. Once that is done, it is your goal to land on an opponents cone, thereby capturing it. As more cones are captured, cone stacks will get higher and higher. Whoever owns the color on the top cone of a stack, is the owner of the stack. This can change many times as the game goes on. Single cones must move clockwise, but cone stacks can move clockwise or counterclockwise. The game is over when all of the cones are in one stack. The person playing the top color is the winner. I found myself using a variety of grips on this game, depending on how close other cones were to me and how high the stack got. The cones are smooth plastic and you will have to pinch your fingers together at the bottom to keep the stack together when lifting.
Try this:
  • Play a very simple game. Two people each take one cone and place it on the X, across from each other. Taking turns, who can get back to the X first.
  • Practice picking up various height stacks of cones and setting them down without dropping any before you play.
  • Play a game and instead of stacking cones, each time you land on your opponent's cone, take it off the board. Who is the last one left with a one on the board?
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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