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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hello Kitty Bingo

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, eye-hand coordination, figure ground, manual dexterity, social interaction, spatial relations, turn taking
In the box: 6 bingo cards, 3 oversized dice, 60 tokens
Ages 4+, 2-6 players
Hello Kitty Bingo has been around a long time. This version caught my eye because there are three dice, instead of the standard two, and two levels of play. The game is played like regular bingo - get five in a row to win, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Instead of the standard bingo balls, three large dice will tell you the spot to cover. The dice are large and chunky, I had to cup both hands together to shake them and actually have them move around. One die would be a handful for a smaller child.
To start the game, give each individual a card and some chips to cover the spaces as they are called. The word BINGO is printed across the top of each card, but instead of numbers in the spaces below, there are pictures of Hello Kitty characters, flowers, and a gumball machine.  Everyone starts by placing a chip in the FREE SPACE - the center square. The two levels of play are 1) throw two dice, 2) throw three dice.
  • A two dice game:
    • Throw the letter die and the picture die. The letter will tell you the column to look at and the picture die will tell you the character you are looking for. If you find the character, place a bingo chip on it. Keep going, each player throwing the dice in turn, until someone gets five in a row and yells BINGO!
  • A three dice game:
    • Throw all three dice - the letter die, the picture die, and the instruction die. Instructions include the following 1) take token - take a token off the card of any player, 2) give token - give a token to any player to place on his card, 3) move left - follow the directions on the picture and letter dice and then place your chip one square to the left.
The instruction die only has printing on three sides. Seems like a great opportunity to add your own special twist to the game.
Try this:
  • Watch for a bingo in one direction only - horizontal, vertical or diagonal - until the individual is able to watch two, then three planes simultaneously.
  • Put one die in the left cupped hand and one in the right cupped hand. Shake them both at the same time without dropping. Can you move the hands in different directions at the same time, such as rotating and up and down?
  • Let one person do all of the dice throwing. Ask another individual to place three or four bingo chips in the dominant hand and move them to the fingertips, one at a time, for placement. These chips are rather small. If this proves difficult, use your own larger bingo chips.
  • Add more directional instructions on the instruction die.

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