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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.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Yahtzee - Justice Collector's Edition

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, distal finger control, arch strength, in-hand manipulation, critical and analytical thinking, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the can: 5 dice, score pad, tokens
Ages 8+, 1 or more players

Yahtzee has been around since the 1940's and Hasbro still sells 50 million games a year! I have seen, and own, many versions of Yahtzee. As cute as the container is on this one, we always set it aside to play and use our hands to shake the dice. That is one of the best parts of the game for an OT, as cupping the hands while shaking the dice can help strengthen and develop hand arches. Well developed hand arches aid in precise fine motor control, adjusting the hand to different sizes and shapes of objects, and grading the grasp of those objects. The goal of Yahtzee is to have the highest score at the end of the game. Each score sheet has 13 categories, and each category has a score box. Each player will have up to three chances to throw the dice on any given turn to make the highest score possible for one of the categories. There are two sections to the score sheet. The upper section is for sets, such as throw as many monkeys as you can in this turn. The lower section is scored like poker hands, such as three of a kind, full house, and small straight. You score a Yahtzee when all five dice match. Each category score box is only filled in once, and after all 13 categories have scores, the game is over. Many Yahtzee games use black and white dice with pips. This dice in this game have a picture on each side as well as a number. There are as follows:
  • Monkey - 1
  • Rainbow -2
  • Panda - 3
  • Cupcake - 4
  • Flog - 5
  • Best Friends (words) - 6
Try this:
  • Play with only the upper section if playing with younger kids. Each of the six sides are listed (monkey, rainbow, etc.) and the player gets three chances to see how many of each item he can throw. Play all six categories and end the game.
  • Shape the palm before shaking the dice by putting a small ball or round object in the hand and forming the hand around it. Do that for both hands, drop the dice into the player's hand, and ask him to  place the other hand over the top and shake.
  • Ask the player to shake at least 10 times, to hear them dance, or really mix them up good, etc. This will keep the palms in that position a little longer.
If you are interested in purchasing a Yahtzee game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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