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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.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bully Free Zone In a Jar

Work on anti-bullying strategies, healthy ways to reduce bullying, treating others with respect

In the jar: 101 cards
Ages 9-14

Whether you are working with the person being bullied, a bystander, or the person doing the bullying, get the conversation started with Bully Free Zone prompts. I have used this one a lot in therapy. The cards in the jar fall into four different categories:
  • Act it out (10 cards) - Kids act out a response to the prompt on the card.
  • Talk about it (30 cards) - Everyone shares ideas and personal stories about experiences with bullying.
  • What would you do? (30 cards) - Kids imagine themselves in these situations, and describe what they would do. 
  • Tips (31 cards) - Smart and safe actions kids can take when they or someone else is being bullied.
Conversations should be moderated by a mature person as there are no "answers". Here are some samples from the cards:
  • Act it out - Apologize for bullying. after teasing another student about his looks, you realize you're acting like a bully. Next time you see him, you decided to apologize.
  • Talk about it - What are some effects of bullying on targets (the people who are bullied)?
  • What would you do? You hear that someone you thought was a friend has been spreading a cruel and untrue rumor about you. What would you do?
  • Tip - Stick up for kids you see being bullied. If bullies see that other kids don't approve of their behavior, they're more likely to stop.
I like the "In a Jar" products, and my collection is slowly growing. As I have said before, they seem a little pricey for what you get. But, if you have ever sat down and tried to come up with 101 examples of bullying, tips, and activities, like me, you might feel the $8-9 is well worth it.

Try this:
  • Let two adults act out the situation(s) while the teens watch if you feel that the teens will not come up with the correct answer or need a positive example to start the interaction. 
  • Avoid making it all negative, which might be easy to inadvertently do, as no one is a winner when someone is bullied. Try to highlight positive strategies.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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