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!

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Saturday, October 24, 2015


Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual closure, following directions, thinking skills, in-hand manipulation, fine motor precision, manual dexterity, web space, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 60 cards, 150 chips, 2 jumbo dice
Ages 6+, 2-6 players

A totally new way to play bingo. After seeing that Dr. Toy chose this game as one of the 100 best children's products, and Creative Child Magazine gave it their 2008 game of the year award, I was curious to see what was in the box. Similar to traditional bingo, you must get six (instead of five) chips in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to win a round. Winner of each round gets five chips. The first player to accumulate 20 chips wins the game. There are lots of different twists and turns that will keep you on your toes as you play. To start, deal one card to each player. This game may play similar to traditional bingo, but the cards look a lot different.

Wondering how you are going to fill the empty spaces with chips? There are two large, plastic, hollow dice included: one die has the letters B-I-N-G-O-H printed on it, with a small star printed next to the B, and one die has the numbers 1-6 printed on it, with a small star next to the numbers one and six. Players take turns being the roller, throwing the dice and announcing the combination that results, such as B1. If the throw results in a star, the roller may take one chip from one of the players reserve pile. If the throw results in two stars, such as B1, the roller can take three chips from any combination of players, leaving his opponents short chips they may need to complete their bingos. After the roller throws, all players will place a chip on that square. If there are special directions on that space, one at a time the players will read and follow them. There are 26 different directions possible, so if your goal is following directions, this may be a jackpot game for you. Here are just a few of the directions:
  • Move one chip anywhere
  • Add one chip anywhere
  • Must win with Z shape (or vertical, or horizontal, or T shape, or 4 corners, etc.)
  • Remove one chip from opponent's card
  • Take all reserve chips back
  • Take a new card and start over
  • Roadblock (creates a dead zone, blocking the use of a space to win)
  • Opponents must win with vertical (or horizontal)
A game that has enough interest and variety that the whole family, of different ages, can play.

Try this:
  • Sort the six colors of bingo chips before starting into six piles. Place two or three at a time in the individual's fingers and ask him to slide one at a time to the fingertips to sort.
  • Place a few chips in the crook of the players curled fingers. Ask him to tip his hand parallel to the table so that the chips are in close proximity to the fingertips for faster sorting.
  • Pick up two or three Bingo chips and hold them in the hand, moving them to the fingertips and placing one at a time as a space is called.
  • Clean up by picking up chips one at a time and squirreling them into the palm. How many can be picked up?
  • Clean up by asking the individual to cup his hand, squeezing his fingers together so the chips won't fall through. Place the chips one at a time into the cupped hand and count to make sure you get them all put away.
  • Clean up by holding the box in the non-dominant hand off the side of the table. Curl the dominant hand and slide it on the table toward the box, pushing chips into the box without dropping any on the floor.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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