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.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown UNO

Work on visual discrimination, manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, eye-hand coordination, visual memory, thinking skills, turn taking, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation  

In the tin: 112 cards
Ages 7+, 2-10 players

UNO, a popular game familiar to many people, is a fun family game as it can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages. UNO games come in a variety of themes, each often having a special bonus card with special rules. This one is based on the Halloween cartoon It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Cards feature characters and pictures related to the story, and all the typical UNO cards - wild, draw 2, draw 4, skip, and reverse - are also included. A special bonus Trick or Treat card, with special rules, is also included.

To play, deal each player 7 cards, face down. Place the rest of the stack in the middle of the players and turn one card up to start a discard pile. Each player, in turn, will play one card from his hand to match either the number or the color of the top card on the discard pile. If a player cannot play, he must draw one card. He is allowed to play it if he can. Instructions must be followed on special cards as soon as they are played. Special instructions for the bonus Trick or Treat card are as follows: When it is played, each player picks one card off the draw pile. The person who played the card calls out a color. Anyone who drew a card of that color is allowed to discard it. The rest must put the card in their hand. The player then calls a color to be played, as the Trick or Treat card is also a wild card.

Try this:
  • Take out all special cards for beginners and play matching color only. After that is learned, play matching number only. After that is learned play matching color or number.
  • Modify the game for younger players by taking out the special cards (reverse, skip, draw 2, etc.) and matching only color or number.
  • Have the individual deal the cards, holding the deck in the non-dominant hand and pushing each card off the top with the thumb.
  • Practice counting cards as dealing, dealing in a clockwise manner, shuffling.
  • Use a card holder for those who have trouble fanning cards and pulling cards out without dropping others.
  • Take out two of each card and make it a simple matching game.

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