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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.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spot It! Fire & Ice




Work on figure ground, visual discrimination, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, shuffling and dealing cards, manual dexterity, spatial relations, visual form constancy, visual scanning, figure ground, focus, concentration, social interaction, play exploration and participation

In the box: Timer card holder, 55 cards

The Fire & Ice version of Spot It! plays by the same rule as all Spot It! games - Be the first to spot the one and only match between any two cards and call it out. What happens next depends on which game version you are playing. Each card has eight images and across the 55 cards, there are over 50 hot-cold related items including a polar bear, firetruck, snowflake, snowy mountain, fire, mittens, penguins, and surf board. There are five versions for the regular spot it games, and Fire & Ice adds even more fun by including three versions that uses a timer that has two settings:
  • 1) Countdown - 10 second countdown to freeze.
  • 2) Random - 3 random time lengths ending with freeze.

The three timer versions for this game are:
  • The Tower - The object is to collect the most cards. Place the timer in the middle of the players and set it on 1 (countdown). One card is dealt face down to each player. The rest of the cards are put in a face-up pile within everyone's reach. Everyone plays at once to see who can be the first to find a match between his card and the one on the top of the pile. The first person to call out his match takes the card and adds it to the top of his personal pile. Immediately start looking for the match between your new card and the top card on the pile. BURN: Be on the lookout for fire symbol (red) matches. If you get one, shout BURN and hit the timer to start a 10 second spree where only you play and collect as many sets as you can. FREEZE: While a player is on a 10 second burn spree, if you can match a freeze symbol (blue) to the card on the table, shout FREEZE and hit the timer to stop it. This will end your opponents spree. Play continues normally until all cards from the stack on the table have been collected by the players. Player with the most cards wins.
  • The Well - The object is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. Put one card face up within reach of all players. Deal the rest of the deck evenly and face down to all players. At the same time, all players flip their card pile face-up. Everyone quickly looks for the match between their top card and the card on the table. The first to call out his match gets to lay his card on the pile on the table. Everyone immediately starts looking for the match between their top card and the new card on the table. BURN: Be on the lookout for fire symbol (red) matches. If you get one, shout BURN and hit the timer to start a 10 second spree where only you play and collect as many sets as you can. FREEZE: While a player is on a 10 second burn spree, if you can match a freeze symbol (blue) to the card on the table, shout FREEZE and hit the timer to stop it. This will end your opponents spree. Play continues normally until someone runs out of cards. The first to run out of cards, wins.
  • Random Freeze -  Place a face up card and the timer in the center of the players. Set the timer on 2 (random). Deal the remaining cards evenly between players, face down. The first player starts the timer and turns over his top card, looking for a match. Once he finds it he places it on the card in the middle and the next person plays. Play goes clockwise in this manner until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, the person who was playing takes three penalty cards from the stack on the table and places them on the bottom of his pile. Reset the timer and play resumes in the same manner. If you make a match with fire symbols (red), you can shout REVERSE and the direction of play reverses. Play until one person runs out of cards and wins the game.
Here are the original five games:

  • The Tower - To win, collect the most cards by the end of the game. One card is dealt face down to each player. The rest of the cards are put in a face-up deck within everyone's reach. Everyone plays at the same time to see who can be the first to find a match between his card and the card on the top of the deck. The first person to call out his match takes the top card and adds it to the top of his personal pile. All players immediately start looking for the match between their card and the new top card on the deck in the middle. Play continues until all cards from the deck on the table have been collected.
  • The Well - Be the first to get rid of all your cards to win. Put one card face up within reach of all players. Deal the rest of the deck evenly and face-down to all players. At the same time, all players flip their card pile face-up and quickly look for the match between their top card and the card on the table. The first to call out his match gets to lay his card on the pile on the table. Everyone immediately starts looking for the match between their top card and the new top card on the table. Play continues in this manner until someone runs out of cards and wins the game. 
  • Hot Potato - Have the least amount of cards after all the rounds have been played to win. Evenly deal all cards between players, face-down in their palms. To start, all players turn their cards face up at the same time and look for a match between their card and anyone else's top card. Once you find a match, add your card, face-up, to the pile in their palm. This is their new top card. The game continues until only one person has cards in his palm. He counts his cards and that is his score. Play several rounds and the winner is the person who has the lowest score.
  • The Poisoned Gift - Have the least number of cards at the end of the game to win. Deal one card to each player, face down. Put the remainder of the deck in the middle, face-up. All players turn their card face-up at the same time and start looking for a match between the card in the middle and any other player. Once you see a match, call it out and put the card from the middle onto that player's pile. That now becomes his top card. Keep playing until the stack of cards from the middle is gone.
  • Triplet - Collect the most cards by the end of the game to win. Lay nine cards (3 X 3) face-up on the table. Everyone looks for three of one item within those nine cards. First to find a match calls out the item and takes the three cards. Three new cards are added in those spots. Keep playing until there are less than nine cards left or no more sets of three.  
Try this:

  • Start by showing the players each image in the instruction guide and make sure that they recognize of learn what to call each item. It would be an unfair disadvantage if he found the match but didn't know what it was so couldn't call it.
  • Play with non-verbal individuals and point to the match on one of the cards instead of calling it out.
  • Start by making it a simpler matching game to teach the object to beginners. Put two cards side by side on the table and find the match. If the person has difficulty, turn the cards so that the matching items are close to each other.
  • Ask the player to hold the stack in the non-dominant hand throughout the game. Push each card off the top with the thumb.
  • Lay several cards in front of you on the table and call out an object on the cards. Count how many times that object appears on those cards.
  • Lay two cards side by side on the table. Every looks. The first to find the match gets the cards. Play till all the cards are gone.
  • Take turns finding matches if playing for speed is not desired.

The timer requires 2 AAA batteries and it is a removable lid to a plastic box used for card storage.
The timer. Pushing the eye starts and stops the timer.

Try this:
  • Start by showing the individual each image in the instruction guide and make sure that he recognizes or learns what to call each item. It would be an unfair disadvantage if he found the match but didn't know what it was so couldn't call it.
  • Play with non-verbal individuals and point to the match on one of the cards instead of calling it out.
  • Start by making it a simple matching game to teach the object to beginners. Put two cards side by side on the table and find the match. If the individual has trouble, turn the cards so the items are in close proximity to each other. Go through the deck this way.
  • Ask the person to hold the stack in the non-dominant hand throughout the game. Push each card off the top with the thumb.
  • Lay several cards in front of you on the table and call out an object on the cards. Count how many times that object appears on those cards.
  • Lay two cards side-by-side on the table. Everyone looks. The first to find the match gets the cards. Play till all cards are gone.
  • Take turns finding matches if playing for speed is not desired.
  • Stack the pile of cards in front of each player. Lift each top card off the pile without tipping the pile over or sliding unwanted cards off.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.


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