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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.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Family Matters


Work on following directions, working together cooperatively, manual dexterity, sequencing, fine motor precision, spatial relations, visual tracking 

In the box: Game board, playbook with 140 location-based fake family crises, die, car pawn with 6 colored pegs, 50 Me, Myself & I cards, 50 My Favorite Things cards, 19 Funny Bone cards
Ages 7+, 2-6 players

Winner of several awards, Family Matters is a get-to-know-your-family-better game that involves sharing stories, doing funny things, engaging in cooperative activities, solving family crises, and answering family trivia. The object is for all to pile into the family car and drive from location to location across the board. Each person will take a turn to drive, solving tasks and answering questions along the way. After each person has driven, the car races to the finish line to see whose idea of family fun will come true. To play, place the game board on the table. Look over the playbook. For each family crises there are three lines to record solutions. Months and years from now you can refer to the book if an occasion arises and perhaps resolutions that have been recorded in the book will be helpful. Before beginning the game, each person writes on a piece of paper a weekend wish - something the whole family can engage in. Within two weeks of playing the game, the family should participate in the winner's planned activity. The youngest player places his peg in the driver's seat and everyone else places their pegs behind him in the car. Place the car at one of the four starting points. Throw the die. The player can move the car pawn in any direction he desires. Land on a square and follow the directions. The six types of squares include the following: 
  • Cross Road - An intersection. The player choose which direction to go and throws the die again.
  • Black Hole - Move the car to any of the other three black holes on the board and play again. (Chance to move to another part of the board.)
  • Fake Family Crises - Open the playbook to the location listed and all players come up with three practical solutions to a crises. Write them in the book. Examples of crises include:
    • You want more allowance but your family can't afford it.
    • Your friend found some alcohol and wants to try it.
    • You find your 8 year old playing with matches.
    • You are dared by friends to steal candy from a store.
    • You are cut from a varsity game despite a great game.
    • Your 15 year old is reported for picking fights.
  • Me, Myself & I - Pick a card and answer the question. Examples are:
    • If you could have any career whatsoever, what could it be?
    • Name a skill that you don't have but wish you did.
    • If you could perform one amazing feat what would it be?
    • You have the chance to do a really good deed in your town; what would it be
  • My Favorite Things - Pick a card and read the question. Call on players to answer the question. How much do they know about you? Examples are:
    • What is my favorite dessert?
    • What is my favorite type of exercise?
    • What is my favorite game of toy?
    • How do I like eggs cooked?
  • Funny Bone - Pick a card and follow the directions. Examples are:
    • Vote for a special treat for playing this game!
    • Perform an impromptu 60-second skit about a recent family event!
    • Everybody rearrange something in the room!
    • Everybody thumb wrestle the person to your left!
After resolving a Fake Family Crises, the driver moves to the back of the car and the next driver moves into the driver's seat. After each passenger has had a chance to be the driver and resolve a family crises, the car moves toward the inner circle, labeled Weekend Wish. Each player throws the die once and whoever throws the number that will move the car into the winner circle with an exact number of moves, wins. His family activity wish should be observed within the next two weeks.

Try this:
  • Add your own Fake Family Crises to the book and resolve. This is a chance to start a family discussion about a possible current conflict in a manner that may be less confrontational.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.
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