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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, December 13, 2015

Right Turn Left Turn


Work on spatial relations, body awareness, following directions, manual dexterity, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 50 playing cards (7 officer, 43 direction)

A silly card game of changing directions. There are two types of cards - officer cards and direction cards. The officer cards will show the officer either from the front or from the back. The direction cards will give you three directions to follow, turning right and/or left. There is a symbol on each direction card, such as a tree, a bike, or a street light. These symbols also appear on the seven officer cards. To play, lay the seven officer cards in a circle on the table. Shuffle the direction cards and place them in the middle of the circle. Turn over the top destination card.

Everyone plays at once. Look at the symbol on the destination card and find the officer card with that same symbol. This is your starting point. The symbol on the destination card pictured above is a house. The officer card with the house symbol is to the left of the deck. The directions on the direction card above are 3 lefts, 1 left, 2 rights. Now, depending on the direction the officer is facing, follow the three directions, from his point of view. For instance, if the officer is facing you, you will have to understand that his right will be opposite yours.  So for the example above, after following the directions you will end up on the officer card with the tree symbols. Follow the directions in your head, without speaking. After following the three directions, you will end up on a new officer card. Note the symbol on that card and call it out. The first one to correctly call out the symbol wins the direction card. The first to win six direction cards, wins the game.

Try this:
  • Play as a one person activity to work on laterality and directionality. 
  • Explain the mirror image concept before starting the game. Stand side by side with the individual and both raise your right hand. Ask the individual to stand still while you slowly turn to face him. As you face him, your right hand will now be on the opposite side as his. This can be a difficult concept to understand and may take time.
  • Pick each card off the deck without sliding others off or toppling the deck.
  • Start by pointing to each card as you count out loud. After the individual understands the game, move to counting and moving visually only.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.
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