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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.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Scrambled States of America



Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, figure ground, visual scanning, manual dexterity, attention, processing speed, geography, social skills,

In the box: 50 state cards, 50 scramble cards, 4 paper maps of the U.S.
Ages 8+
2-4 players

Winner of two Best Toy awards, The Scrambled States of America is a card game that can help you learn about U.S. geography in a fun way. Here is the story behind the game: One day, the U.S. decided to throw a party and the states switched places so they could see another part of the country. Things got crazy as Florida started freezing up north and the Atlantic Ocean got Arizona all wet. The object of the game is to send the most states home (to your Home Pile) by matching state cards to scramble cards. To play, each player is given a (correct) map of the United States. The states are marked only with state names and are used for reference. Each deck of cards is shuffled and the two decks are put side by side in the middle of the playing area. Deal five state cards to each player. Players line their state cards face up in front of them. Each state card has a state name, state picture, capital city and nickname. The first player turns over the top scramble card and reads it aloud. There are two types of scramble cards:
  • Find it - These cards have challenges on them. Examples include state capital with a person's first name hidden in it, a state that does not touch an ocean, a state that starts with the letter M, and a state with a nickname that has a plant or animal in it. Once a challenge is revealed, all players scan their state line for a state that matches the description. The first player to find a state in his line, slaps the card and calls it out. He then collects the challenge card and his state card and places them in his Hole Pile. A new state card is added to the state line to replace the one that is gone.
  • Go the distance - These are yellow cards that all look the same. When you turn over one of these, turn over the top card from the State card pile. All players scan their state line for the closest neighbor to the state depicted on the state card. Compare the cards from each player and the closest one to the state card wins and sends her state and the state card to her Home pile. A new state card is added to the state line to replace the one that is gone.
If no matches are found for a scramble challenge, all players pass one card from their state line to the player on their left. Players place the new card in their state line and the next person reveals a new scramble challenge. When the state deck has been depleted, all players count the states they sent home (cards in their Home Pile) and the player with the most states wins.

Try this:
  • Go through the state deck alone and find each state on the map.
  • Go through the state deck alone and find each state on the map. Name a state to the right and a state to the left of each state.
  • Playing alone, choose a state card. Find it on the map and name a state to the north, a state to the south, a state to the east, and a state to the west.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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