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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.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Timeline Discoveries


Play alone to work on memorizing important dates.


Work on memorizing important dates, visual scanning, sequencing by date, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box 110 cards
Ages 8+, 2-8 players

Timeline is from the same creators of the Cardline Animals card game that I blogged about previously. The Timeline series is for people who have a knowledge of important dates in history, or who want to learn. All three games play the same, so I will describe the yellow box first, Timeline Discoveries, with particulars about the other two at the bottom. The cards for the game are small (so they can be lined up across the table), only 1 5/8 X 2 1/2 inches. The front side of each card depicts an important discovery, in word and picture. The back of each card will be the same with the exception that the year of the discovery has been added. The object of the game will be to make a line of cards, in chronological order, of these important dates. Just a word about the size - even though the date is printed in a larger font, the cards are small so you will need good lighting and this game will not be for those with low or weak vision (without adaptations). To set up the game, shuffle the cards face up so that the dates are not showing. Deal four cards to each player and place the remainder of the deck off to the side. Players will line these cards up in front of them, date side down. Place the top card from the deck, date side up, in the middle of the playing area. This is the first card of the timeline. The first player will choose (any) one of his cards and place it to the left or right of the card already in play - on the left if he feels the date of his discovery is before the card in play, on the right if he feels the date is after. He then turns over his card and checks the date. If he has placed it correctly, the cards stays on the table. If he was incorrect, the card goes back into the box and he takes the top card from the deck and places it in front of him in his card line. The next person plays. Each time a correct card is played, there are more options for where to place the next card and the game gets a little harder and the card line a little longer.
The top line of cards depicts the time line for all players (back of cards showing dates). The bottom line of cards depicts a player's card line of cards to choose from to play (front of cards showing no dates).
Here is an example of some of the discoveries:
  • The discovery of the rings of Saturn
  • The invention of fractions
  • The abolition of slavery in the USA
  • The discovery of the tomb of Ramses II
  • The invention of psychoanalysis
Once all game players have played one card, that is considered a "round". To win, be the only person in a round to correctly play your last card. In other words, every player must have a chance to play the round before a winner is announced. A quick glance through the cards and it appears that the majority of the dates are 1200's through 1900's. A few dates are BC and depicted with a minus sign. For example, The inventions of fractions, -1650. If you find some cards inconsistent with your beliefs, such as the appearance of the Cro-Magnon man in -40,000, just pull them out.

Here are the particulars for two other Timeline card games pictured above:
  • Timeline Inventions - Includes 109 small invention-themed cards. Examples:
    • The invention of the postage stamp - 1840
    • The invention of (eye) glasses - 1299
    • Public access to the internet - 1990
    • The invention of chewing gum - 1872
  • Timeline Historical Events - 110 small (world) event-themed cards. Examples:
    • 1st crossing of the Atlantic in an airplane - 1927
    • The fall of the Western Roman Empire - 476
    • 1st ancient Olympic games - -776
    • 1st voyage around the world - 1522
The manufacturers suggest mixing cards from two or all three versions. 

Try this:
  • Play alone. After multiple games you will start to remember the dates. 
  • Simplify the game by playing alone and creating a timeline by looking at the dates. Take several cards and line them up in front of you, date side up, in chronological order. Memorize them. Narrow it down by taking cards from only one century at a time. Keep adding and memorizing a few cards at a time to this line.
  • Use the cards as a sorting activity - put all 1900s in one pile, all 1800s in another pile, etc.
  • Play a game with cards from only one or two centuries, adding cards from new centuries as you learn.
  • Deal the cards one-handed by holding a small stack in the non-dominant hand and pushing off the top card with the thumb. Easier to do with smaller cards than regular sized cards.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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