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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.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Candy Land Minnie Mouse


Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, eye hand coordination, spatial relations, manual dexterity, visual scanning, coordinated use of both hands, finger isolation, flicking fingers, counting, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: Game board, 3 movers (Minnie, Figaro, and Daisy), spinner

A Disney version of a game that has been around for a long time - Candy Land.  Like a lot of games today that have boards but are in smaller boxes, this board comes in two pieces, both folded in half. Unfold each piece and lie them side-by-side on a flat playing surface to create the board. Unlike the older versions of Candy Land that include color cards, this one has a spinner to tell you where to go. It is cardboard and the plastic arrow has the raised piece on end. Some of the colored spaces on the spinner have a white line about half way down (see below) to indicate that you move ahead two of those color spaces on the board, not just one. There are also four picture spaces on the spinner that require that you move either forward or backward on the board to the space with the matching symbol. The spinner is sturdy and the arrow moves freely.


To play, assemble the board and each player chooses a mover and places it where the path begins (bottom left corner) on the board. Taking turns, each player spins the spinner once and moves as directed, either 1) ahead to the next space of a specific color, 2) ahead two spaces of a specific color, or 3) either forward or backward to the space with the symbol to match the symbol on the spinner. The first player to reach the end of the path (top left corner) wins the game.

Try this:
  • Hold the spinner flat in the non-dominant hand and spin with the dominant hand.
  • Suggest flicking the raised piece at the bottom of the arrow if the individual has trouble getting the fingers out of the way fast enough when flicking the flatter pointed end.
  • Stabilize the spinner with the non-dominant hand on the table top while spinning with the dominant hand.
  • Isolate different fingers to thumb to flick.
  • Look over the board before playing. There is a lot to see. Use it as an opportunity to ask spatial questions and/or work on figure ground. For instance, what kind of candy is in the top right hand corner of the board? Are the swirled suckers at the top or bottom of the board? How many cherries are in the picture? Is the chocolate mountain on the right or left side of the board?
  • Trace the path with finger and eyes before starting to familiarize the player with the path and its curves and shortcuts.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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