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 2, 2016


Work on visual discrimination, recognizing color, recognizing numbers, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, coordinated use of both hands, in-hand manipulation, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation,

In the box: 1 UNO Spin wheel (This version is smaller than the regular UNO Spin), 1 storage clip, 108 UNO Spin cards, 1 reference sheet
Ages 7+, 2-10 players

One of my favorite UNO games in a portable travel version. The spinner is much smaller than the regular version and so are the cards. The spinner includes special travel themed icons and rules, as well as a clip that snaps across the wheel so that the cards will not fall out as you transport it. First the cards.  

The include the original UNO cards of draw two, reverse, skip, wild, numbers 1-9, and draw four. On five number cards of each color, there is a special swirling pattern around the number. When one of these cards is played, the next player is required to spin the wheel for his turn. More about that in a minute. Other special number cards include a picture with the number. These cards are significant when spinning the wheel. The different pictures are things you might see while traveling, including a gas pump, food, lodging, taxi, boat, and plane. Now for the UNO Spin Wheel (hopefully this will bring it all together).  As noted above, if the person before you plays a spin card (with special swirl), you must spin the wheel and follow the directions for the space you land on. Here are the wheel's special instructions:
  • Gas, Food, Lodging – Draw until you get a number card with a gas, food, or lodging symbol
  • Scenic View – View the hand of the player of your choice
  • Cash machine – Draw until you get a green card. You’ll need some of that green stuff (money) for your trip
  • Phone Call – Call for a Wild card. Ask person by person until you (hopefully) find one.
  • UNO Spin  - All players race to yell UNO SPIN. The first one who does, gets to discard a card.
  • Escalator - Discard one card of each color in your hand.
  • Taxi, Boat, Plane - Discard all taxi, boat, and plane cards.
  • Luggage - Choose a color in your hand and discard all of that color.
  • Recycle - Exchange your whole hand. Count your cards, discard them, and draw that many new cards
Spinner with miniature cards.

When you are down to one card you must yell UNO, warning the other players that you will soon go out. The first person to play his last card is the winner. There is also a larger version of this game which I will blog about shortly. 

To read about UNO card-only games, check out my post UNO - Who Knew?

Try this:
  • Deal by holding part of the deck in your hand and pushing each card off the top with your thumb to drop in front of each player.
  • Take out all the special cards and sort the cards into four piles, by number.
  • Take out all the special cards and sort the cards into nine piles, by number.
  • Hold the bottom of the spinner in the non-dominant hand and spin it with the dominant hand.
  • Start simple by using only the number cards and introduce the special cards one at a time.
  • Start simple by playing with the cards only and when doing that well, then introduce the spinner.
  • Ask for only one attribute at a time, such as 'do you have a nine', then 'do you have a green' for those who cannot follow if you ask for 'a nine or a green'.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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