-->

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 17, 2016

Barnum's Animals Crackers Game


Work on visual discrimination, visual memory, figure ground, visualization, manual dexterity, tactile perception, stereognosis, values, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 9 jumbo plastic animal crackers, 18 animal zoo cards, bag

This game caught my attention because it took me back to when we ate animal crackers as kids. This game is based on the same animals and the large plastic crackers look like the original edible crackers.


The game box even looks like the animal cracker box, down to the ribbon handle. Each of the cards has an animal (adult and baby) pictured on one side. There are nine different types of animals and two identical cards of each. The cards are a little thicker and therefore a little easier to handle. The red object in the image above is a cloth bag to put the animals in. There are several simple games you can play:

Match two and get the animal - Mix and place the cards face-down on the table. Turn over two. If you made a match, take the cards and the matching big plastic animal. If you did not make a match, turn the cards back over in the exact same spots and it is the next player's turn. Play until all sets have been taken. The person with the most large cookies (sets) wins.

Draw from the bag and match 2 - Place the plastic animal crackers in the bag and draw out one without looking. Turn two cards and try to match. The first person to make the match that matches the cookie wins the cookie. Draw another cookie out and repeat.

Draw from the bag and match 1 - Draw a plastic animal cracker from the bag without looking. Turn over one card. If it matches the plastic cookie, you win the cookie. If not, put the cookie back in the bag and the next player plays.

Match the card to the cookie - Turn one of each set face up on the table. Hand the player one plastic cookie and ask him to find the matching card.

Feel the cookie and match the card - Turn one card from each set face-up on the table and put the cookies into the bag. Put your hand in and feel one cookie. Look at the pictures on the cards if you need help guessing which animal it is just by feel. If your guess is correct, take the cookie. If not, put it back in the bag.

Plastic animal crackers in the box include tiger, lion, polar bear, elephant, giraffe, gorilla, hippo, zebra, seal

Try this:
  • Turn each card over where it lies, do not pull it to the edge of the table to pick it up.
  • Place the cards on the table by holding the deck in the non-dominant hand and pushing each card off the top with the thumb. Then grab the card with the dominant hand to place on the table.
  • Munch on an original box of animal crackers as you play.
  • Start with fewer sets and work your way up to eight as the individual progresses.
  • Only put one or two cookies in the bag to feel so you have enough room to move your hand around.
  • Feel the cookies while looking at them before putting them into the bag. Show how to move your hand and fingers over the cookie to identify front from back, head from tail, and individual features such as legs, head, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment.