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, May 18, 2016

Papa Bear

 Work on visual discrimination, visual memory, spatial relations, visual scanning, manual dexterity, color recognition, logic, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 42 cards (12 bear cards, 30 direction cards)
Ages 5+, 2-5 players
A game of quick color comparisons. Papa Bear's son is preparing to go out and dons a hat, a coat, and boots, but he keeps choosing the wrong colors. Papa Bear gives him instructions on what color combinations to wear. You job is to scan 12 cards with pictures of the same bear wearing the same three pieces of clothing in different color combinations, and find the correct one. The game consists of cards only. They are heavy card stock and should hold up well. There are 12 cards with pictures of bears with a small number in the top left hand corner.  The rest are direction cards and have a number on the back and two articles of clothing on the front.
To set up the game, place the twelve bear cards in random order in a circle and place the direction cards, number side up, in a pile in the middle of the circle.
Once the game is set up, choose either the beginner, advanced, or expert game to play as described below:
  • Beginner - Announce the number on the top card. In the picture above it is 5. Look for the bear card with the number 5. Now flip the card over and you will see two articles of clothing with arrows between them. This means that the colors for those two articles of clothing are now reversed. Leave this card laying on top of the pile. The bear #5 is wearing a green hat, a red jacket, and yellow boots. Let's say the two colors to be reversed are for a jacket and boots. The third clothing item will always stay the same color. Therefore we are now looking for a bear with a green hat, a yellow coat, and green boots. That turns out to be bear number 11. The first person to identify the correct card wins that direction card. The bear cards stay in the same circle for the entire game. The first person to win 5 direction cards wins the game.
  • Advanced - Set up as above but instead of leaving the direction card on top of the pile, place it over the bear. Players will have to remember what the bear was wearing and play from memory.
  • Expert - Set up as above but instead of the direction cards showing the number on top, have them stacked to show the clothing that is reversed. Memorize the clothing to be reversed and then turn the card over to find the bear number. 
 Try this:
  • Start with just a few bear pictures. Ask the individual to identify all bears with one attribute, such as green hats. When he can do that, then go to two attributes, such as a green hat and a red jacket. Then move to all three colors.
  • Lay a set of cards on the table: any bear card, any direction card, and the correct reversed card. Talk about how the third card reversed the two colors. Then set up two cards again and let the player find the third card. Do this until the player is comfortable reversing colors.
  • Set up two cards as above. Ask the player to remember the colors in sequence for the bear card. Turn it over and ask him to find the correct bear card to finish the puzzle.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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