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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, June 4, 2016

Othello

 
Work on in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, logic, spatial relations, figure ground, visualization, visual tracing, eye-hand coordination, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
 
In the box: 64 reversible discs, 1 playing board
Ages 8+, 2 players
 
Othello is one of those strategy games that takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. No fancy pieces or complicated rules to remember, it is very straightforward yet requires logic. The object of the game is to have the most discs on the board with your color face-up at the end of the game. To set up the game, assign a color to each player. Place four pieces in the middle of the board according to the directions (2 white sides up, 2 black sides up) and you are ready to go. Players take turns placing one disc on the board, if they can outflank their opponent in doing so. This means that by placing a disc somewhere on the board you are able to have your color disc at both ends of a row or column (horizontal, vertical, diagonal) that has your opponents discs in between. Once you place this disc, you can flip all of your opponents discs in between your end colors, to your color. If by chance you can play one disc that can outflank your opponent in two or even three directions (horizontal, vertical, diagonal), you get to turn all of your opponents discs that are outflanked in all directions. Think spatially for some of your most successful plays. Each player can place only one disc on his turn, but if he cannot outflank his opponent in at least one direction, he must pass his turn. The tide can turn over and over within one game. It can look like your opponent has the game all sewn up, and then a well placed disc on your turn can change the board to your advantage. You won't know the score until the last disc is played. Lots of opportunity to prcatice in-hand manipulation in one game.   

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