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.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Give A Dog A Bone

A whimsical puppy-themed game that focuses on counting and color recognition.

Work on visual discrimination, simple counting and color recognition, visual scanning, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation, social interaction skills

In the box: 10 path squares, 12 plastic bones, 1 plastic dog, 4 individual doghouse game boards

Give A Dog A Bone is a counting and color recognition game that features charming illustrations of pups at play. The object of the game is to collect the most bones by landing on path squares that picture dogs with colorful scarves that match the color of your dog's scarf. To set up, place the 10 path squares side by side to create a path. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just line them up. Each player chooses a dog house that features one color (red, green, blue, yellow) and the bones are set to the side in a pile. Place the plastic dog on the squares at the end of the path.

In turn, each player will throw the biggest die I have ever seen and advance the plastic dog down the path the amount of squares that shows on the die. There are three types of path squares, with three different actions, that the player may land on:
  • Regular path square - There are eight of these squares and they feature from one to three dogs, a path, and possibly a bone or two. if a dog on the square is wearing a scarf the same color as your dog, look for bones on that square. If there are any, you may collect that many bones from the bone pile and place them on your dog house.
  • Bully bulldog path square - This square features a path and a bulldog. If you land on this path square, you must put one of the bones you have collected back into the bone pile. 
  • Burglar dog path square - This square features a path and a dog wearing a "burglar" mask. If you land on this path square, you may steal a bone from any other player's doghouse and place it in your doghouse.
At the end of each turn, the player will take all the path squares that are now behind the plastic dog and line them up at the other end of the path, thus extending the path with each turn. Players continue to follow the path until all the bones have been collected. Then each player counts his bones and the player with the most, wins.

Try this:
  • Cup both hands, place the die between them and shake.
  • Use a smaller die if this die is to big to handle or you want to practice shaking the die one-handed.
  • Set up the path, choose a dog color, and then look down the path, square by square, and point to each dog wearing your color of scarf.
  • Set up the path and then then fix your attention on one square. Tell the player to find a square with dogs wearing those color scarves. Ask them to visually scan the path to find the correct square.
  • Place one square in front of the player. Ask them to choose the doghouses that match the dogs in the tile and state each color.
  • Ask the individuals to hold a stack of path squares in the non-dominant hand and, pushing them off the stack one by one, place them in a path on the table using the dominant hand.
  • Scatter the path squares on the table. Ask the individual to create a path by placing the squares in a line as you call them. Identify them by color, number of dogs, activities of the dogs, etc.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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