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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.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hullaballo

Classic motor planning and gross motor fun.
 
 
Work on motor planning, core strengthening, balance, timed motor response, proprioceptive perception, vestibular perception, auditory perception, executive functioning, visual motor integration, visual discrimination, spatial relations/position in space, social interaction skills, values, play and leisure exploration and participation  
 
In the box: Talking console, 16 colorful play pads
 
One of my absolute favorite games for movement and motor planning. And the kids like it just as much as I do! First let me say that this is evidently an older version (image above) that I have. The new version at Amazon is labeled "Now with beginner & advanced modes." Mine, the one I am talking about in this review, only has one mode. The goal of the game is to follow the instructions given by the electronic console and to be on the correct play pad when the console says "FREEZE!". The play pads come in multiple shapes, including square, triangle, and circle, as well as colors including green, red, purple, yellow, and blue. Each play pad has a picture printed on it. The console has a power button on the bottom, a large red button to start the game on the top, and two smaller volume control buttons on the top. To set up the game, scatter the play pads around the play area. The play pads are large enough to easily see and stand on. I am not sure of the material, it seems like a thin layer of some type of heavy-duty plastic or rubber material adhered to a thin piece of foam. Whatever it is, it has held up well. To start a game, everyone goes to a purple play pad and stands on it. Next, turn on the power and then hit the large button on the top of the console. The console will give directions to move to different pads identified by various attributes (shape, color, category of printed picture), using different types of movements. For instance
  • Crawl to a triangle
  • Fly to a green pad
  • Hop to an animal
  • Spin to a musical instrument
  • Glide to a square
There are four of each attribute (four animals, four squares, four blue, etc). The number and order of moves are always random, and without warning the voice will suddenly say "FREEZE"! That signals the end of the round. Next the winner will be announced by "the winner is" and the sound of the winning picture, such as a monkey screeching or a piano playing. If anyone is standing on the correct play pad, the winner is then rewarded with special instructions such as "take a bow" or "do a happy dance". There is no way to know who the console is going to choose as the winner because there are always options. For instance, it may say go to an animal and there are three animals. It may then say FREEZE and pick one of the animals as the winner. A fun game all around for motor planning and gross motor movement. The company ensures 1,000s of game variations so each round is different.  
 
 
Requires three AA batteries, not included.
 
Try this:
  • Scatter the play pads close together for a less challenging game and farther apart for a more challenging game.
  • Play with the individual so that you can model the movement.
  • Play 1:1 or with a group.
  • Check to make sure that the individual can identify colors, shapes, and pictures before playing. They may need additional assist.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.


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