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!

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

ABC Coookies

There are so many ways to play that these alphabet cookies will never get stale.
Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations/position in space, visual closure, visual form constancy, working memory, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, finger flicking, web space development, thumb opposition, coordinated use of both hands, isolating fingers, using a spinner, fine motor precision, executive functions, letter recognition, sequencing, simple spelling, social interaction skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration nd participation
In the jar: 42 ABC cookies, 45 game cards, 2 spinners, 1 game guide
An activity based on identifying letters, sequencing letters, and spelling three-letter words. The letters are thick, solid, and made from a rubbery plastic material (sorry I'm not better at identifying materials). Each letter cookie is "frosted" with a different color - pink, green, blue, or yellow. The cookies are lowercase letters and the cookie jar also includes a few extra high frequency letters (42 cookies/letters total). The cards are all doubled sided, have colored borders, and are laminated. The three types of cards are:
  • Green/red borders - Single letter on the green side, three letter sequence with one letter missing on the red side. There are only 18 cards, so not enough for one of each letter in the alphabet.
  • Blue/orange borders - Three letter uppercase sequence on the blue side, three letter lowercase sequence on the orange side.
  • Purple/yellow borders - A simple picture with a three letter word on one side, the same picture with two letters and a blank space for the first letter on the purple side. 
The spinners are small, made of a card stock, have six spaces each and can easily be held in one hand.The arrows spin freely.
There is a small instruction booklet enclosed that outlines four games as below:
  • Quick Cookie
    • Pass out two orange cards to each player. Players race to find the cookies that match all six letters on their card.
    • Play the same game with the blue bordered cards. Then turn the cards over and check your cookies to see if they match.
    • Place a stack of red cards by the cookies. Race to see who can find the missing letter. Turn the card over to check your cookie.
  • Three in a Row - Pass out two cards with orange borders to each player. First player to match all the letters on one card wins. Place all cookies in the jar and get the number spinner. Each turn the player spins the spinner and follows the directions:
    • Spin 1 or 2 - Take that number of alphabet cookies. If they match letter(s) on your card(s), place them on the card.
    • Spin put back. Put one of your letters back in the cookie jar.
    • Spin trade. Either put one of your cookie back in the jar and take another one or trade a cookie with another player
  • Fill in the Missing Letter - Pass out three cards with red borders to each player. Use the number spinner. Play per instructions for Three in a Row. First player to fill in all three blanks correctly wins.
  • Match a Beginning Sound - Put all the cookies on the playing surface face-up. Give each player three cards with purple borders. Use the alphabet spinner. Each player will spin and take one of the letters from the section the arrow points to and places it on one of his cards to make a word. Turn the card over to check if it is correct. Winner is first player to collect all the letters he needs to make the three words.
Try this:
  • Cup the hand and hold the spinner flat and by the fingertips in the non-dominant hand and spin the arrow with the dominant hand. Now, keeping the spinner in the fingertips, rotate the whole spinner so that you turn it all the way around, once.
  • Try isolating different fingers to spin the arrow.
  • Designate one person as the "spinner" to get more practice.
  • Practice flicking the arrow instead of pushing it with the finger.
  • Place the cookies one at a time in the child's palm, upside down and backward. Ask them to turn the cookie in-hand to the correct position before setting it down.
  • Place the cookies in a pile and line up the letters in a-b-c order. Only start with a few letters at a time for an easier game. Add the necessary letters a few at a time as you go.
  • Pile the letters on the table making sure that many of them are upside down and not oriented correctly before starting a game to work on figure ground, visual closure, visual form constancy. Pick them up and turn in-hand to correctly orient before using.
  • Place the cookies on the table, bottom side up. Play a game of matching, turning over two at a time looking for matching colored frosting. Start with only a few for an easier game and add more as the child's skills grow.
  • Line the letters up on the table, frosting side down. Can the child recognize them backwards?
  • Scatter the letters on the tabletop. Use them to spell simple words. Spell the words on the cards with the yellow border.
  • Sort the letters into four piles based on frosting color.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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