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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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Animal Soup

A figure ground game featuring flip books.
Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, visual memory, working memory, visual scanning, manual dexterity, finger isolation, socialization skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: Game board, 4 flip books, 4 soup spoons, 1 soup bowl, 15 animal tokens, 1 die
The flip books make this figure ground game different from any other I've seen. Animal Soup features four whimsical animals (monkey, fish, cow, pig). Each animal has its own flip book and each page in the book is cut across the middle, allowing you to change just the top or bottom of each character, based on the throw of the die.
The object of the game is to collect the most tokens by being the first to spot the animal on the game board that matches the animal in your flip book. Each time you do so you will win one token. When the tokens have all been collected, the person with the most tokens wins the game. One thing I like about this game is that there is no downtime, everyone plays on every turn. To set the game up, place the board in the middle of the players, place the soup bowl in the middle of the board and put the round animal tokens in the bowl. Give each player one flip book and a spoon. Each flip book has five top halves and five bottom halves. Each half changes something different about the animal, such as adding hats, scarves, necklaces, hair, sunglasses, etc. Each flip book half also has a colored tab projecting off the edge of the page. The colors of these tabs match the colors on the die. To play, the first player throws the die. Based on the color that comes up on the die, each player chooses a tab of that color in his book, flips his book open, and immediately starts looking for the animal on the game board that matches the one in his book.The first player to spot his animal places his spoon into the soup bowl, points to the matching animal on the board, and yells "Animal Soup"! Other players stop looking, verify that he has found a match, and if so, that player (winner of the round) collects a token from the soup bowl. When the soup bowl is empty, the player with the most tokens wins the game. Each time the die is thrown the player can turn a page from the left to the right, or from the right to the left, his choice. If the player throws the die and it lands on the side with all four colors, he gets to choose the color everyone will flip. If the zany eyeball is thrown on the die, then all the flipbooks are exchanged between players. The die is large, very lightweight, and has stickers for each side.
A portion of the board.
Try this:
  • Skip the die and the tokens, just open a book and look for the animal. Then flip the top or bottom and find the next one, etc.
  • Teach the player to look for one attribute at a time. For instance, suppose you are looking for a monkey with a crown, sunglasses and necklace. As you scan the board, stop only at the monkeys. Then check the hat. If it's not the same, then move one. If it is then look for sunglasses. If it's not the same, move on. If it is, then look for a necklace.
  • Scan the board by the rings if the player cannot scan by sections.
  • Play I SPY just using the board. One person describes an animal he is looking at and the other player(s) search to find it.
  • Count the animals by attribute. For instance, go around the outer circle and count all the animals with a green hat. Go around the next inner circle and count all the animals wearing a necklace, etc.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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