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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Monday, March 27, 2017

Here, Kitty, Kitty!

40 tiny kitties for manipulation... M-E-O-W!
Work on visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, following directions, executive functions, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, fine motor precision, socialization skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 40 small kitties, 6 home game boards, deck of instruction cards
They had my attention at 40 itty bitty kitties. Even if I never played the game, I could find a way to use those kitties! :)  Anything that small just cries out for in-hand manipulation. LOL As a matter of fact, those 40 kitties can all fit in the palm of my hand at once. So cute! There are three different poses and four different colors (orange, black, white, grey).
Moving beyond the kitties, this game is all about following directions. During each and every turn, players must follow directions to perform two actions. Actions involve one or two steps each and there are three actions to choose from. It is your choice which two you will perform from this list: 
  • Move one kitty one space.
  • Play one card.
  • Discard 1-3 cards from your hand.
 The ultimate goal is to have the most points at the end of the game. There are different ways to make points and I will show an image of the scoring card below instead of typing it all out here. Points will be earned from where your cats are located on your property at the end of the game (most points for being in the house) and the color combination of your cats. You will need to use some strategy to win, but it is more dependent on the luck of the draw of your cards. To set up the game, place all the kitties in a neutral space (the neighborhood), deal each player two or three cards (depending on how many people are playing) and let each player choose a home game board. Your home board will picture your house in three sections: yard, porch, inside the house. Going from one section to the next counts as one move (for instance from the neighborhood to the yard or from the yard to the porch). Players now take turns performing two actions (as noted above). Move kitties from the neighborhood onto your property and try to set back your opponents. Players will draw cards and can play them on their turn to help or hinder. Examples of cards are:
  • Move 2 cats from your porch to your house.
  • Steal 1 cat of your choice from another player's house and put it in your house.
  • Move all cats of a single color from your yard to your porch.
  • One player of your choice must move 2 cars from their house to their porch.
  • One player of your choice must move 1 cat from their yard to the neighborhood.
  • Prevent one cat from being moved by another player.
At the end of your turn, draw up to the number of cards you were dealt in the beginning. As the game progresses, the players move the kitties from the neighborhood to their yard, then to their porch, then into their house. The game is over when the last card is drawn. Here is a picture of a game in progress:
Try this:
  • Skip the game and play with the cats (you knew I'd say that, didn't you?) Place one or more cats in the players palm and ask him to bring them to the fingertips one at a time, orient, and stand on their feet.
  • Hide the kitties in theraputty or play-doh.
  • Sort the kitties by color.
  • Forget the scoring and make up another criteria to win, such as most cats in your house, or most cats on your property.
 If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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