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.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Magnetic Dinosaur Bingo

A magnetic 4 X 4 bingo game.
Work on spatial relations, figure ground, visual discrimination, visual closure, manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, web space development, focus and attention, social interaction skills, fine motor precision, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 4 double sided dinosaur bingo cards, 48 magnetic markers, 1 dinosaur spinner

Bingo - a great visual perceptual game that is available in almost unlimited themes. This one is different from others I have blogged about because it is magnetic. The card is a 4 X 4 grid and each card has 16 dinosaur images. The yellow markers stick to the bingo card once laid in place. This could be good for those who may have a slight tremor or lack the precision to get and keep the bingo markers in place on the card. The downside is that those yellow markers are very small and may be hard to pick up or it may be more difficult to see when you have a bingo because they only partially cover the image. The arrow on the spinner is very easy to move. Other bingo games have one match to each picture on the card (when playing with balls, cards, etc.), but using a spinner is different. The spinner arrow may stop on the same dinosaur over and over, and after you cover it once you will have to ignore it when it comes up again. There are 16 different dinosaur pictures and each bingo card has one of each in different locations on the card. In-hand manipulation does not work well for holding multiple markers because they stick together.

Try this:
  • Watch for a bingo in one direction only - horizontal, vertical or diagonal - until the individual is able to watch two, then three directions simultaneously.
  • Make a nice rounded web space before flicking the arrow on the spinner.
  • Use different finger-to-thumb combinations when flicking the arrow.
  • Make a copy of one of the cards and use a bright marker to highlight a bingo orientation that you are working on - horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Place it in the playing area for reference.
  • Stop occasionally and check the players card. Point out possible bingos and ask how many more will be needed to win or which squares will need markers to win in that direction etc.
  • Leave the spinner on the table, near the bingo card, if the individual will need it for a reference to match the picture.
  • Prop the card on a vertical surface to play.
  • Start with a 3 X 3 bingo version and then move to the 4 X 4 if the individual has difficulty seeing when he has a 4 X 4 bingo.
  • Watch for different letters instead of the stand vertical or horizontal such as L, O, Z, N, U, C.
  • Visualize the letter you are going for as a bingo and do not mark pictures that aren't part of the letter.
  • Pick the pieces off the card after each game, squirreling them in the palm. How many can you hold without dropping any?
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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