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, April 16, 2017

Blunders Manners

It's ALL about the manners.
Work on manners (dining, at school, at home, in the community), social interaction skills  
In the box: Game board, story booklet introducing the Blunders kids, 4 pawns, 3 card decks (Dine, Play, At Home), 2 dice, 9 table setting cards
In this game featuring the Blunders' kids, manners matter. The Blunders are a family with four children. The kids attended the Mannerlys' pool party but ended up getting asked to leave because of their lack of manners. It will be your job to help them learn manners and get re-invited back to the neighbor's home. Pictured on the game board is a trail that winds through the neighborhood. It starts at the Blunders' home and passes the library, park, mall, school, and ends up back at the Mannerlys'. Players advance forward by correctly answering questions related to manners from question cards. Card types include the following:
  • At Home with the Blunders (purple cards) - Covers telephone etiquette, writing thank-you notes, how to be a polite host and guest, respecting adults, peers, and siblings, and personal responsibility.
  • Play with the Blunders (orange cards) - Covers manners at school, proper and confident introductions, the importance of not teasing, gossiping, or bullying, and how to get along with others.
  • Dine with the Blunders (green cards) - Covers table manners and dining etiquette both when eating at home and in a restaurant.
  • Table Setting Cards (yellow cards) - Players will use these cards to learn how to properly set a table.
To play, everyone places a pawn on START, at the Blunders' home. Taking turns, players throw the die and visually proceed that many spaces forward. The spaces on the board are color matched to the four different sets of question cards. The player is asked a question from a color card that matches the space. If the player gets the answer correct, he is then allowed to move forward to that space. If not, he stays where he is and his turn is over. Here are the types of questions that the players will encounter and an example of each:
  • Multiple Choice
    • When Brenda meets people not only does she not like looking them in the eye, she also feels weird about shaking hands. Why should Brenda shake hands?
      • To see if people have sweaty hands.
      • To see how strong they are.
      • To connect with other people and show she's confident and polite. 
  • Charades
    • Brenda loves to eat bread. Using the Main Course Plate and Bread/Salad Plate table setting cards, show where the bread plate should be placed in relation to the main course plate.
  • True/False
    • Becky was at the Mannerlys' house with Mary Beth. Becky wanted to play with her cat, Fritz, so she began to wander around the house by herself looking under beds and in closets. Because Becky is not snooping, it's okay for her to wander around the house.
      • FALSE. Becky should never roam around someone's house. She should stick with her friend and let her be the guide.
  • Scenario
    • What is one thing Billy is supposed to do before he sits down to the table to eat?
      • Possible answers: wash his hands; ask the host whether he could help with preparing dinner or setting the table; and take off his hat.
Each color card has some of each of the different types of questions. The first player to make it back to the Mannerlys' home, wins.
I've used this game a lot. A game can easily be played in a therapy session for me, and there are enough cards to play the game many times over. I don't bother with counting the spaces forward and waiting to see if the player answers the question correctly. If you are using this as a teaching tool, people are bound to answer some questions incorrectly and I don't feel they should be penalized for it. Use it as a learning point. So when I play, everyone advances on each of their turns. Then after one person makes it to the finish line, we keep playing until the other person, or all players, reach finish.
Back of the box.
Try this:
  • Skip the game board, just use the cards to teach.
  • Ask for true or false answers to each choice on a multiple choice question so the player will not have to try to remember the correct answer as you read through all the choices.
  • Use only one die instead of two for a longer game.
  • Skip matching the card to the space color you land on on the board. Instead, play a game of all scenario cards or all true and false.

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