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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.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Snout Pass the Pig Card Game

Match the pig's landing positions with cards in your hand.
Work on visual discrimination, visual form constancy, spatial relations, palmar arch development, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, process skills, social interaction skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 1 miniature pig, 1 miniature score pad, 52 cards, 1 cloth carrying bag

From the makers of Pass the Pigs and Pass the Pigs Party Edition comes Snout, the Pass the Pigs card game. Right off the bat I could tell this wasn't going to be as exciting as the other games because it comes with only one pig. LOL. The pig is small and made from a rubbery plastic material. The score pad is tiny, maybe a good opportunity for those kids who write too big to practice sizing it down. The object is pretty straightforward: Throw the pig and match the way it lands with a card in your hand. Each card is worth points and the first player to score 100 points, wins. There are six different positions the pig can land in (on his back, side, feet, etc.) and each position is given points depending on how often they come up when thrown. Of course the game is based on luck, as you don't have any control over the cards you are dealt, the cards you draw, or how the pig will land. But it is an alternative to dice or cube games that require cupping the hand to aid in developing palmar arches. To play, deal 8 cards face down to each player. Place the rest of the deck, face down in the middle of the players. This becomes the pigsty (the draw pile). The first player throws the pig and all players check their hand for matching cards. All players discard a matching card, and if a player does not have a matching card, he draws a card from the pigsty. If it matches, the player throws it out. If it doesn't, the player adds it to his hand. The first player to run out of cards wins the round and scores the points from the cards all other players are holding in their hands. First player to 100 points is the winner.

Try this:
  • Cup both hands and place them together on top of each other (with the pig inside), then shake.
  • Keep the hand in a cupped shape just a little longer by counting to 10 or reciting "This Little Piggie..." before the pig can be thrown.
  • Ask the player to deal the cards by holding the deck in the non-dominant hand and pushing each card off the top with the thumb. Take it with the dominant hand and pass it.
  • Practice separating and picking cards off the top of the deck without sliding others off or toppling the pile.
  • Put the pig in the palm of the dominant hand and ask the player to bring it to the fingertips and orient to match the image on a card. Go through the deck of cards.
  • Use the opportunity to practice small writing and mental math.

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