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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 30, 2017

Wash My Pants


Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, isolating fingers to thumb, web space development, coordinated use of both hands, social interaction skill, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 4 laundry basket cards, 36 pairs of (under)pants, 1 washing machine and stand, 1 spinner

Interesting thing, the name of the game on the box in the image above (from Amazon) is Wash My Pants. My box front, which appears to be the same game, says Wash My Underpants.


When I first saw the box I thought Wash My Underpants was a pretty tacky name, but then wondered if it might be a game to teach kids about sorting laundry. Nope, it's a simple game with a laundry theme. I'm glad they changed the name. I cringe at the thought of a parent asking a child what they did in OT today, getting that response, and wondering what was going on. Unless you are actually working on doing the laundry, that would, and should, raise some questions. So from here on out, no matter which version you might have, I am going to just call them "pants". The object of the game is to be the first person to fill your laundry basket with nine pair of clean pants. When I say pair of pants, I am not referring to two matching pieces, like pair of socks. There are 36 pieces total, six different shapes, and none of them match in color and design. To set up the game, place the washing machine front on the stand and turn all 36 pair of pants face down on the table. Give each person a clothes basket card. Distribute the pants evenly between all players. Players turn all their pants face-up. Each player, in turn, will start his turn by spinning the spinner to find out what he will be doing. Here are the options on the spinner:
  • Color block - red, green, purple, yellow, pink, and blue. One space for each color. If you land on one of these colors and you have a pair of pants with that color, place them into the washer.
  • Star - If you land on this space you can trade one of your pair of pants for someone else's. Not sure of the purpose of this. Maybe so that you will have a set ready to play.
  • Bubbles - There are three spaces with bubbles and if you land on one, yell "Wash my pants!" Then take out any pants that are in the washer and place them on your basket card.

Keep playing until one person has filled his laundry basket with pants and is declared the winner. There are six different shapes of pants, and six of each shape, each one a different color. Because of the way the spinner is made, it works best when it is sitting flat on the table, but you can also use it with two hands.

Try this:
  • Sort the pieces by shape.
  • Play in conjunction with teaching another skill such as dressing, putting dirty clothes into a laundry basket, or doing laundry.
  • Use smaller wooden clothespins and clip pairs of pants onto the side of a box or across a cord you have strung.
  • Play a cooperative game and fill all four laundry baskets together, taking turns with the spinner. Place the pant pieces flat on the table and pick them up where they lie, without the aid of pulling them to the edge of the table.
  • Isolate different fingers to flick the arrow on the spinner.
  • Make sure the player makes a nice O in the web space before flicking.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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