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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Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Includes gross motor activities.
Work on eye-hand coordination, motor planning, gross motor, balance, coordination, executive function, manual dexterity, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: game board, 6 pawns, sand timer, 230 cards
I hadn't heard of Wiggity Bang game company before today. I went to their site and they were sold in 2012 to another toy company, so that's probably why. I played the game before reading the directions, and as I sifted through the cards and looked at the pawns, everything seemed unrelated. Their website calls their games "random fun", and I think that sums it up nicely. The game board is smaller than the typical game board with a very simple design, and the path has 15 spaces from start to finish. The theme of the game board is a factory, and the object of the game is to be the first to make it through the FlapDoodle factory. There are three different types of game cards that you will draw to get you through the factory. They are:
  • FlapDoodle cards - These cards will ask you to answer silly questions or perform silly stunts. Here are examples:
    • Name 3 good reasons you think it's OK to stay up past your bedtime.
    • Name 8 different flavors of ice cream.
    • Name a word that rhymes with pickle.
    • Pretend you are a human pretzel. Twist yourself into a pretzel shape and then say, "Give me some mustard!"
    • Pick another player. Until your next turn, end each sentence that player says with, "That's what you think!"
    • Spread your arms out as wide as they will stretch, close your eyes and touch the tip of your nose with your pointer finger.
    • Make each of the following faces without laughing:
      • sad face
      • angry face
      • sleepy face
  • Mr. SourFace cards - Mr. SourFace is a cranky old man and he will tell you to move back spaces on the board. Here are examples:
    • Mr. SourFace says that all the lettuce fell out of his taco! Move back 1 space.
    • Mr. SourFace says that if your name has letters in it, you must move back 1 space.
  • Ms. Goody Gumdrops cards - Ms. Goody Gumdrops is a happy gal and will help you advance on the board. There are two Ms. Goody Gumdrops spaces on the board. Every time you land on one, draw one of her cards and do what it say to move forward. Here are some examples:
    • Ms. Goody Gumdrops says that 2 is a crowd. The next time another player lands on the same space as you, you may move ahead 2 spaces.
    • Ms. Goody Gumdrops thinks exercise is good. The next time a player stands up, you may move ahead 1 space if you stand up too and do 4 jumping jacks.
To play, set up the board and stack the cards, face-down, next to it. Set the timer nearby. Figure out who will start and that person draws a card. Do what it says and you will advance the number of spaces indicated on the card, usually one or two. Take turns drawing cards and the first one to make it to the finish space first is the winner. The timer is included because some of the challenges are asked to be completed before the timer runs out. I would definitely go through the cards and "stack the deck" before using this in therapy so that you have cards that are appropriate to the person and situation. Some cards require you to get up and go get things (a doll, food, etc.). Some cards are more cognitively demanding, such as "You are a tired old sailor who has traveled around the world. In your best sailor voice, name 7 places you've traveled to before the timer runs out." Some cards may not be safe for some, such as doing jumping jacks. Always consider safety first.
Try this:
  • Allow a person to draw another card if he chooses one that he does not feel comfortable performing or does not know the answer to.
  • Use more Mr. SourFace cards to extend the game, and fewer for a faster game.
  • Skip the timer to reduce time pressure.

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