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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, May 28, 2017

I SPY Go Fish Card Game

Four I SPY games may help develop visual perceptual skills.
Work on figure ground, visual form constancy, visual memory, visual closure, spatial relations, visual scanning, visual discrimination, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, social interaction skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation 

In the box: 48 cards, directions for 4 games

Oversized Go Fish cards come with directions for four games. The I SPY brand is famous for designing games that require coordinating several visual perceptual skills to play successfully. The cards measure 3" L x 4.5" H and are not laminated. The pictures for a set will not match exactly. The central item is the same, but may be bigger or smaller or pictured from a different perspective or orientation. The background and surrounding objects will also be different.
LEFT - Set of bees.    MIDDLE - Set of chairs.    RIGHT - Set of bikes.

The four games are:
  • I SPY GO FISH - Show the cards to all players and make sure they can name the central objects (truck, fish, ball, helicopter, etc.) Then shuffle the cards and deal seven face-down to each player. Place the rest of the cards face-down in the middle of the table and shuffle them around so they resemble a "puddle" of cards. Hold your cards in your hand so that only you can see them. If you have any matching sets (of 2), place them on the table in front of you. In turn, you will ask one other player if they have one specific card in their hand. This one card will make a match with a card that you already have in your hand. For instance, you ask "John, do you have a dinosaur?" If John says no, you must "go fish", which means draw a card from the puddle of cards in the middle of the table. If you get the card you asked for, place the set on the table and ask a player for a different card. If you don't get a match from fishing, your turn is over. If a player totally runs out of cards, he may pick one from the puddle and keep playing. After all the cards from the puddle are gone, the player with the most cards is the winner.
  • I SPY Riddles - Place several cards on the table. Zero in on one card, without pointing it out to the others, and start naming the items on the card.  For example, "I spy a fish, I spy a button, I spy a coin." All players scan the cards to see who can be the first to find the card that is being described. The winner points it out and takes the card off the table. Play several rounds and the player with the most cards at the end is the winner. Place more cards face-up for a more difficult game and fewer cards for an easier game. 
  • I SPY Matching - Place all the cards face-up on the table. At go, all players reach at the same time to gather 2-set matching pairs. The player with the most sets when all the cards are gone is the winner. Play a one player game, no speed required. Place fewer cards at a time for beginners and add cards as the player(s) gets better at the game. There are 48 cards, meaning 24 sets.
  • I SPY Memory - Place cards face-down in a grid formation on the tabletop. Players take turns turning over two cards. If you make a match, take the cards. If you don't make a match, turn them back over where they are. Players watch as other players turn cards and memorize where different pictures are so they can make sets. The matching cards will not be exactly alike. When all the cards have been taken, the player with the most cards is the winner. 
Try this:
  • Place two different cards face-up on the table. Give the player one card that will match one of the two cards. Ask the player to find the card from the two that matches.
  • Mix and then pile the cards, stacking some face-up, some face down, upside-down, etc. Ask the player to hold the deck in the non-dominant hand and place all the cards face-up and right-side-up in a pile. Push the top card off with the thumb and take with the dominant hand. Will require flipping, rotating, etc. in-hand with the dominant hand. The cards are a little bigger, so may be too difficult for small hands.
  • Practice fanning the cards by holding several in the non-dominant hand and pushing them apart using the thumb.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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