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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.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mind Your Manners

Teach basic manners for home, school, community as you play.
Work on basic manners, social interaction skills, manual dexterity

In the box: Game board, 100 manner cards, 6 pawns

This is a simple game that reinforces good manners. There is no role playing or questions to answer, simply reading the manner cards with a corresponding move ahead or backwards will reinforce good vs bad manners. The object of the game is to advance along the colored path, starting in the bottom left hand corner and be the first to cross the finish line at the top right hand corner. To set up, place the board on a flat surface and deal five cards to each player. The rest of the cards become the draw pile and are placed face down by the board. Each player chooses a pawn and places it in the lower left hand corner of the board at START. Each turn, players will place one card from their hand on the discard pile, follow the directions, and then draw a card to replace it. There is a number and symbol in the top left hand corner of each card that will tell you whether you will be moving forward (+) for good manners, or backward (-) for bad manners, and how many spaces. You may play the - cards on another player. If the player has a card with a ribbon on it, he may cancel the action and your turn is over. Here are a few card examples:
  • +9  You were a good sport about losing the game.
  • +4  You were kind to an animal.
  • +4  You were quiet during the movie. 
  • +4  You kept the sound from the radio soft so that only you could hear it.
  • -3  You forced your way to the front of the line.
  • -3  You tracked mud into the house.
  • -3  You bothered your neighbor.
  • -2  You tipped your chair back at the table.
The manner cards cover home, school, and community situations. There are many more good manner cards than bad manner cards so everyone can cross the finish line. There are also a few colored smiley face cards in the deck and matching smiley face pictures on the board. If you draw a smiley face, you may move ahead on the board to the next smiley face of that color, if there is one. If there is not, your turn is over. The board and cards are a little more lightweight than your average game, but the cards are coated with plastic.

Try this:
  • Make a game out of just the cards. Read a card and ask the players if it is a good manner or a bad manner. Don't let incorrect answers pass with just a "wrong answer" response. Explain and correct.
  • Eliminate the smiley face cards so that your only way to advance is related to manners cards.
  • Ask the players to explain why bad manners are bad. For example - You tracked mud into the house is bad manners because someone could slip on the wet mud and hurt themselves and it is inconsiderate of the person who will have to spend time cleaning it up.

If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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