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, June 4, 2017


Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, visual memory, auditory memory, visual form constancy, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, executive function, process skills, social interaction skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 97 cards, 12 animals, 8 barns, animal grab bag
If you like games filled with fun pieces, check this one out. Snorta takes place in a barnyard, and the box is filled with miniature barns, whimsical barnyard animals, and matching cards. Once the action begins, it will not only look like a barnyard, it will sound like one too.
The object of the game: Be the first to get rid of all your animal cards.
Set up the game: Give each person one barn. Put all 12 animals in the bag. Each player puts his hand into the bag, takes out one animal, and places it near his barn. Shuffle and deal all cards face-down so that each player has the same amount. Set any extra cards back in the box. In turn, each player will now make the sound of his animal and place his barn over it so no one else can see it. Go around once more and each player makes the sound again to help all remember. Each player picks up his deck of cards and places them face down in one hand.
Play the game: Players take turns flipping and playing the top card from their deck. Each player will be building a pile of cards in front of him, in plain sight of all other players. Once a card is played that matches another card that is on top of someone's pile, the game comes to a stop. The two players with matching cards will race to make the sound of the other player's animal that is hidden in their barn. All other players remain silent. I am going to quote directly from the instructions here, so I don't confuse anyone:
Example - Player A, who has a pig in his barn, plays an owl card. Player E, who has a duck in his barn, already has an owl card on top of his stack of table cards. Since their cards match, Player A races to say "quack" before Player E says "oink". It is important to note that the two players who match cards make the sound of the animal in each other's barn rather than the sound of the animal on the cards.
The first of the two players involved in the match who can make the sound of the other player's hidden animal wins that match. He gives all of the cards on his pile to the other player, who adds them to the bottom of his deck. The first player to run out of cards is the winner.
Try this:
  • Hold your cards in your non-dominant hand and push them off the top with the thumb. Or, place your deck on the table top and lift each card off the top to play, being careful not to slide other cards off the deck or topple the deck.
  • Play with the animals and barns and practice making animals sounds before beginning the game.
  • After playing the game and players are familiar with the animals, ask a player to put his hand in the bag and, without sight, feel an animal and guess which one it is. Pull it out and see if it is correct. Play until all 8 animals have been identified. Line up the 8 animal cards to look at while you are guessing if help is needed.
  • Choose two animals and sort out all matching cards. Mix these cards and put the pile face-up in front of the player. Place one animal on each side of this pile to indicate which cards go where. Ask the individual to sort the cards into two piles. Pick each card off the deck without sliding others off the pile.
  • Use a straw or puffer to blow small pom poms across the table and into the barns.
  • Line up several cards on the table and ask the player to line up the matching animal next to the card.
  • Choose one animal. Place the deck of cards, face-up, in the non-dominant hand. Push the cards off the deck one at a time, using the thumb, and sort them into two pile: 1) matches the animal or 2) does not match the animal.
  • Place two or more different animal cards in a line in front of the player. Give him one animal and ask him to find the matching card.
  • Play a game of memory using 24 cards (2 for each of the 12 animals).
  • Play a matching game by placing all the cards face-up on the table. Present one animal and ask the player(s) to find all the matching cards.
  • Scatter the animals cards on the table, face-up. Place them upside-down, sideways, and partially covered by other cards. Present the player(s) with one animal and ask them to find all the matching cards.
  • Line up the eight barns and push one animal inside each.
  • Sit across from the player. Line up several animals. Ask the player to memorize the order, running through the sequence verbally to help him remember. Now cover the animals with barns, the opening toward you so the player cannot see the animals inside. Name an animal or make an animal sound and ask the player to life the barn that he thinks is covering the matching animal.
  •  Start by naming the animals instead of making the sounds if the player has trouble remembering the sounds.
 If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below. 

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