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, September 21, 2017

Kids Rule!

In the box: Game board, 216 question cards, pawns

This game may be useful to a limited extent, but you will need to sift through the cards before playing and pick out the ones you feel are appropriate. The front of the box says The First Game Where Kids Get to be the Parents and Now Kids Call the Shots! My first thought was that perhaps this was a game where you practice putting yourself in someone else's shoes, specifically your parents, and trying to see things from their point of view. The box also says it will be an opportunity for parents to discuss difficult topics with their kids. Sounds good so far. The game designers went to parents and asked for the toughest questions they have had to deal with, and then they went to students and asked for their answers to those questions. The game cards each have one question and three multiple-choice answers. One answer is highlighted in yellow and is the "correct" answer, the one the majority of the kids chose as correct. ALL answers are from kids. Therefore, in many cases, you are going to read three incorrect answers and pick one as "correct" to win. Now, because you will not want to leave your child with the idea that an incorrect answer is correct, these questions will require a discussion and a reason why the "correct" answer is not really the correct answer after all. However, the game is advertised as kids getting to call the shots and choose the answers, so if you are going to play it, can you really dispute it? So perhaps you might skip the game and just read some of the questions from the cards as discussion starters. Even some of the questions are inappropriate IMHO.

This game has low reviews on Amazon because there is an inappropriate question about kids downloading porn and others about the "birds and the bees" that reviewers felt were inappropriate for family game night, or just down right inappropriate. Here are a few examples of questions and answers with the game's "correct" answer in red:
  • In an argument to avoid doing chores again, your son uses a water hose to wash the dishes, flooding the kitchen. What action do you take?
    • Tell him that since he likes water so much, he can add cleaning the bathroom to his list of chores
    • Throw garbage on him, hose him down, and then ask him if he feels clean.
    • Make him wash the dishes every day for the next month.
  • You catch your son and his friends watching an X-rated movie channel. What course of action do you take?
    • Have your spouse deal with it.
    • Call the other kids' parents to let them know.
    • Turn the TV off, tell your son's friends to go home, then scold your son.
  • You find completed math homework on your child's desk that is not in her handwriting. A blank copy of the worksheet is underneath. How do you treat the situation?
    • Call the school and ask your daughter's teacher to deal with it.
    • Give your daughter extra math homework for a month.
    • Fill out the math worksheet with all incorrect answers.
  • At your daughter's slumber party the girls end up mooning cars on the local streets. How do you deal with it?
    • Call the police so that they can have a lesson on indecent exposure.
    • Tell them that mooning is a distraction and people could get into car accidents.
    • Laugh it off; it's harmless and funny.
  • You catch your son feeding the dog his brussel sprouts. What do you do?
    • Explain to him that brussel sprouts are not something you give to dogs.
    • Ask him to try one brussel sprout and if he doesn't like it, he doesn't have to eat any more.
    • Give your son a bowl of dog food and your dog a bowl of brussel sprouts.
  • Your 11-year old son asks if his friend Charlie can spend the night. When the friend comes over, you realize that Charlie is a girl. How do you react?
    • Let them sleep in the same room with the door open and a light on.
    • Let Charlie sleep over, but in a separate room.
    • Let Charlie stay for dinner, but take her home afterward.
IMHO, these answers make very plain why kids needs parents to teach and help guide their decision making, and a game that will reinforce otherwise is just not a good idea.

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