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.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


A bingo game that will make you think (about money)!

Work on identifying and counting coins, visual discrimination, visual closure, spatial relations, figure ground, visual scanning, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, socialization skills, executive functioning skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 30 player game cards, 40 clue cards.

I was introduced to JINGO several years ago when I bought Jingo Thanksgiving. Jingo is a line of bingo games which are more educational than your typical call-and-cover bingo games. For instance, the Thanksgiving game came with 36 question cards that covered Thanksgiving history and traditions. Instead of calling numbers, the caller reads a question and players cover the answer (if they have it) on their bingo card. 

Money JINGO covers coin identification, adding coins, and three questions that require figuring change. The materials are all made out of heavy-weight paper and none of them are laminated. The JINGO playing card measures 8.5 x 11, it is a 5 x 5 grid, and there is a free space in the middle. The question/clue cards are printed 10 on a page, they are perforated and they will need to be torn or cut apart before playing. Each question/clue card is printed with one question/clue, and the answer (with matching picture) is also on the same side of the card so the players cannot see it. The bingo card, as you can see above, has either coins or a number in each space. No bingo chips or tokens for covering the squares are included. Coins would be an appropriate token for this game, but you could also use paperclips, dried beans or any other small item you have a lot of. The object is to be the first to complete a predetermined pattern by covering squares on your card. 

Here is an example of the clues on the cards:
  • One quarter, one dime, and one nickel are worth this many cents (40).
  • Find the grouping of money that is worth 16 cents (image of nickel, dime, and penny).
  • Find the grouping of money that is worth $5.05 (image of five dollar bill and nickel).
  • You buy a candy bar that costs 80 cents. You pay the clerk with four quarters. What will your change be (image of two dimes)?
There are only three problems like the last one above. Most of them are pictures of money or word description of money (example two dimes and a nickel). Individual will need to be able to do mental math or figure answer together on paper before finding on the card.

Be the first player to cover all spaces needed for a win.

Set up:
Choose a person to be the caller. Give each player a playing card and a handful of markers. Shuffle the calling cards and give them to the caller. Choose a pattern for the win (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, four corners, letter X etc.)

The caller will ask one question from a calling card at at time. Each person will scan his card for the answer, placing a marker on the square if he finds it. If the players need help, the caller can show (or describe) the picture on the card. Go until someone wins and yells JINGO.

Giving out small prizes is always a fun bonus. Maybe keep the coins that were used to play. 

A colorful playing card, clue cards with pictures, an instruction sheet with examples of bingo designs.

Jingo has a large line of bingo games with quite a few holiday games which are fun for get-togethers. I have also blogged about Back to School JINGO, Thanksgiving JINGO and Community JINGO.

Try this:
  • Hold several tokens in the hand, bringing them to the fingertips one at a time to cover the squares.
  • When cleaning up, pick up the tokens one at a time and squirrel them in the palm without dropping. How many can you hold?
  • Make a copy of the black and white card (comes with the game) which shows the different bingo patterns (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, four corners). Cut them out and display the one you are using during a game as a pattern for all to see.
  • Figure out the answer to the story problems as a group to make sure that they are covering the correct answer.
  • Use letters as your patterns. You can play for O (border), X, N, L, P, C, E, F, G, H, I, S, T, U, Y and Z.
  • Visualize the letter you are going for as a bingo and do not mark pictures that aren't part of the letter.
  • Pick the pieces off the card after each game, squirreling them in the palm. How many can you hold without dropping any?
  • Stop occasionally and check the player's card. Ask them to point out places where they only need one more to win a bingo. Or point out possible bingos and ask how many more will be needed to win or which squares will need markers to win in that direction etc.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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