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, April 5, 2018

Speedy Eddy

2-piece snails follow directions as they race in a circular garden.

Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, figure ground, manual dexterity, palmar arch development, in-hand manipulation, finger isolation, simple counting and adding, executive functioning skills, social interaction skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: Round game board, four 2-part snails, 2 dice, 4 belt chips

Somewhere in a secret vegetable garden, several snails are preparing to "run" a race. There are four snails (red, green, yellow and purple), and each snail is made up of 2 pieces - a body and a shell that sits on top of the body. There is a small magnet on the top of the snail and one on the bottom of the shell, so it is not difficult to move them as a unit. This is an all-wooden game played on a unique round game board. There are a total of 36 spaces on the board and each space is numbered. All snails start on the space on the outer edge marked Speedy Eddy, and the winning snail will be the one who arrives first on the space in the very center of the game board which pictures a trophy with the name EDDY. There are 2 dice, each with one, two, and three snails on them (see the image below). They are oversized and lightweight.

Be the first snail to cross the finish line to win the game.
Set up: 
Place the board on the table. Each player chooses one snail and places it, with it's shell, on or by the starting space. Place the dice and the belt chips near the game board.

Players take turns throwing both dice. Here are the rules for moving:
  • If a snail has a shell on when it begins its turn, it advances the number of squares that corresponds to the total of the 2 dice.
  • If the snail does not have a shell on, the player advances the body the number of squares shown on one of the dice. Then he moves any free shell the number of squares shown on the other die. NOTE: A snail may not have a shell if he has lost it due to landing on a Strong Winds space (explained below). There are 9 of these spaces on the board where one may lose his shell.
  • When a body and a shell end up on the same square, the snail must be assembled. (Does not have to be the same color.)
  • If after having played the first die, a snail has found a shell, then the completed snail advances the number of squares shown on the second die.
If you land on a special square, you must follow these directions:
  • Strong Winds - The shell must be moved off the snail and placed on the space that is indicated on the strong winds space. The body stays on the strong winds space.
  • Lucky Clover Field - You roll the dice and play again.
  • Belt - You collect one belt chip. Give that chip back the next time you land on a Strong Winds square and you will not lose your shell.
  • Mole Hole - The Mole Hole takes you to the square indicated in the hole.
  • Salad Leaves - The snail stops for a snack. Only a matching pair of dice will get you on your way again.
  • Flying Carrots - You just got knocked out by a flying carrot. You lose your next turn.
Play until someone, with or without a shell on its back, crosses the finish line and wins the game. The shell and snail colors do not have to match.

Try this:
  • Advance a snail around the board, following the path, before playing a game so the player will understand the direction they will be going.
  • Cup the hand before shaking or rolling the dice. They are a little oversized and it may be difficult for a smaller hand to shake them.
  • Use two hands and coordinate rolling one die in each hand before throwing.
  • Cup one hand, drop in the dice, then cup the other hand and place it on top of the first hand before shaking.
  • Point out a special space before playing a game, such as a Salad Leaves or Lucky Clover Leaves space. Then trace the path with a finger, from beginning to end, and count how many of those spaces you find.
  • Place the four snails on the table. Then place one shell at a time in the palm of the player. Ask him to bring the shell to the fingertips and orient it, in-hand, before placing it on the snail.

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