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.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Adapting Off-the-Shelf Games & Toys for Therapy - Summer Edition

Fun summer-themed games for kids.

Summer. You would probably rather be outside swimming or catching fireflies than inside playing a game, right? (Unless you live in Phoenix and the seasons are flipped.) Following is a list of games related to summer that I have blogged about. Some are portable and can be played in the car en route to your vacation. Others, like Spot It! Splash and UNO H20/Splash, can even be played in the water. Many could be played at your camp site or on your picnic table in the backyard. Wherever you play, check out these summer-themed games. Just click on the name of a game below to go to my post about it.

(Want to see games for fall and winter too? Follow the links at the bottom of this page.)

Pop Rocket - Catch the stars as they fly out of the rocket. Makes me think of the 4th of July.

Ice-Cream-Crazy - You work in an ice cream shop making orders for customers. Multiple ice cream flavors and toppings to fill eight order cards.

River Crossing Jr. Lagoon Adventure - Cross the river, walking on stumps and planks, without getting wet. Or, rescue a cat from an island without getting wet. A junior level logic game with 40 challenges.

Angling Fever - Catch the fish, stack the fish. Lots of ways to play. 

Barbecue Party -  Use tongs to add or remove the food from the grill without making it jump.

Catch & Count Fishing Game - A magnetic fishing pole set/game comes with pole, 10 numbered fish and a spinner.

Construction Sandbox -  Small sandbox comes with sand and toys.

Cover Your Tracks - Hike through the woods and cover your tracks as you go so you don't attract unwanted attention. 20 challenges in all.

Croquet Animal Game - An old-fashioned yard game with balls and mallets.

Fish or Cut Bait - A dice game with customized fishing themed dice.

Fingerprinting Bugs Art Set -  Make a tour of the backyard looking for insects, butterflies, bugs, etc. and then draw your own small fingerprint bugs.

Spot It! Camping -One of my favorite card games with a camping theme. comes in a tin, portable, take anywhere.

Spot It! Splash - One of my favorite card games comes with plastic cards that can get wet. Play with under the sprinkler, in the pool, at the beach.

Spot It!  On the Road - Be the first to spot matches of things you will see along the road. Play in the card.

Hot Potato in the Pool Tried two different versions, was not impressed with either.

I Scream Memory -I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! A memory/match game based on frozen treats.

Sink or Swim -A summer-themed grid puzzle for those long summer days. 50 challenges increase in difficulty as you go.

Barbeque Blitz Match hamburgers to the pattern on your plate. Use a spatula to stack the pieces.

Making Paper Boats - Make origami boats that will even float.

Ned's Head -  I put this on almost every list because it can be customized. Add your own summer related objects that you have around the house or yard such a shell from the beach, sidewalk chalk, sunglasses, sand shovel, and a bubbles wand.

Carnival Table Tennis Toss Game - A tabletop target game.

More S'mores - A card game to make s'mores while hoping to avoid burnt marshmallows and chocolate-eating ants.

Scoop - An ice cream-related dice game with pattern cards.

Scoop's Surprises - An ice cream cone themed game that will challenge your memory and reasoning skills. 

Strawberry Shortcake Bowling Set - A summer favorite dessert and a TV cartoon, Strawberry Shortcake decorates this vinyl-stuffed bowling set.

Sticker Scenes - Choose summer related pictures like at the beach or on a picnic.

Splish Splash! -Drop the pebbles into the pool and collect the water drops that splash out.

Travel BINGO - Use pencil to mark the paper BINGO cards as you spot items out of the car window.

UNO H20 - One of America's favorite games comes in waterproof, transparent plastic cards. And of course, always portable.

K'Nex ELMO Sunny Days Building - A summer-themed construction set by K'Nex featuring Sesame Street's Elmo.

Scrabble Garden - A garden-themed Scrabble game. 

Fishin-Opoly - There are LOTS of Monopoly versions.

Find ideas for fall-themed games.

Find ideas for winter-themed games.

Find ideas for Thanksgiving-themed games.

Find ideas for Christmas-themed games.

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