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, July 11, 2018

Curious George Take it Away

Work on visual scanning, visual memory, figure ground, manual dexterity, executive functioning skills, process skills, socialization skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 40 pictures of Curious George, 30 plastic chips

This is a pretty straight-forward game. There are 10 different pictures of Curious George. Each shaped picture is on card stock, about 1/16" thick. One side of the picture is George doing something, and the other side has the brand name Ravensburger repeatedly printed in a small, blue font. There are 10 different activities and four duplicates of each activity.

The activities George is engaged in are looking at himself in a mirror, holding a kite, holding a bunny, riding a bike to deliver newspapers, balancing a ball on his head, reading a book, writing, painting a sign, looking at a jigsaw puzzle box, and looking at medical supplies. Plastic chips are small, red, and for keeping score.

Before the game starts, determine how long you will play, such as for 15 minutes, for 10 rounds, or until all the chips are taken. Then the person with the most chips at the end of the game is the winner.

Set up:
Divide the pictures into 4 sets of 10. Each set will have the same 10 pictures. Give one set to each player.

Players will take turns being the take-away person. This person makes sure his set of ten pictures are in a position to be viewed by all. Then all players turn around or close their eyes. The take-away person takes one of the pictures from the set and holds it so that the others can't see it. The other players then open their eyes and look at the remaining nine pictures. Using their set of pictures to help them, they work to discover which picture has been taken away. The first person to call out the activity correctly earns one plastic chip.

Try this:
  • Start with fewer total pictures than 10 for an easier game. Work your way up to 10.
  • Instead of taking the picture away, turn it over. See if the player(s) can tell what it is from the shape only, with or without the aid of another set of pictures.
  • Study the pictures before the game to memorize what is there, then don't allow the player(s) to have another set of pictures to refer to. Start with fewer pictures and work your way up to 10.
  • Recite out loud what George is doing in each picture to help the activities stick in the memory.
  • Sort all the pictures into 10 sets of 4.
  • Place all the pictures face-up on the table. Describe an activity and have the player take off all 4 of that activity. Or work with fewer sets and fewer pictures.

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