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.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Work on thinking skills, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, focus, concentration, social interaction, eye-hand coordination, spatial relations  
In the box: 12 rings each of 4 different colors, 3 bases each of 4 different colors, game board
Ages 8+, 2-4 players
A two-player strategy game that will have you thinking in circles. All pieces are quality, solid wood, and the rings are brightly painted. This game is popular with teens and I like it myself! The more I play, the more strategies I think of and the more fun it becomes. As with many strategy games, the rules are fairly simple and straightforward. The object of the game is to win the most territories by having the majority of rings on each territory. Here is a sample of what the board looks like with and without rings.

The dots on the board are the territories and where you place your rings. Yellow wins the territory on the bottom middle (picture above) because there are two yellow rings, one red, and one blue. Yellow has the majority of rings. To begin, place the starting base piece (has all four colors) on one of the nine central dots. Taking turns, each player then places one piece at a time on the board until all pieces have been played. Pieces can only be played on dots that are adjacent to your own color. Here are the ways you can place your pieces:
  1. Place a ring on any free territory that is linked to a territory already containing your color.
  2. Place a base (large solid ring) on any free territory that is linked to a territory already containing your color.
  3. Place a ring on a territory where you are already present.
  4. Place a ring on a territory that your opponent is occupying that is linked to a territory containing your color.
We really enjoy this one.

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