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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shake 'N Take

 Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, form constancy, tripod grasp, precise fine motor control, arch support, visual form constancy, visual closure, tool use
In the box: 2 markers, 2 shaker eggs, 2 shape dice, 2 erasers, 10 games boards
Ages 8+, 2-10 players
I saw this game on other OT sites so thought I would give it a try and add my take on it. The box says it is for ages 8 to adult. I would say this game is good for younger kids or people working on shape recognition, but beyond that there does not seem to be much of a challenge to me except speed. The erasable "boards" are 2 sided, one side with shapes and one side with shapes drawn like aliens. The image below shows the front and back of one board. Each player gets one board. The first player also takes a marker and a shape die (die below with purple shapes).
Next, throw the die and whatever symbol lands on top, go as fast as you can and circle all aliens of that shape on your board. At the same time, the person after you is shaking the clear egg with the alien die inside. Five sides of this die are blank and one has the face of an alien. As soon as the player shakes the alien face on top, he grabs the marker out of the hand of the person that is playing, throws the shape die, and starts circling aliens on his card. The person circling may re-throw the shape die at any time to circle different shaped aliens. At the same time, the person next to the new player is shaking the alien die for a chance to play. The game goes around and around like this until one person has captured all of his aliens and is declared the winner. The side of the board with the purple shapes (no aliens) is for younger kids who may not be able to "see" the aliens drawn onto the shapes. Wipe the boards right away after playing as I already see a faint shadow on the boards we have used. When the markers dry out, the manufacturer says that the alien tops can be pushed onto other dry erase markers of the same size.
Try this:
  • Forget the alien shaker, grabbing the markers and speed, and use as a shape recognition, figure ground game. Throw the shape die and circle all of that shape on the shape side. As the individual improves, turn to the alien side and play.
  • Use the marker to draw around or trace each shape after throwing the shape die.
  • Practice drawing a closed circle around each shape without overlapping.
  • Point out and/or trace the different shapes on the alien side before playing to show the individual what you are looking for and how to spot the shape.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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