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 14, 2015

The Penguins of Madagascar Memory Game

Work on visual memory, visual discrimination, figure ground, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, social interaction, turn taking, spatial relations

In the box: Game board, 24 plastic penguins
Ages 3+, 2+ players

A memory game that involves penguin flipping instead of card flipping (yeah, different hand skills!) On the bottom of each penguin is a picture of one of the characters from the movie.

Start by standing all the penguins up so that you can't see the bottoms. Then set the game up by standing a penguin on each of the circles on the game board. The game board is more lightweight than a typical playing board, feels more like cardboard, but it does the job. The rules of memory apply:

One player turns over two penguins and lets everyone see the pictures on the bottoms. If they match, the player takes them and plays until he misses. When it is a miss (miss-match), the player stands the penguins back in the same places where he found them and the next person plays. When all penguins have been matched, the game ends and the one with the most penguins wins.  

Try this:
  • Place the penguins, one at a time, in the individuals palm. Ask him to rotate the penguin in-hand to position it for placement on the game board.
  • Stand one of each penguin set in front of the individual. Of the remaining pieces, show the person the bottom of one penguin and ask him to turn over the penguins in front of him and find the match. Can he remember the original picture until he finds the match?
  • Ask the individual to pick up two or three penguins at a time while setting up the board. Can he manipulate them and set them in place, one at a time, without dropping any?
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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