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.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Work on spatial relations, figure ground, visual discrimination, visual closure, visual form constancy, manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, social interaction skills, executive functioning skills, fine motor precision, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 1 ZINGO zinger, 72 picture tiles, 8 double sided ZINGO cards
Ages 4+, 2-8 players

ZINGO is a simple version of BINGO. With only nine spaces on the card and kid friendly pictures, this is a game to learn on. The goal is to get three in a row either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. The ZINGO cards are coded with colored borders. The yellow border is the easier side because there are less pictures in common between boards, so there is less competition for the picture tiles. Once that side is mastered, the red border is the harder side because there are more pictures in common between boards so players will have to be fast to recognize the picture tiles they need. To play, give each player a ZINGO card.

The red zinger is hard and sturdy plastic. It is two pieces - body and lid. The lid comes off so you can load the yellow picture tiles. Take the lid off the plastic zinger and stack all the picture tiles inside. 
UPDATE: I just noticed that the picture at the top has a slit at the top and they are putting the tiles in through the slit. Does anybody have this model and know if the lid comes off? If not, that will be a very time consuming way to load the zinger.
Tiles have to all go in the direction as pictured. Put the lid back on, covering the tiles. The body, where I have loaded the yellow tiles, slides forward and will drop the bottom two tiles at the end (front) of the zinger base. Push the body back and you will see the two tiles. All players scan their card to see if they need either of the tiles. The first person to call the name of the object on the tile will get to put that tile on his ZINGO card. After getting three in a row, yell ZINGO! to win. There are 32 different pictures. There are three of some pictures and only two of others. Some of the pictures include owl, cat, pig, smile, bird, kite, star, apple, worm, cake, clock, fish, foot, duck, bat, ball, hat, dog, and panda. The zinger in this game is the same as the zinger in What's Gnu? and Monkey BINGO. There are also other ZINGO versions for telling time, sight words, numbers, and word builder.
Try this:
  • Play for only one orientation at a time. Give the individual an example of what you want by making a photocopy of a ZINGO card and then using a yellow marker to color in three across only. Then play for that particular orientation. Watching for three different orientations can be very difficult for some. Then play for two, then work your way up to three.
  • Play alone. Lay out several cards, and load the ZINGO zinger. Let the individual push the zinger to release two cards. Scan the ZINGO cards on the table to find places to put them.
  • Sort out only two of each picture and play a matching game. Turn all pieces face down and, taking turns, turn over two tiles to look for a match. If you match, take another turn, and keep going until you miss. If you miss and they don't match, turn the tiles face down again and the next person plays. Player with the most tiles at the end wins.
  • Sort out two of each picture and lay one of each picture on the table, face up. One at a time, present one of the matching tiles and ask the individual to find it in the group. Turn the pieces in different orientations and cover a portion of some of them to make the activity more difficult in visual perceptual skills.
  • Use a piece of clear plastic (transparency) and cut it to the size of the card. Lay the plastic piece over the card and yellow in the three in a row you will be looking for to provide a guide.
  • Let the player reload the zinger, making sure to get every tile in right-side-up and in the correct orientation. 
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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