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.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Christmas Bingo

Work on spatial relations, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, eye-hand coordination, visual scanning, manual dexterity, finger isolation, fine motor precision, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 10 cards, spinner, Bingo chips
Ages 6+, 2-10 players

Bingo is a great family game because many ages can play together and have fun. You can find/buy bingo games with all kinds of themes. This one is Christmas themed and has 16 pictures in all, including 3 wise men, candle, gingerbread man, Santa, snowman, candy canes, fireplace, stocking, carolers, reindeer, gifts, and Christmas tree. More than a matching game, players must be able to recognize five in a row horizontally, vertically, and diagonally to win. There are many other ways to win bingo including covering four corners, letters such as H and T, and completing the border. A great game to work on visual perceptual skills. The Bingo cards are approximately 5" X 5 1/4". The plastic Bingo chips are red and green and are smaller than your typical Bingo chips, but are just the right size for the cards. This game includes a card stock spinner and the arrow moves very freely. In traditional Bingo games, each number is only called once per game. Because the pictures are called from a spinner, the same picture may be called more than once. To compensate for this, plus the fact that there are only 16 pictures but there are 24 spaces, the cards have duplicates of some of the pictures. Therefore, when a picture is called more than once, if you have a duplicate you will get to cover it again. It's a fun game to pull out at Christmas time and play with the kids. Serve a simple Christmas snack and wrap a few inexpensive gifts (Dollar store?) and make a fun evening of it.

Try this:
  • Play for only one direction for beginners. Make a black and white copy of any Bingo card and then fill in the circles with a yellow or other colored highlighter to show what the individual will be looking for. For example, state that only a Bingo that goes across will win. Then fill in the 5 circles on one horizontal line and leave it in sight as an example of what you want.
  • Pick up two or three Bingo chips and hold them in the hand, moving them to the fingertips and placing one at a time as a picture is called.
  • Take turns being the spinner for a whole game. Practice holding the card in one hand and spinning with the other. Practice flicking the finger.
  • Scan across the card, left to right as in reading, after each item is called to make sure all pictures are seen.
  • Make a copy of the card and use a highlighter to mark the spaces if the individual is not able to separate the individual items from the background or cannot look in an organized manner. Use a piece of white paper and cover all but one horizontal line. Look at and mark one line at a time. Then uncover two lines and so on as the person gets better at it.
  • Play alphabet Bingo. Many letters can be found such as C, E, F, G, L, N, O, etc. Make a copy of the card in black and white and highlight the spaces that need to be filled as an example to keep on the table. Do not mark pictures that aren't part of the letter.
  • Use other things for Bingo chips, like Skittles or holiday M&M's. It can be it's own reward after a game and everyone wins.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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