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

Great States

Work on figure ground, visual discrimination, spatial relations, manual dexterity, thinking skills, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: Game board, 100 figure cards, 100 fact cards, 100 fun cards, 100 find cards, mechanical timer, spinner
Ages 7+, 1-6 players
Take an adventure around the USA while discovering/reviewing landmarks, capitals, state abbreviations, state locations, state objects, and more. The game board is a brightly colored map of the USA and on each state is shown the state name, abbreviation, capital, and 3-7 pictures of objects related to that state. To play, set up the game board, placing the question card piles as indicated. Spin the spinner and pick a card from the pile indicated. Hand it to the person on your left and set the timer for 30 seconds. The person reads you the card and you have 30 seconds to figure out the answer. Most questions allow you to use the map as a reference. If you answer correctly you win the card and your turn is over. If you answer incorrectly, the card goes back to the bottom of the pile and your turn is over. The first person to earn 10 cards, wins the game. The game includes these four types of cards:
  • Figure cards - These questions focus on where different things are in relation to each other on the map.
    • Example - Which one of these states is west of North Carolina? Florida, W. Virginia, Tennessee
  • Fact cards - These questions focus on state capitals, large cities, and state abbreviations.
    • Example - What is the largest city in Vermont?
  • Fun cards - These questions are just for fun.
    • Example - Close your eyes and name 8 states that border the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Find cards - These questions require that you match a picture from the card to the same picture on a state.
    • Example - Which state's flower is the Sagebrush?
 All answers are on the same side of the card as the question. The timer is a 60 second timer and it makes a loud tick as each second passes, and rings loud when the time is up. It's a great game to work on academic as well as visual perceptual skills, and has won the Best Toy Award Gold Seal. There is also a Junior version for this game, Great States Junior.
Try this:
  • Use the game as a conversation starter. Encourage people to share stories about the places they have been and the things they have seen.
  • Set the timer for 60 seconds instead of 30. Have the player on your left read one question from the category after another until the timer rings. See how many you can find in one minute.
  • Skip the timer and don't take turns. One person reads a card and all players look at the map at the same time. First one to yell out the answer gets the card.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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