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!

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Robot Turtles

Work on spatial relations, visual discrimination, visual scanning, manual dexterity, mental flexibility, attention, problem solving, decision making, applying logic, social skills, play exploration and participation
In the box: Game board, 4 robot turtle tiles, 4 jewel tiles, 36 obstacle tiles, 4 bug tiles, 4 code card decks (44 cards each)
Ages: 4+, 2-5 players.
The box lid says that this is a game that teaches basic coding concepts to little programmers. I expected it to be loaded with long complex instructions that would require frequently referencing the rule book, but the basic game was not. The object is to be the first to move your turtle robot card from the corner of the board to the middle. Here are the quick starter rules:
  1. Each player chooses a matching Robot Turtle, Jewel Tile, and deck of code cards. Place the gem tiles in the middle of the board and the robot turtle tiles in the corners.
  2. Put the code cards in front of each player. Each card has a arrow that points in a different direction.
  3. On each turn, the player will place one code card in front of him, indicating which way he wants his turtle to move.
  4. You, not the child, moves the turtle card to the space indicated by the code card: move forward, turn right, turn left. The child is the programmer and you are the computer, moving the turtle for him.
  5. A child can undo the last move by tapping the bug tile and telling BUG before the next player's turn. He can then play another card.
  6. Continue taking turns playing code cards (one per turn) until the first person lands his turtle on the matching gem in the middle of the board. 
This sounds like a very simple game to learn about spatial orientation. There is, however, much more you can do with this game, such as introducing a variety of unlockables and playing different board setups. If you are interested in the more complicated ways to play this game, you can get more information at www.ThinkFun.com/RobotTurtles or www.RobotTurtles.com If you would like to see a video from the makers of Robot Turtle, click here to go to their website.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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