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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Whac-A-Mole Electronic Game

Work on eye hand coordination, manual dexterity, tool use, spatial relations, proximal stability, proprioception, visual discrimination, visual scanning, auditory memory, times motor response, social interaction, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 1 electronic unit, 4 mallets
Ages 4+, 1-4 players

Whack the mole on the head to gain points and win the game. This game is not for everyone because you have to process and move fast. There is only about one second before the hat light goes off and you can no longer hit. As the game progresses the time even gets a little shorter. This is similar to the game at Chuck E. Cheese, only a lot smaller. And instead of the moles popping up and down, they stay in the up position and when it is time to hit one his hat will light up. If you get there on time and whack the mole, you will hear boing and you just earned 10 points. If you hit him too late or you whack the wrong mole, you will hear a buzzer and you just lost 10 points. If you don't get there on time or hit anything, nothing happens to the score. And here's a feature I like - Volume control! You can set it to high, medium, or low at any time. Below is a list of the three different ways to play:
  • Solo game - Play alone to practice. Whack any mole's hat that lights up. Once you have been buzzed 10 times the game is over. Play again and try to beat your own score.
  • Easy game - For two or more players. Each player will choose only one mole to whack. Before the game starts each mole will make a different sound. Listen for your mole so that you can whack him when you hear it. His hat will also light up each time, so you will have two cues that it is time for you to hit. Before the game you will also hear the special sound. The special sound will play randomly during the game but no hats will light up. The first person to recognize the special sound and whack his own mole will get 10 points. The game goes on until one person make 100 points and the mole's declare him the winner.
  • Hard game - For two or more players. No hats light up on this game, so you will have to remember your mole's own sound and the special sound where everyone plays. The first person to 100 points wins the game.

The mallets are very lightweight plastic and it does not take a very hard hit to score. Requires 3 AA batteries.

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