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.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bare Books - DIY Game Boards

UPDATE: I initially blogged about this before I had received my order. I have been able to add more information since receiving my order. I was very pleased with the quality and reasonable prices of everything I purchased.

Bare Books is a company out of Milwaukee, WI that for years has sold  inexpensive bare books, games, puzzles and calendars. By bare I mean blank. Have you ever searched for a game specific to your needs that you just couldn't find? Now you can make it yourself. They make five different game boards. The two above are 18" x 18" quadfold, and each sell for $3.75. The board itself is thick, just what you would find in a typical off-the-shelf game. The top is glossy and you can use permanent marker, stickers, or cut and paste/tape things onto the board. The money reminds me of Monopoly money. There are five different colors and denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100. You can buy money either with numbers printed on it or blank and customize it for your needs. The pawns are plastic and the pawns, dice, and 2-minute timer are all typical game pieces. The blank cards are thicker than the Chance cards you would find in a Monopoly game and you can customize them with whatever you want. The spinner is totally blank. I ordered the framed game board kit and here is what came in the box:

The folded game board is on the bottom of the box (black) and it is a quadfold, so you are looking at one fourth the size of the board (9" x 9"). Prices are very reasonable and you can buy things by the piece or save a little money and buy it in a kit, as I did. I feel the pieces are all typical game quality and a good value for the money. Here is information from their 2015 catalog. Shipping is $10 for an order of $1 - $100 and 10% for orders over $100.

The first thing that jumps to my mind are the In a Jar products (Cyber Dilemmas, Bully-Free Zone, Kid's Daily Dilemmas, Teen Talk). Instead of just reading from slips of paper in a jar, you caould make a game out of it.You will find the Bare Books company at www.BareBooks.com. 

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