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.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nature Fluxx

Work on following directions, adaptability, critical and analytical thinking, social skills, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, visual closure, visual discrimination
In the box: 100 cards
Ages 8+, 2-6 players
If you are looking for a game to work on following directions and quickly adapting to change, the Fluxx line of games may be for you. The basic rule that is the foundation of the game is draw one card per turn and play one card per turn. This rule may be modified as you play (draw 3 cards or play 2 cards, etc.), but with no other rule cards on the table, it always comes back to this. To win the game you have to make a set. I remember the first time I played I naively asked "Only one set?" It sounds too simple, right? Well sometimes it can be, but usually not. A game can run from 5 minutes or 30 minutes, it just depends on how the cards are stacked and the choices you make. To play, deal three cards to each player and set the rest of the deck face-down in the center. This becomes the draw pile. The first player draws one card and plays one card. Each player will, in turn, then draw and discard according to any rules that may be on the table. From the directions, on your turn you will:
  • Draw the number of cards currently required.
  • Play the number of cards currently required.
  • Discard down to the current Hand Limit (if any).
  • Comply with the current Keeper Limit (if any).
To help clarify those directions, here are the different cards you will be drawing and playing:
  • New Rule - Playing one of these cards will add a new rule for everyone to abide by immediately. If it contradicts a rule already on the table, throw the old rule out. A New Rule may require you to play all your cards, draw five cards, only hold two cards, or only have three keepers on the table at a time. Everyone follows these rules on their turns until they are replace by other cards or the rules are all reset.
  • Goal - A goal card must be on the table to win because this card will tell you which is the winning set. As this card changes, the cards you need to keep to win will change. Goals will require you to have two or three different Keeper cards to make a set.
  • Keeper - These are the cards you keep to make a goal. These cards picture individual items such as flowers, frogs, insects, or trees. If a goal card requires you to have flowers and insects to make the winning set, you will need these two Keeper cards to be in your played cards on the table to win.
  • Action - These cards can change things quickly. They may require you to take one of your opponents Keeper cards, reset all the rules, shuffle all Keeper cards on the table and redistribute them, or discard your hand and draw all new cards.
  • Creeper - While Creeper cards are in play, no one can win. You will have to follow the rule printed on each card to discard it.
There may be several different cards that you must abide by on the table at one time, or none but the basic rule card. It's a game you almost have to play to understand, but once you've played, it might become addictive. I also have the Fluxx Holiday game which my sister and I played during her whole vacation last year.

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