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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Diggity Dog

Work on visual discrimination, visual memory, simple strategy, color recognition, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 1 game board, 1 electronic dog house with dog, 4 puppies, 12 colored bones
Ages 3+, 2-4 players
A simple pet-themed game to help develop visual memory, counting to three, colors, and basic logic. The object is simple - be the first to collect three colored bones that match the color of your dog. To set up, place the board in the middle of the players and place the electronic dog house in the middle of the board. Place the four dogs on top of the four dog houses. Each dog has colored ears, spots, and tail, and also has a matching color dog house. Place the 12 bones, color side down, in the holes alongside the path on the board. Evidently someone has been digging! Each player chooses one dog as their pawn and that will be his color. Here is a picture of the set up.
To play, push down on the electronic dog and count how many times she barks - one, two, or three. Move your dog that many spaces along the path, in either direction. If you land on a space next to a bone, tip your dog toward the bone and it will pick the bone up. The bone and dog are magnetic so the bone will stick to the dog. Is the bone the same color as the dog? If it is, take the bone off and set it on your dog house. Your turn is over. If it does not match, return the bone, color-side down to the hole and your turn is over. As other people reveal bones, remember where you see your color come up so you can make your way to those areas on your turn to collect your bones. Remembering which bones are not your color will also help you decide which way to travel when it is your turn. The electronic dog requires 3 LR44 button cell batteries. I get them at the dollar store.
Try this:
  • Play a simple matching game without the board. Choose a dog and then scatter the bones color-side-down on the table. Press the electronic dog. If the dog barks once, turn over one bone to match your color dog. If she barks twice, find two matching bones, and if she barks three times, find all three matching colored bones.
  • Line six bones color side up on the table. Memorize the colors in sequence. Turn them down. Choose one of the colors and find all three.

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