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, June 12, 2016

Doghouse Game

Work on spatial relations, visualization, figure ground, visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, palmar arch development, manual dexterity, attention, logic, planning ahead, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: Kitchen tiled game board, 3 bone dice in a doghouse shaker, 24 dog bowls (12 red, 12 yellow), 16 white bones
If you are a checkers purist (it is one of the few games I have always hated), you probably won't like the twist on this one. But that twist is what drew me to it. That and the cute dog dice and dog bowl checkers. Give me anything with animals and I at least have to take a look. :) The object of the game, like checkers, is to be the first person to capture all of your opponents checkers, or in this case dog bowls, as you advance across the board. The dice introduces an element of luck and reduces the need of, and effectiveness of, strategizing and planning ahead.
To play, each player chooses a color and takes the 12 dog bowls of that color. Open the game board. Players play opposite each other on the board and line up their 12 bowls on the black squares in the first three rows closest to them. Player one shakes the dice. The three dice come encased in the cutest clear plastic doghouse shaker. But that shaker reduces the therapeutic value of this game for me so I had to take them out. The doghouse was not meant to be opened, but sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make a cake. Each die has six bones on it - three red and three yellow - one on each side of the cube. Once thrown, the dice will tell you what color bowls you can move. This is where this game really deviates from regular checkers. You will now get to move three spaces and you can move your opponents bowls also if their color comes up. All moves must be diagonal, and jumping a bowl(s) counts as one move. All bowls must advance toward your end of the board (toward your opponents side). Once one of your bowls reaches an empty space at the end of the board on your opponents side, a white dog bone is placed in the bowl. This bowl can no longer be moved by your opponent. Players take turns shaking the dice and moving bowls until all of an opponent's bowls are captured by one player. That player is declared the winner.
Try this:
  • Allow the player(s) to familiarize himself with the board before beginning a game. Strategically place several bowls on the board and let him jump over them to see how the diagonal jumping works.
  • Ask the player to cup the palm and then add the dice to it for shaking. If the individual has difficulty cupping the palm, place a small ball in the palm and ask him to curl his fingers around it. Remove the ball and add the dice.
  • Model a cupped palm, fingers together, and how to shake the dice.
  • Cup the second hand and place it over the top of the first hand and dice before shaking.
  • Ask the player to shake the dice to the count of 10 or 20 before stopping, without dropping any. Or, instead of counting, sing one verse of How Much is that Doggie in the Window.
  • Add a rule that if a player drops a bone (die) while shaking, that bone is "buried" and he doesn't get a move for it on the board.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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