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!

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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Chef Pop de Pop

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, manual dexterity, counting, social interaction, executive functioning, values, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 1 popcorn shaker, 80 cards
A fun popcorn-themed game to work on matching, colors, and counting. Did you ever use Jiffy pop as a kid? I was surprised to see it in the store the other day and bought one for my young nephew as a novelty. Turns out his family has been taking it camping with them for years. Guess it is not as obsolete as I thought it was. The blue corn popper in this game reminded me of the Jiffy Pop shaker. It is made of lightweight plastic and the clear plastic bubble is not removable, so no chance of losing the eight lightweight dice inside. It even sounds like popcorn softly popping when you shake it. I uploaded a picture of the back of the box (left) so that you could see the size of the shaker in a hand. The object of the game is to collect the most cards by matching the popcorn in the popper to your cards. To set up the game, remove all the burnt popcorn cards (single black piece) from the deck and put them to the side. Then mix the remaining cards and deal four to each player. Players place their cards face-up in a row in front of them. The rest of the cards are placed face-down on the table and this becomes the draw pile. To play, the first player gives the popper a few shakes and places it on the table for all to see. First, look at the action die to see how to proceed. Here are instructions for the four possibilities:
After this action has been taken (if it wasn't a POP), it's time to match the pictures on the dice to the pictures on your cards. Add the amount of popcorn pieces in the popper for each flavor - plain, buttered, caramel. If you have cards of matching flavors that match the number of pieces, put them aside in your scoring pile. It can be any combination of cards that equal the number of pieces. For instance, if there are three plain pieces and you have three cards, each with one plain piece, that works. Or if you have two cards - one with two plain pieces and one with one plain piece - that works too. Cards will have anywhere from one to four pieces each, all of the same color (flavor). After each player has counted and placed any of his matching cards on his scoring pile, a new round starts. Each player will draw cards up to the total of four, and the next player shakes the popper. The game ends when you either run out of action cards or run out of cards on the draw pile.  The winner is either the person with the most cards on his scoring pile or the person with the highest total of popcorn pieces on those cards.
Try this:
  • Turn over two or three cards and shake until you get those pieces to show in the popper.
  • Shake the popper to mix and then set it down. Turn over cards until you find matches for each flavor.
  • Place several cards face-up in a horizontal line, say 10 or 12. Shake the popper to mix the dice and then move across the row, one card at a time. Are there pieces in the popper that match card 1? If yes, go on to card 2. Keep moving alone, checking for matches, until you get to a card that cannot be matched. Then take all the matching cards before that and put them on your scoring pile. Your turn is over. Each player plays until all cards have been taken.
  • Mix the three flavor cards and place them in a face-down pile on the table. Shake the popper five times and set it down. Turn over the top card. Can you match it to the pieces in the popper? If yes, decide if you want to keep going. If no, take that card and your turn is over. If yes, take that card off the deck and turn over the next card. Does it match? If yes, do you want to keep going? The longer you can match, the more cards you will collect. But if you turn a card and it cannot be matched, your turn is over and you don't win any cards for that hand. The object is to stop while you are ahead, before losing all your cards.
  • Mix all the cards for two flavors. Place them in a face-up pile in front of the individual. Place one color card on one side of the deck and the other color card on the other side of the deck. Take the cards off the deck one at a time and sort between the two piles.
  • Mix all the flavor cards and sort into three piles on the table. Hold half the deck in the non-dominant hand and push the top card off the top with the thumb to separate. Sort all the cards. Then sort the other half of the deck in the same manner. (There are too many cards to fit in the hand comfortably, so I divide the deck in half.)
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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