Posts tagged ‘Games’

Games We Love: Rush Hour Jr.

Why We Love It: The perfect blend of visual perceptual, fine motor and motor planning skills, Rush Hour is a favorite for staff and children. The concept is simple: place the cars on the grid to match a picture, then slide the cars to allow the ice cream truck to drive out the door. There are 40 cards of increasing difficulty, with each level building on the problem solving lessons learned in previous scenarios. Puzzles can be solved again and again because it is practically impossible to remember the solution sequence.

This is a great activity for children who get lost in multi-step tasks and those who need to work on their problem solving skills. Take the game a step further by hiding the pieces in a bucket of dried beans, creating a scavenger hunt around the room or having your child “deliver” the pieces little by little by riding their bike, doing animal walks or even an obstacle course. Also, the solutions are printed on the back of each card. If your child is learning the concepts of left and right, give the instructions to solve the card and have your child follow them.

Why the Kids Love It: This is one of the most requested games in the clinic. Younger children enjoy the concept of rescuing the ice cream truck, and older children enjoy the challenge of harder levels. The game pieces are brightly colored, but not juvenile. There is a real sense of mastery as the child moves from “Beginner” towards “Expert” levels.

Manufacturer Age Recommendations: 6-8 years

Our Age Recommendations: Younger children (4-5) can copy the grid like a puzzle. Older children (9-11) with visual perceptual and motor planning difficulties may benefit from this “Jr” version of Rush Hour before moving to the more advanced edition.

Available in toy stores and online.

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Games We Love: Mancala

Mancala is an ancient game of strategy, but we love it for the fine motor work it requires. The board consists of two rows of six holes, with two larger goal holes on each side. Four marbles are placed in each of the smaller holes. Play begins when the first player scoops all of the marbles out of a hole on their side of the board, then deposits them one at a time around the board in a counterclockwise fashion. If the last marble lands in that player’s goal, they get to go again. Play continues back and forth until one player’s side is empty. Whoever captures the most marbles wins the game. There are more complex rules for older players, but elementary school aged children can play this basic method with some help. The best part about this game is that while it encourages planning ahead and visual perceptual skills, it is a fun way to address the fine motor skill of translation. The child needs to move the marbles into their palm, then use their thumb and index finger to maneuver the marbles, one at a time, to a pincer grasp before releasing the marble in a hole, all while maintaining grasp of the remaining marbles in the ulnar side of their hand. Translation skills are used for functional tasks such as picking up coins, and the ability to separate the two sides of the hand is important for activities like writing and cutting. Who knew a simple game could work on so much!