Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just Spot It!

Sometimes the simpler the game, the better.  I can't tell you how many games I have purchased because they looked awesome and I thought the kids would love them.  Come to find out that upon opening them, the directions were too complicated for me to follow let alone teach it to a group of children who may present with processing and/or learning differences.  To me this is one of the most frustrating things about purchasing games without it being recommended by someone else or having watched in action.  So when I found out about the game Spot It, created by the amazing company Blue Orange Games, I had to run out and buy it.

I was introduced to Spot It this year from my speech therapist colleague, Jessica Pangretic. We used it with our school age kids during one of our social skills group and I can't believe I deprived all my kids at work and at The Meeting House the awesomeness of this game until this year!  Spot It and Spot It Junior are now just part of my therapy and I love that there are a variety of ways to play the game so kids of all different abilities can be successful in it.  One of my favorite things about this game is that it is small and portable and can easily be brought anywhere with you, unlike many games out there today.  Instead of giving your child an iPhone or iPad to entertain them in the various places they need entertainment, try this game.  It will keep them entertained for a long time!

Spot It seems simple enough when you first play.  You have a deck of round cards that have either 8 (regular Spot It) or 6 (Spot It Jr.) different objects on it.  Each card has one match to another card....no exceptions.  I know for a fact that sometimes it doesn't feel that way but it's the truth! Check out the image to the right and I think you will have a better idea of what I am talking about. While I tend to stick to the traditional way of playing, if you look in the tin, there are a few different suggestions on how to play it.  

One of my favorite ways to play this game when at the gym is to have the kids lie on their stomach while in the net swing.  Not only can you work on all the visual perceptual and attentional skills while playing the game, you can also work on increasing upper body and neck strength.  Since the kids tend to be so focused on the game, they don't even realize that they are working on making their bodies stronger!  

Here are a few more occupational therapy goals that can be addressed when playing Spot It or Spot It Jr. :
Improve Visual Perceptual Skills-being able to find your match and do so in a timely manner is the name of the game.  Matching is a visual perceptual skill that children may have mastered with puzzles and such, but this game really ups the challenge as the cards are each different and you just can't predict what card will come up.
Improve Visual Tracking-when searching for your match, you must carefully track from your card to the other.  If you do this in an organized way, you will have an easier time finding your match in a timely  manner.  
Improve Social Skills-this game can be played with up to 6-8 players so it is a great game to play in social situations.  I have even used this with children playing in pairs, matching a child who has strong visual skills with a child who may struggle more, in order to work on building team work.  As always, teaching a child how to be a good winner and loser is always important.  
Improve Modulation and Regulation Skills-I have seen children so eager to win and get rid of all of their cards first that they will just blurt out an object before even looking.  I gently hand the card back to the child and ask them to really look at the card and find the match. 
Improve Attention Span/Focus-depending on a child's attention span, I may not use all of the cards at once when first introducing this game.  I want them to be successful and feel good about themselves so I may just use half the deck and as they get more comfortable with the game, I will add more cards to the pile.  You can measure a child's increasing attention span/ability to focus by trying to keep track of how many times you may need to tell the child to keep their eyes on the cards.  I tend to see wandering eyes when children are challenged by visual activities, especially new ones, and requires me to tell them over and over again to keep their eyes on the activity at hand.

For all of you therapists, teachers and parents looking for a fun game that can be entertaining for you all, I highly recommend adding Spot It and/or Spot It Jr. to your toy box.  Not only is it fun for all, it can work on so many skills without your children even realizing it.  To me, that is the best part of the game.

I have found the game in many local toy stores but you may also find it at Barnes and Noble or Whole Foods.   As always, I encourage you to support local toy stores.  I am sure if they don't carry it, they would be happy to order it for you.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.  I am just a click away and love hearing from you all.  

No comments:

Post a Comment