Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spot It and Disney....A True Happily Ever After Ending!

I didn't really need another reason to love the game Spot It by Blue Orange Games but last weekend I discovered a whole new series of Disney Spot It games.  For me, this is a game changer for some of my kids who are much more resistant to learning their numbers and letters...especially a certain 4 year old little girl I know.  I had to hold myself back from buying every single version of the Disney Spot It games.  Instead I decided to try out the Frozen and Doc McStuffins for now with the intention of slowly adding to my collection.   They have already been used a ton of times and it's been a big hit so far!

Each of the new Disney Spot It games has a different educational focus. While there are alphabet and number Spot It games, I haven't found them to be that motivating for the kids I work with.  Just seeing the letters and numbers wasn't exciting enough for them so when I saw these Disney versions of the game, I was pumped.  In addition to a certain educational focus, there are pictures of your favorite characters and objects from the television show/movies.  The best part is that the variety allows for you to find one that will be good for your child.  There are ones that are targeted to the preschool population and others that are targeted to the older kids.
Doc McStuffins-numbers, shapes and alphabet
Jake and The Neverland Pirates-numbers and shapes
Sofia the First-alphabet
Disney Princesses-words/pre-reading

I have written about Spot It before here so I won't go on for long.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the game, it is a card game that requires a child to find matches between two cards.  Even when you don't think it is possible, every single card has a match to another card.  There are several ways to play the game but the simplest form is to hand out an equal number of cards to each player; flip one card in the middle and start spotting your matches.  The first person to get rid of all of their cards first is the winner.  For some of my older kids who are working on organization and sequencing skills, I will have them tell me the directions, set up the game and deal the cards.  This can be tricky but since there are not many steps to the game, it is a good game for them to attempt this task.

Spot It is great for a variety of other skills such as:
Improving Visual Perception/Motor Skills-finding and matching your letters, numbers, shapes, pictures, etc. is the point of the game.  Having good perception skills is important for many other things like puzzles, handwriting, cutting, etc..  A child also has to be able to visually track in order to look at both the card in the middle and the card in their hand.
***for some of my older kids who are working on handwriting, I have been making them write the letter or number that they have found when playing the game.  It slows the game down, but it's a fun way to get the kids to work on their graphomotor skills.
Improving Speech and Language Skills-my speech therapy friends can certainly elaborate much more than I can about all the speech and language benefits of this game.  When I play with the kids, they must shout out their match and not just point it out.
**each of these games comes with a guide of what each picture is so you can go over that with the kids prior to playing to make sure they can identify everything before the game begins
Improve Focus and Attention-this game typically lasts about 10-20 minutes depending on the speed of the kids playing.  I like that there is a definitive end to the game and can encourage my kids to stick with it until someone wins.  Often times, the kids I work with struggle with completing a game, especially ones that are more challenging for them.  If you have children who really have a hard time with focus and attention, don't start with a full deck of cards and work towards being able to play the game with the full deck down the line.
Improve Upper Extremity Strength-looking for a way to work on other goals at the same time?  Try putting a child prone on the net swing while playing Spot It to work on increasing upper extremity strength and head/neck control.  This can be difficult for some kids so I like to give them a goal of a certain number of cards need to be put down or a certain amount of time must pass before they can get out.  Sometimes get so into the game, that they forget they are tired and work through it!
Improve Social Skills-Spot It can be played with as few as 2 people and as many as 8 (I like to start small and build up to more kids/stimulation).  Great game to work on developing good social skills such as compromise, being a good winner/good loser and many other skills.  For older kids, let them negotiate how they want to play the game including the rules.

So if you are looking for some new and motivating ways to work on some of these academic skills and work on a variety of occupational therapy goals at the same time, I highly recommend the Disney Spot It games.  I have already introduced them to my daughter and for the first time, she is asking to play a game that she knows will work on something she typically avoids.  And while she still gets frustrated, we work together to help find the numbers or letters of the alphabet and she is quickly picking them up and generalizing that knowledge to other things.

If you have any questions or suggestions on other ways to use these games, please do share with all of us.  I am a click away and love hearing from you all!

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