Monday, February 15, 2016

It's Okay to Play With This Food!

It's been a while since I found a new game that I felt worth sharing.  To be honest, when I find something, it sticks around for a while.  For example, Tumbling Monkeys and Wok N' Roll have been part of my work routine for as long as I can remember.  When I read about how cold it was going to be this past weekend and that I would be entertaining not only my daughter but also another friend of hers, I decided it was time to add some new games to my daughter's collection. I went into my local toy store, Little Things, in Park Slope and could have gone a little crazy.  I was drawn to many of the educational games but knew that it wouldn't be well received by my daughter who is officially on winter break.  Instead, I went with a game that help work on improving her fine motor skills, particularly something that might help promote a better grip.  Yeti In My Spaghetti, by Play Monster (formerly known as Patch), was a HUGE hit with both my daughter and her friend.

I like when games are simple and easy for kids to play...that means that grownups don't have to struggle when reading the directions in order to figure out how to explain the game to said kids! How many of you have purchased a game like that and then never played it because you just couldn't figure it out??  Nothing frustrates me more!  Even better, there are no batteries required which means that this is a quiet game free of noise and lights!  The object of Yeti In My Spaghetti is quite simple:  place the 30 pieces of spaghetti over the bowl in a criss cross pattern and then place the Yeti on top of your pile.  Choose who is going to go first and begin pulling the spaghetti out from under the Yeti without letting him fall into the bowl.  You must be mindful, look at what you are doing and take your time when pulling the spaghetti pieces out because if the Yeti falls while you are pulling it out, the game is over.

Besides the fact that this game is fun, it is great for working on a ton of skills for your little friends (I can't help but let my occupational therapy brain go there).  Ideal for kids starting at age 4 (or a super patient 3 year old) and perfect for working on:
*facilitating a pincer grasp as you pull the spaghetti pieces out
*improving eye-hand coordination, visual motor and visual perceptual skills as you scan and plan what piece is best to take out from under the Yeti
*improve executive functioning skills, especially focus and attention and organizational skills
*improving social skills such as turn taking, good sportsmanship and teamwork (you can play in teams)

If you begin to get bored with the game, you can come up with some alternative ways to play it.  For example, add a dice to the game and have kids roll it and then take how ever many pieces of spaghetti that they roll.  If you really want to work on improving fine motor skills, have the kids remove the spaghetti pieces using a strawberry huller.  Do you have any other ways to vary how to play this game?

If you have kids or work with kids, I highly recommend this game.  Reasonably priced, easy to carry around and most importantly, fun to play.  Great for parents or therapists, even those that travel from home to home, since it is lightweight and doesn't require batteries.

If any of you have any great games that you have recently discovered or ones that are long time favorites, please share them with me and my my readers.  I am always a click away and love hearing from you all!

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