An OT friend of mine introduced me to Spot it! several years ago and I haven't looked back since. The game is brilliantly simple - two players compete to find matching pictures on two cards. The first person to find the matching pair wins the round. Despite how simple it sounds, this game is like magic to me. There's only ever one match between two cards - never more, never less.
I often use this game as a "reward" at the end of my treatment sessions, or if I feel like a child needs a break between activities. I haven't had a child yet who didn't like playing this game. As a result, it's a great rapport builder.
The best part; however, is that there is therapeutic value to Spot it! This game relies on several visual (eye) skills:
1) The player's eyes must work together ("teaming") in order to scan smoothly from card to card. To target this further, I'll often place the cards about one to two feet apart so the child has to scan over a larger distance. Another option is to place one card close to the child and the other in front of the child but about one to two feet away. This works on convergence (looking at something close to us) and divergence (looking at something farther away). When a child copies from the board at school, the eyes converge as they look at their paper and diverge as they look at the board. This is a pretty important skill to work on!
2) To play Spot it!, a child has to be able to distinguish the matching picture from all the other pictures. This is referred to as figure-ground discrimination. It's a skill that comes in handy when you're trying to find an item in a competing background (i.e.: trying to find a paperclip in a drawer full of pens, pencils, pushpins, etc.).
3) Visual memory is required to be able to remember what is on one card while scanning the other.
4) Because the images may be different sizes or oriented differently, the child must be able to mentally rotate images in their mind (visual form constancy). A child who reverses letters may be struggling with this skill.
Though I have outlined one way of playing, there are several ways to play Spot it!, ranging from solitaire-style games to group games of 6-8 players. There are also several options for decks:
- Spot it Junior for players aged 4+ (it has fewer items per card and the images are bigger)
- Spot it! Alphabet for players learning their letters
- Spot it! Basic English/French/Spanish for players learning to read basic words (you match a picture with the word)
- Spot it! Numbers and Shapes for players learning numbers and shapes
- And there are a ton of different themes available (Holidays, Shopkins, Frozen, Star Wars, Finding Dory, Disney Princesses, Hipsters.. the list goes on)
If you're looking to purchase this game in Petawawa, Looking Glass Toys & Games has a few different versions available.
PS - It's fun for adults too!
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