Every year FUNdamentals and Building Blocks Therapy puts out a HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE with toys and games we use in therapy. We get lots of requests for advice on what games or toys to buy their children to work on their speech, language, or play skills. The great thing is – most of our recommendations are toys/games parents would probably buy anyway! We just use them differently to address the goals we are working.
To avoid having the same list every year, we work to find new games that may not be as well-advertised or well-known, but are just as fun and therapeutic. Plus, as therapists, we like playing new games too!
The concept of “cooperative” games has expanded in the past few years. These are games where there are no winners, but everyone works together towards a common goal. There are pros and cons to these. A pro is that for older kids, these games can be a great way to work on negotiation and flexible thinking, as the children must work together to achieve the goal. The game, “Obstacles” by Eeboo is a great example of this and I played it throughout the year in individual sessions and group sessions. A few others listed on our Gift Guide are the Fairy Tale Spinner game (game version of the Tell Me A Story telling cards) for older kids, and Habe Balance Boat (kids work together to get the boat to balance).
A con of the “cooperative” games is that there are no losers. Kids need to learn about competition and how to deal with being a winner and a loser. Life is not always cooperative or fair, and kids need to learn to cope with those different outcomes. Some of our favorite “winning and losing games” have been around forever, like Chutes and Ladders or Candyland. Others are newer, like Zingo or Cupcake Game. While someone wins and someone loses, these games also teach that simply playing the game is fun for everyone!
We hope you enjoy our GIFT GUIDE and maybe find something new for your family to enjoy this holiday season. Please visit our Facebook page daily to see our “toy of the day”; a new toy posted each day during the month of December. We often discover new toys during our own shopping and this helps us pass the word!