Growing Kids Therapy Center is delighted to introduce our newest addition – Melanie Tumlin, MS! Melanie joins the practice as a Cognitive Developmental Specialist. She will be directing our special projects to include: Social skills groups; home based therapy; and Yoga for Kids with Special Needs! Melanie will also be a regular contributor to the Growing Kids Therapy blog and is starting us off on a series of blogs featuring unique board games to bolster speech, language, cognitive and social skills! Join me in a big WELCOME and HOOT, HOOT, HURRAY for Melanie! ~Elizabeth
Hoot Owl Hoot!
A board game from Peaceable Kingdom.
Time: 15 minutes
The owls have been flying far and wide, doing whatever it is that owls do all night. Now it’s almost dawn, and you’ve got to help get them back to their nest before the sun comes up! Players work to advance the group of owls* (3, 4, or 6 owls, depending on how difficult you’d like the game to be) along a path of colored spaces, but all the while time is ticking closer and closer toward morning. All players must work together to bring the owls safely home in this race against the rising sun.
Game play is pretty straightforward. Each player draws three cards from a pile containing both color cards and sun cards and places them face-up in front of him. If you have a sun in your hand, you must play it on your turn, which brings the sun one step closer to morning. If you have only color cards, then you can choose any single card and move any one of the owls to the next available space of that color. The manufacturer recommends the game for ages 4 to 8. However, since it requires no reading or counting skills (only color-matching), it’s probably suitable for someone a little younger; on the flip side, grown-ups won’t be bored silly because there is a bit of strategy involved. (A few unnamed adults in my life have admitted actually liking it!)
Like most games geared at the pre-k and elementary age groups, Hoot Owl Hoot promotes taking turns and following the rules. But what sets this game apart (and makes it one of my favorites) is that it’s a cooperative game. Unlike your typical game, where it’s everyone for herself, this isn’t a game where one player wins and the rest lose. Instead, players need to strategize, coordinate their moves, and collaborate to beat the common obstacle (in this case, that pesky sun). The need for cooperation means that players have to use their words and communicate to help one another reach the common goal.
Cognitive and Communication Skills
The nature of the game encourages lots of dialogue between players (“If you move this owl to the next purple space, he’s going to fly really far!” “If you made this move, then I could do this, and we’d get two owls home to their nest!”). In addition, as players discuss their options, they practice putting events in sequence and holding that information in short-term memory until a later turn. The game’s premise (getting the owls back to their nest before sunrise) also opens possible discussions about owls and their habits and habitats.
Secretly, my favorite part of the game (not required by the rules, but strongly suggested) is getting to hoot loudly as you fly an owl over his friends and closer to the nest. That’s plenty of opportunity for practicing those H sounds!
And because I think this game is so fantastic, we’re giving away a copy of Hoot Owl Hoot! to one lucky follower of Growing Kids. Every comment, like, or share of this blog post between now and Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:59p EDT gives you one entry into our drawing, so tell your friends!
*Did you know that a group of owls is called a parliament?!?