Hijinx on the High Seas (pirate entertainment!) and a GIVEAWAY!

Argh….me first mate, Pirate Melanie, and I were struck down with the scurvy at the end of last week – so we are a tad behind with our game post! After some R&R and plenty of vitamins and cold meds we are back at the helm and ready to share two of our VERY FAVORITE pirate games with you!

Miss Elizabeth highly recommends Pesky Pirates! This game is sure to please your pirates from preschool to third grade. At its most basic, Pesky Pirates is a counting game. Assemble the nifty puzzle board, distribute the gold coins around the board then spin to move your pirate around the map to collect the doubloons and add them to your treasure chest. Look out! If the spinner lands on the Pirate – your opponent can steal a coin from your treasure chest. When this occurs, I insist the little treasure thief yell out, “ARRR, GIVE ME YER TREASURE!” (My game – my rules! Highly entertaining!). Of course, after the plunder it is important to remember to our manners and add, “THANK YOU, ME HEARTIE!!!” I often use this game as a reinforcer. Practice producing good sounds, forming great sentences, or answering questions and take a turn. (Oh, you need some fantastic picture cards? Take a gander at our pirate vocabulary, /r/ words, or other great stimulus sets in our Wordy Wednesday feature!) This simple game is tons of fun. I have yet to encounter a child who did not enjoy it. I love the opportunities for social interaction – taking turns, requesting treasure (um…stealing treasure) and saying thank you. Every once and a while, I stumble across a Pouty Pirate, who is a little bitter when they don’t pick up a coin or is highly irritated when his treasure has been plundered. (Can you imagine such a scenario???). This is a great time to practice some good sportsmanship. “Hmmm, you never know what is going to happen next.” “If I don’t get a coin, should I start caterwauling?” (all my kiddos know this pirate word for crying and carrying on! It never fails to make them laugh.) “Does it matter if you don’t win?” “No, we are just having FUN!” After repeating these phrases approximately 582 times over consecutive sessions, you just may find that your little pirate can enjoy playing games without winning every time!

The wily pirate wench Miss Melanie has another suggestion sure to get your little sprog in a carousing, seafaring mood. Hide and Seek Pirates is a spatial reasoning brain teaser with a buccaneer bent to it. The player must position four puzzle pieces onto the game board so that only a specific set of images on the board remain visible. Ye might be laughin’ it sounds so simple, but I dare ye to try it! This game is a real test of visual-spatial logic, which requires your little matey to hold several pieces of visual information in working memory. You’ve got to remember which pictures should be showing and which should be covered, as well as figure out how to turn each piece and where to put it to make your board match up with the pictured challenge. If your pirate sails along the Autism Spectrum, they might find this game to be a total breeze; research suggests that many children with autism have higher-than-average spatial reasoning skills. This game is particularly good as an end-of-therapy reward or as a bit of a language break, since it can be played solo and without using any words. But around here, of course, it’s our business to get kids talking to us, so we’ve devised a few ways to make this into a multi-player game. Depending on your goals and the attitude of your swashbuckler on any given day, you might want to make it into a cooperative game or a competitive one. To play Hide and Seek Pirates cooperatively, you’ll need to do some verbal negotiating among players to strategize where each piece should go. It’s a good exercise (albeit a bit tricky) to put your thought process into words, so bonus points for a metacognition workout! Competitive playing requires a stopwatch (or a wristwatch, if you’d like to incorporate some practice in telling time!). Player 1 solves the challenge as Player 2 times him. Write down how long it took Player 1. Then players switch roles. If you’re solving second, NO PEEKING! I could see this being an excellent game to stop the are we there yets? on your next road-trip high-seas adventure!

Mateys, the high seas and fair winds have been mighty kind to us at Growing Kids Therapy Center and we would like to share our bounty with you! Enter to WIN your choice of one of these great games! Each time you “like,” share or comment on any post on our blog or Facebook page between now and 11:59 EST on October 1, 2012 and you will be entered to win. Sign up to follow the Growing Kids Blog or Facebook Page and you will be entered twice!

Good luck me hearties! ~Elizabeth and Melanie

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