Our Favourite Things: Board Games that Develop Executive Functioning Skills

It’s Cyber Monday! To celebrate and help parents, caregivers and family members with Christmas Shopping we will be posting some of favourite toys, games, and equipment that we use and love at OuTcomes Therapy. Our chosen items are not only fun and engaging but they also invite skill development. A win-win for all!

In our brain we have a command centre – often referred to as the CEO or Executive that is in charge of making sure things get done from the planning stages of the job to the final deadline. The tasks of these parts of the brain are called executive functions. When kids have issues with executive functioning, any task that requires planning, organization, memory, time management and flexible thinking becomes a challenge.

A number of environmental accommodations, educational strategies, and games can support the development of executive functions in the brain. Games that we especially like to develop executive functioning include:

1. Snake Oil. This is a great game for kids that love to role play. With each round, a different Snake Oil player draws a “customer” card. It tells them what character they are—rock star, clown, doctor, etc. The other players draw cards with words that they can combine to make up zany products, like a “Rubber Fish” to sell to that character. Kids have to figure out what the product might do, how to pitch it well, and how their characters might respond. For further information on the game, click here: http://amzn.to/2AaFRl5

2. Distraction. This tricky game tries to trip players up in wacky ways. The players go around one at a time, taking cards from a pile. The cards all have numbers on them. Each time a player draws a new card, she has to recite all the previous numbers, plus her new one. If she pulls a Distraction Card, she has to answer a question (“Would you rather kiss a jellyfish or step on a crab?”) before she repeats the number sequence. Kids won’t even realize they’re working on their recall skills. For further information, click: http://amzn.to/2iWXlaJ

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