Using the Game “Tummy Ache” in Therapy

As you have seen, I love using Orchard Toys in therapy.  They have great, educational games that children seem to love playing (as usual, no affiliate links).  This time I thought I would talk about the game that boys (aged 4-8) request the most, Tummy Ache.  The idea is to gather a full dinner by picking up different cards.  Some of the cards have the usual foods you would see at dinner (e.g. rice) and some cards have food but they are covered in creepy crawlies (e.g. maggots on a pizza).  If you play the game as it is supposed to be played, the first person with a complete meal wins.  I never play it this way.  I continue to play it until everyone has a full meal. Here are how I use it in therapy.

1. Building Vocabulary:  This game contains a wide variety of foods from steak to chicken, from rice to beans and juice to smoothies.  If the children are not familiar with some of the food, I will sometimes bring them it for them to taste test.  The game also includes a wide variety of bugs that I have used to build up vocabulary. 

2.  Categorization: I have used this game to sort food or the creepy crawlies.   I have also had children name the category of the food that they have picked up.  

3.  Describing:  The children have to describe the food and/or creature that they have picked up. 

4. Expanding sentences and pronoun use:  It is great for practicing longer sentences such as, “I have _________.”  “I like __________.” “I don’t like _________.” “You have _____.”  “Yuck, I have _____.” or “The _________ goes in the garbage.” 

5. Commenting:  This is a great game for teaching social language skills.  Often conversations are started around what food they like and don’t like.  It is a great way to talk about appropriately responding to comments when you agree or disagree what the other person has said. It is also a great way to ask why a person likes/dislikes a particular kind of food.

6. Learning about others:  Everyone has food they like or dislike.  This game naturally brings about discussion regarding favourite kinds of foods.  It is a great way to work on initiating a conversation.  

7. Teach about trading, sharing and negotiation:  I will often play the game that if they don’t like the food they have picked up, they could ask another person to trade with them.  This can sometimes get a little heated as some foods are more desirable then others.  Some children will say yes or no right away but others will start negotiating by offering to trade another food or will want another piece of food thrown into the deal.  This is also a great way of having children work on asking questions.

8. Lastly we work on some play skills as we pretend to eat the food when everyone has a full plate.  

This is a game that children request again and again. It is a great motivator and reward for the children’s hard work.  If you are interested in some of the other Orchard Toys I use, check out this blog post.  Do you use this game in therapy?

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