Teach Through Games: Press & Spin Birthday Bear

Teach Through Games: Press & Spin Birthday Bear

Age level: Preschool, Kindergarten

Description: This number match and drawing game is excellent for use in the preschool classroom or at home. The spinner is great for young learners because you simply press down on it with an open palm to make it spin. Each player has a coloring sheet (pictured below). They must match the number from the spinner to a number on the coloring page, then they trace and fill in a part with the corresponding number.

This game is one of a series of six Press & Spin games put out by Melissa and Doug, each promoting a different range of skills. You should take a look at the selection here and see which one would be best suited for your learner(s).

Skills & Modifications: This game requires few modifications, as it is designed with young learners in mind.

Scanning – After spinning the spinner, the learner must scan his/her coloring page to find the corresponding number. If you have a learner who is struggling with this skill, you can help them by covering part of the coloring page with your hand so they have less information to scan. There is only one design in the coloring pages, so some learners quickly memorize where each number is located on the page. If you want to mix up the scanning skills, take a look at the third option in the “Ideas for extending the lesson” below.

birthdaybear3Tracing – It’s great to have a game that incorporates tracing, especially since this is a skill that many learners with autism struggle with. It’s useful for learners who need to work on this skill because during each turn, there is only a small amount of tracing and the learner may be more motivated to practice tracing when spinning the spinner is a part of the game.

Taking Turns – Many of my students are highly motivated by this spinner. It’s easy to use, especially for young learners who may not be able to isolate digits in order to spin a traditional spinner. It’s also a great tool for practicing taking turns because each turn is relatively quick and the learner’s motivation to use the spinner is high.

Matching – The learner must be able to match the number on the spinner to the number on the coloring page. This is a great way to practice this type of matching for early learners.

Number Identification – I love this game for introducing number recognition to young learners who are motivated by the spinner or by coloring.

Pros: The first thing that caught my eye about this game was the spinner. Many of the my young learners with autism struggle to accurately spin a traditional spinner, which can make it difficult for them to participate in other games designed for them. I also appreciate that this is a quick game, great for a short activity during indoor time. Lastly, the price is great, especially because it contains materials I use for several other activities.

Cons: Though there are 4 drawing pads that each contain 10 pages, they are all the same image. Some learners with autism may benefit from this repetition, but I typically like to build in variety  into all the activities I introduce to avoid fostering rigidity. Other students will get bored when they see the same materials presented over and over, so you may need to create materials before playing the game a second or third time.

Ideas for extending the lesson: For learners who are motivated by the spinner, there are many ways you can continue working on number sense. One thing I have done is to put groups of items on a table (such as two pom poms, three toys cars, six crayons etc.) The learner spins the spinner, then has to find the group with the matching number of items.

A second way to extend the lesson is to bring out Do A Dot or stickers. The learner spins the spinner, then puts that number of dots or stickers on a page.

A final way to extend the lesson is to draw several different lines and shapes on a piece of paper with pencil, put the numbers 1-6 randomly next to each line. Then play with the spinner as you do with the coloring page.

Cost: $5.99 You should invest in this game if: you are seeking simple games for early learners, you are searching for a spinner that is easy for all learners to utilize, or you are a parent looking for games siblings can enjoy together.

ABLLS: A10, R3, R6, R8, S3

VB-MAPP: Writing 12, Math 12, Math 15

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