We came across this little gem when Piper was in physical therapy and occupational therapy way before Kendyl was even born. We have only recently given it to family with little ones because Kendyl and Ari have grown too large to do half of the things listed in the cards, but it was a favorite with ALL the kids. Piper and Kendyl were the only ones who required PT.
We had The Cat in the Hat version of the game. That game is frequently sells out quickly when it hits the shelves. They have since come out with a Marvel version.
Game Mechanics and Play
I’ll be talking about The Cat in the Hat version because it’s the one we had, but they operate the same way.
The game consists of story items from the book, a “Trick-a-ma-stick”, and a set of cards labeled steps 1 through 3. You “shuffle” the cards face down on the floor or a table like you would dominos and leave it in a messy pile. On a person’s turn, they draw each step, one at a time. The person reads (or has help reading) each step until all 3 steps are drawn. If they think they can do what is needed, they say proudly, “I can do that!” and perform the task asked. Keep the cards once performed. If they cannot do that, you can have your own catch phrase and you shuffle the cards back into the pile.
Once everyone has done as many combinations as there are no more combinations available to do or none that can be done (we came across some really physically awkward combinations involving the Trick-a-ma-stick), then you count up the stars on the cards you have collected. The one with the most stars wins.
We liked having a copy of The Cat in the Hat nearby to read along with the game. Sometimes we read it before to rev them up, sometimes it was a wind down activity afterwards. It all depended on how I read it to them.
Fish is in the pile to ruin your fun. If you draw a Fish card while drawing your three steps, you keep Fish and return the command steps. (Question: Does Fish ever get a name in the following stories? Please leave a comment if you know.)
There is also a card game version which is great for travel. We do still have this one and use it primarily if we have to stay in a hotel for medical stuff… It’s an easy way to burn off some energy and get some PT in.
The card game is great for trips because the only “stuff” there is is poor old Fish. You have the action on card 1 (the red card), a location (the blue card), and stuff or Fish (the yellow card). The only issues I’ve come across with hotels is sometimes there isn’t a minifridge or a book.
- It’s a great adjunct tool for physical therapy
- The different shaped items make for good occupational therapy
- The pictures on the cards make this a great tool for learning to read
- You can read the matching book to encourage a love to reading (Cat in the Hat version only)
- This will not work for non ambulatory
- The foam Trick-a-ma-stick was very flimsy and was covered in duct tape by the time it went through 5 kids.
- The foam items can easily tear, especially the pieces that require assembly (the cake and Fish) with lots of use
- The kids get physically too big for the Trick-a-ma-stick before they are ready to part with the game
- We had several 1 player games. So instead of whomever had the highest number of stars, our single player would try to beat their previous score. We never worried if we didn’t make it through the entire pile.
- Adults can play, too. There are many things I physically couldn’t do due to size and such and it helped the kids with issues feel better about putting their cards back in the pile.