September 12, 2013

UNO Moo - Game Review

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One of the very first games I bought when I started working in the schools was UNO MOO by Mattel. I think a lot of SLPs are unaware of what a great resource this game is for therapy, so I wanted to write a review and share some ideas on how to modify the play to target different goals.

Although UNO Moo is advertised as a preschool game, I have to say that even my 5th graders still enjoy it. The game consists of a barn house that is filled with a variety of colorful round plastic animals (dog, chicken, sheep, pig, cow, skunk) and white farmer pieces. Each player starts out with five pieces that are randomly picked from the barn house and put behind the haystack barrier so that the other player can’t see. Another animal is placed in the barn house window. 
The premise of the game is simple: Be the first one to return all of your animals to the barn. You get rid of your animals by matching either color or animal type to the one that is sitting in the barn window. For example: If the animal in the window is a green dog, you can either play any green animal or a dog of a different color. You can also play a white farmer anytime (compare to a “Wild Card” in the original UNO card game). But beware: Skunks are prowling the premises, as well! If a Player A places a skunk in the window, Player B has to pick two animals from the barn and add them to their pile (compare to a “Draw +2” card in the original UNO card game).
This game is wonderful for teaching children to play rule-based turn taking games, and is also extremely versatile for working on different skill areas for speech and language. Below are some ideas for how to utilize this game in therapy:

Goal area 1: Matching
Playing the game in its original sense helps kids with their matching skills. Often my students will only focus on the animal’s color, but forget that they can match like animals, as well.

Goal area 2: Sorting
You can use the little animals to work on sorting skills: Have the student group animals by color or by animal type. Or have him sort the game pieces into groups so that each group contains at least one animal of each type.

Goal area 3: Problem Solving / Planning Ahead
This game also promotes simple problem solving skills: If a student has a farmer, they have to plan when to play the piece. I encourage students to think about, “Do I really want to play my farmer when I have another animal match?”

Goal area 4: Location Concepts
This game may just be worth buying to work on this area! Since the barn has a definitive front and backside, it makes it a perfect tool to work on prepositions. You can prompt the student to, “Put the pig next to the barn, in front of the barn, behind the barn,” etc. You can also increase the complexity by adding additional linguistic information: “Put the red sheep between the green chicken and the yellow dog.”

Goal area 5: Following Directions
Similar to the previous suggestion, you can use the animals to work on following directions of all complexities. For example, “Before you put the green dog on top of the barn, put the yellow chicken next to the blue cow.” Wow-ee if your kiddos can master this, they will ace the Concepts & Following Directions subtest on the CELF-4!

Goal area 6: Articulation
This one takes some prep work, but is well worth it. Here is what you will need: Small Avery circular labels of assorted colors and an index card. Place an Avery sticker on the bottom of each animal. Then, place a sticker of each color onto a note card and write the words “Sound,” “Word,” and “Sentence” next to each (if you have more than three colors, you can also add “Phrase” or “Conversation”). 
Preparing the game pieces
Once the setup is complete, give a student a word list with their target sound. Students may then begin playing the game adhering to the original game rules. When it is their turn, they will turn over the animal before placing it in the barn window and check the color of the label. Then they will match the color to the note card instructions and say their target sound either at the sound, word, or sentence level. And the whole time they will think they are playing a game! Speech therapy success!

Goal area 7: Phonology

If you have a student working on phonological processes you can use the animals as visual representatives for a sound. For example if you are targeting final consonant deletion and are practicing CVC words, you can put three animals in front of the student (maybe the first two of the same color, the last of a different color) to cue them into the word-final sounds.

Goal area 8: Phonological Awareness

Similar to the previous suggestion, you can use the animals as visual support when working on manipulating words. For example, when working on phoneme substitution, each color could represent a different sound.
Any other ideas about how to use UNO Moo? Please leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great ideas! I just found this game at a local thrift store and can't wait to start using it in therapy!