rush hour

The Therapeutic Benefits of “Rush-Hour” Game

The Therapeutic benefits of RUSH HOUR Game for OTs, SLps, and Educators

Don’t you just love when you find a toy that works on a ton of different skills?  As a pediatric OT, these kinds of toys are my absolute favorite!

One of my very favorite OT therapy toys is called the Rush Hour game.  It’s small so it fits right in my therapy bag.

Plus, it works on so many different skills!

  • Visual Perceptual Skills
  • Spatial Orientation
  • Left-Right Directionality
  • Direction Following
  • Sequencing
  • Problem Solving
  • Fine Motor Skills

Occupational Therapists,  Speech and Language Therapists, and Educators can all use Rush Hour to work on their students’ goals.

rush hour game

How to Adapt The Rush Hour Game to Work on Different Skills

The game comes in different levels with cards ranging from beginner, junior, intermediate, advanced, to expert. The beginner card only has a few trains on it.

There are different versions of “Rush Hour” Game.  The original version features an Ice Cream truck that needs to get out of the traffic. The harder version is called “Railroad Rush Hour”.  Both versions have cards ranging from easy to difficult.

How to play the Rush Hour game

Children have to problem solve to get all the trains out of the way of the engine. To begin, the child has to match all the trains to look like the picture card.

In the set up phase, the child is using his or her visual perceptual skills to make sure:

1. They picked the right train
2.  They picked the right color
3.  They picked the right size
4.  The train is and going horizontally and vertically
5.  The train is placed properly in the exact spot as the picture

If the child doesn’t successfully achieve all the above steps, the puzzle doesn’t work!

After the child sets that up, they have to problem solve and sequence how to move the different trains out of the way in order to get the engine out of the traffic- hence the name, Rush Hour.

There are so many different skills AND different ways to play Rush Hour.

Different Ways to Play Rush Hour:

rush hour game

  1. The color-coded cards feature each train or car with its own letter, such as an A, L, or V.

2. On the back of the pattern cards are the directions for how to solve the puzzle

3. Have the child read the directions themselves to try to solve the puzzle.

4. Or you can have the child read the directions to another child, who then has to use their listening skills to follow the directions to get the right car and move it in the right direction.

        ( If you look at the image of the cards above, you can see the first one says                        “AL2″. That means move the Orange one  (A) which is a left (L) two spaces (2).)

This is a lot of work for both children if you use it that way AND you’re working on a lot of expressive and receptive language skills.

Rush Hour Game

There are many therapeutic benefits of Rush Hour game.   Another reason therapists love it?   Rush hour is:

  • small
  • easy to transport
  • comes in its own little case
  • engaging and fun
  • easy to modify the level of difficulty

All in all this is one of my favorite games.   I use it as a reward a lot because the kids don’t even know that I’m targeting so many skills because they think it’s really fun!

Miss Jaime, O.T.’s favorite Visual Perceptual skills!


Related Posts:

crayons, grasp, tripod grasp, fine motor skills, jumbo crayons, small crayons travel games, family games, educational games fine motor fads, fine motor skills, fine motor, playground games
effortless art crayons core strength
Effortless art crayons

Effortless Art Crayons

“Effortless Art Crayons”  is a sponsored post

“Every time he wants to change colors, I have to waste two minutes adapting the crayon.  It’s such a waste of time!”

Occupational therapists and special education teachers are magicians when it comes to adapting stuff for our kids with weak motor skills, developmental delays, or atypical grasp patterns.  But sometimes it’s just a pain in the neck!

The main goal is to help children be independent.  So if an adult has to step in every few minutes to put the grip on a new crayon or adjust a child’s fingers so they are in a functional position, it goes against what we are working toward (Independence!)

It’s easy to keep a grip on a pencil, but what about crayons?  The child wants to change colors every few minutes- that’s half the fun!

I’ve found the solution. 

I’m so excited to share a new product that is an amazing option for a variety of situations:

  • Immature grasping patterns
  • Underdeveloped web space
  • Weak hand strength
  • Difficulty maintaining correct grasp

Effortless ART crayons are perfect for:

  • early learners who are still developing fine motor and pre-writing skills
  • adults or children with disabilities
  • children with sensory processing or motor issues that cause them to press too hard, frequently breaking crayons
  • students  who hold the crayon too close to the tip, so they can’t see what they are doing
  • adults with disabilities, motor difficulties, or arthritis

Effortless Art Crayons are fully adapted crayons that need NO intervention to hold with a proper grasp. You can use them a few ways, which makes this product even more special!

grasping, crayons, effortless crayons, adapted crayons

Effortless ART Crayons for Children Who “Fist” the Crayon

Many children compensate for weak hand strength by clutching the crayon with all of their fingers.  Because they don’t have mature grasping patterns or a developed web space (the space between the thumb and index finger), they wrap their thumb over the other fingers and rely on their wrist or shoulder to move the crayon.

 Adapted Crayons for Children Who Press Too Hard

Some children have sensory processing issues, which can make it difficult for them to grade the amount of pressure they use when coloring.   In other words, they press too hard!

Other children haven’t developed shoulder stability, which is the ability to keep their shoulder still when they move their wrist and hand.  This leads them to use their whole arm to color.  Using those big muscles can result in too much pressure (aka broken crayons), so that can be a problem, too.

Sometimes pressing too hard can result in fingers slipping to the tip of the crayon.  This limits a child from seeing what they are doing because their fingers are in the way!

The Built-in Adaptation – A Simple Solution to So Many Problems!

Effortless Art Crayons have a natural “ridge” that can help with all of the problems mentioned above.  The ridge acts as a “stopper” for children ‘s fingers that tend to slip to the tip of the crayon.

Or, you can have your child place their fingers below the ridge toward the tip of the crayon.  In this case, the “ridge” helps to open up the web space of the hand, which promotes more thumb movement.

effortless art crayons

Interested in getting your own pack of Effortless Art Crayons? Here’s another good reason to check them out:

Effortless Art Crayons Donates To The Community!   For every pack that is purchased, the company donates a pack of crayons to a non-profit art or early learning school.

What’s Up Next:

Two Sparrows have a few more products on the horizon – including a carnauba wax crayon line that is 100% eco-friendly and vegan.   Isn’t that Amazing?

The Effortless Art product line will grow to include pens by the third quarter of 2018.


Two Sparrows collect used and discarded crayons from all over the United States to recycle and recreate their adapted crayons.  All of the packaging is eco-friendly. Do you have crayons you’d like to donate? Contact Two Sparrows via Social Media:


Facebook: Effortless Art Crayons

Instagram: two sparrows learning

Ten pack sells for $9.99

Five packs sell for $5.00

Three packs starter kit sells for $3.25

Class set sells for $99

PLUS- Get 10% off a ten pack of Effortless Art Crayons with the Promo Code “MissJaimeOT” until April 1st! 


Many parents and teachers disregard a grip that isn’t perfect.   Is it really a big deal?

It’s normal for children to change grasp patterns as they grow from a baby to a toddler to a child, but IT IS important that they develop an efficient grasp.  Teachers and parents should focus on developing the full potential of children’s hands for fine motor skills early on.  It’s much harder to change an inefficient grasp once it’s “locked in”.


Benbow, M. (1987). Sensory and motor measurements of dynamic tripod skill.  Unpublished masters thesis.  Boston, MA: Boston University.

Zivani, J. (1987). Pencil grasp and manipulation. In J. Alston & J. Taylor (Eds.). Handwriting: theory, research, and practice (pp. 24-39).  London: Croom Helm.

ot pet peeves,


core strength, sensory, hyperactivity

The real reason your students can’t sit still…Poor Core Strength!

Poor core strength is often the reason kids can’t sit still…

“Do you mind taking a look at one of my students?  He just can’t seem to stay in his chair…”

As a school based Occupational Therapist, I hear this question at least twice a week.

For the most part, kids are expected to sit at their desks in the classroom. There are times when the class breaks up into groups and move around to sit on the floor, etc., but for the rest of the day, they are supposed to sit in their seat.

Continue reading

Handwriting 101: The Handwriting Basics You Need to Know!

Handwriting, graphomotor skills, spacing tricks,


Handwriting is a complicated motor skill that requires dexterity, strength, motor planning skills, and visual memory. In the past, children learned the alphabet and how to write their letters in kindergarten. These days, children are learning how to write earlier and earlier.

Most preschools boast that they include capital and lowercase letters in their daily instruction, even though the NY state curriculum expects capitals and a few lowercase.

Why? Parents want their children to be prepared for kindergarten. Nowadays, most children are already writing on the first day of school. However, their muscles aren’t ready to start so young.

What should we do?

Continue reading

Holiday Themed Visual Perceptual Activity Packet


holiday themed visual perceptual activity packet


Don’t you just love the holidays?

I do.  Especially at school with the kids.  There are so many fun things going on: concerts, holiday boutique, holiday parties, Secret Santas, and all kinds of jolliness.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep those kids engaged, though.  They are overstimulated from all the music, busy decorations,  sweet treatments and holiday excitement.

At times like this, I love to have some fun activities or worksheets to do with the kids on my OT caseload. This year, I’m focusing on visual perceptual skills.

I’ve created a Holiday Themed Visual-Perceptual Activities packet that I can use with all of my kids – from my Kindergarteners to my Middle Schoolers.  Some of the activities are very simple, while others are pretty tough.

All of the pages are black and white – because coloring is great fine motor work! To work on shoulder stability, have the kids do these worksheets on a vertical surface or while laying on their tummy!

My Free Holiday Themed Visual Perceptual Activities packet works on the following skills:

Visual Discrimination: This is the ability to notice and compare the features of an item to match or distinguish it from another item; distinguishing a P from an R, matching shapes to complete a puzzle, etc.

Visual Figure Ground: This is the ability to find something in a busy background; finding the red crayon in a messy supply box, or finding the milk in a packed fridge, as well as finding a bit of specific text on a busy printed page.

Continue reading

OT resources, Online OT resources

The Biggest Challenges in finding OT resources

OT resources, online OT resources

Biggest Challenges in Finding Online OT Resources

As therapists, there is a common thread of struggling with time and energy when it comes to finding online Occupational Therapy resources. Many therapists struggle with fitting in professional advancement between work schedules and home life. Take into consideration all that needs to be done for a therapist to maintain licensure requirements, learn on the job, and other efforts for advancing clinical expertise. To take additional time out of family life or “off time” to seek out evidence-backed answers to clinical questions can be a real challenge!

Below you’ll find common themes related to challenges Occupational Therapists experience as they locate and search for online OT resources.

Advancing in a professional manner through independent learning as an occupational therapist “should be” easy given that therapists of this technological age have the world at their fingertips given an online search. Finding resources online “should be” an effortless and obvious means for continuing education in an individual manner. But there can be challenges to finding online resources.

Many therapists come across common challenges as they look for the resources online…resulting in frustration and unanswered questions.

Do any of these common these challenges sound familiar?

Continue reading

Is your child’s learning disability actually a vision issue?

< An undiagnosed vision issue could easily be mistaken for a learning disability. Does your child have an undiagnosed vision problem?>

I’m thrilled to have pediatric OT and vision rehab specialist  Robert Constantine guest post for me today.  Did you know that school vision screenings only detect 20-30% of vision problems?

Is it an undiagnosed Vision issue?

Vision is our furthest reaching sense. It tells us 75% of what we know about the world around us.

It affects movement, balance, and reading and writing ability.

But vision is a frequently overlooked contributor to academic problems. Undiagnosed eye movement problems can mimic conditions like ADHD and dyslexia and are not identified on school screenings, making a complete vision exam a must for every child.

Continue reading