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Let's play games!!

Let's Play Games!!

Many games can be modified to allow youngsters to participate independently or as team members. Important social interaction and cooperative skills may be learned while playing these games. "The Bumpin' Benny Game" by Milton Bradley is an example of a game that can provide challenge, fun and opportunities for friendly competition!

"Bumpin' Benny" includes four playing paddles and a battery-operated bumper car with a driver named Benny. The object of the game is to score against an opponent while keeping Benny from sliding past the paddles and into your goal area. There is a small switch on the bottom of the car that must be activated to start the game. The paddles are moved by turning rounded knobs. This game ordinarily needs adaptations. The car moves quickly and easily past the free moving paddles.

To slow down the movement of the paddles, thick rubber bands were cut into short pieces and tied at the base of the paddles. Setting the paddles on top of the bands and wrapping the band around the base stiffens the movement of the paddles. As the car bumps into the stiffened paddles, youngsters have more time to position their hands and move the paddle. The car rests on the paddle without automatically going into the goal area.

Plastic balls provide a larger grasping area for moving the paddles. The balls measure one and a half inches in diameter and should be fastened to the flat surface of the paddles using a hot glue gun. Sanding the balls slightly to flatten a small area on the balls can make made gluing easier. The balls may be purchased at local plastics shops. The small switch on the bottom of the car can be rewired to a push on-off switch, available at any electronics shop. The push button is then placed on the top of the car through a small hole drilled into the plastic. This switch is made more accessible so that the player can more readily activate or stop the car.

In playing this game, youngsters learn to pay attention to the movement of the car and to position their paddle to move the car away from their goal area. The game may be played purely for fun or the players may keep score.

Some changes may be made to the rules. The number of players may be expanded to four, with each player using one paddle or playing in teams. If three players are involved, two players could play cooperatively against one player and rotate so that everyone has an opportunity to play as a team. If a youngster wishes to play alone, the opposite paddles could be positioned to bump Benny back to the youngster. Playing in this fashion gives the youngster time to practice using the paddles and increase his/her skill in the game before playing with others.

Alice Wershing is Toy Program Coordinator and Computer Resource Specialist at the Disabled Children's Computer Group in Berkeley, California. The author wishes to thank Geoff Guttmann for his technical assistance.
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Title Annotation:Bumpin' Benny Game
Author:Wershing, Alice
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:evaluation
Date:Mar 1, 1990
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