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Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Monkey Blocks


Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, visual memory, figure ground, propreoception, spatial relations, manual dexterity, problem solving, play and leisure exploration and participation, sensory awareness, balance

In the box: 12 blocks, 6 monkeys, 30 puzzles

The goal is to build the different 3D structures based on the 2D models in the book. The yellow blocks are weighted on one end and the green blocks are weighted in the middle. The blue blocks are not weighted. The individual must figure out where the weight goes or he will topple the structure. The monkeys are all doing something different, and the pattern is specific as to which monkey to place where. Some puzzles may require that you place 2 blocks simultaneously (one in each hand) to keep the structure balanced. 

Try this:
  • Play with the blocks before you start the pattern book so that the kids can get a feel of the weighted pieces and how they respond when stacked this way or that.
  •  Kids who have trouble setting two things down at the same time have had trouble with this. Practice beforehand by placing one block horizontal on the table. Then, with a block in each hand, simultaneously stack/balance 2 blocks horizontally and then 2 blocks vertically.  That way the child can practice without the disappointment of toppling the whole structure each time.
  • Once the structure is built, can the individual take it apart, one piece at a time, without toppling it?
  • If looking at the book is too much, or the individual does not know where to focus, I cover all but the pieces they are suppose to be adding plus anything underneath it.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below to go to Amazon.com.

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