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.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Monkey Dunk

Work on finger isolation, spatial orientation, eye-hand coordination, grading pressure, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, spatial relations, social participation, play exploration and participation

In the box: 20 flippin' monkeys, 16 bananas, a target with four sections, a stand-up background, a pop-up elephant

Not all flippin' toys are created equal! I have had my share of the ones that just squish when you push on them and barely move when you let go. This is a good quality set that the kids have loved and the monkeys have held up well. The pond is set up in the bottom of the box. There are two blue plastic forms that sit side by side in the box and form the four cups that you can shoot the monkeys into. The cardboard background provides a backstop for long shots and is especially helpful for those who cannot grade the pressure.  Push down on the elephant, place it in one of the empty sections, and it will pop up randomly in an effort to block one of your monkeys from making it into a space.  I used it once and have not used it since.  The bananas are for keeping score and I don't use those pieces either. Every one plays at the same time to see who can flip all his monkeys into the cups first.

Try this:
  • Take the background down once the person is better able to grade the pressure and is able to get them into the cups without too many long shots flying over the box.
  • Aim for 1 out of the 4 sections and see how many the player can get in. 
  • Use one section for each of the 4 colors.  See if you can get all of the red in one section, all of the blue in another, etc.
  • Work hand-over-hand if the individual has trouble pressing and releasing or grading pressure.
  • Call a cup each time before the player shoots, such as right back, or left front, to tell him which cup to aim for.
  • Push the box back further or pull it forward to adjust to the person and/or make the game easier or more difficult.
  • Time the player and see how long it takes to get all the moneys into the cups. Then play again and try to beat that time.
If you are interested in buying this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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