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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.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dig-n-Dinos Monopoly Jr.

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, turn taking, following directions, motor planning, gross motor, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, palmar arches, grasp, reach, bilateral integration, crossing midline, play and leisure exploration and participation, creative play, social interaction, cognitive functioning, attention, decision making, simple addition and subtraction
 
In the box: Board, money, chance cards, die, markers, fossils, dinosaur deed cards
Ages 5-8, 2-4 players
 
A beginners game of Monopoly for those Juniors in your life who dig dinosaurs. Themed pieces include plastic footprint fossils, large dinosaur deed cards with fact-filled description on the back, and paleontologist markers. This version doesn't take too long to play (maybe 30-45 minutes) and doesn't require large number math, as money only comes in denominations of 1 - 5. Throw the die and advance around the board. Buy dinosaur spaces that you land on and then earn money by collecting fees when other players land on those spaces. Placing a footprint fossil on each square that you own shows everyone who that square belongs to. The game ends when one player owes more money than he can pay. The player with the most money at this point, wins.
 
Try this:
  • Assign the person who is working on counting or making change to be the banker.
  • Gather a small stack of mixed bills and ask the individual to separate them and sort them into the correct denominational piles.
  • Cup the hand, squeeze the fingers together, and hold for several seconds while shaking the die without dropping. 
  • Sort the dinosaur footprint fossils into piles by color
  • Put one footprint fossil in the individual's palm and ask him to move it to the fingertips for sorting. Then try two, holding back one while working with the other.

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