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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.


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Allowance Game


Work on money skills, counting money, making change, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, visual discrimination, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation, turn taking

In the box: Board, pretend money ($1 bills, $5 bills, nickels, dimes, quarters), die, markers, chips
Ages 6+, 2-4 players

Advance around the board earning, saving and spending your allowance. The first player to save $20, wins. There are no decisions to make, so the first one to save $20 will depend solely upon the throw of the die. Spaces say things like "Walk the dog - Earn 50 cents" or "Go to the movies - Spend $2.50". Collect $3 each time you pass Home. I bought this game brand new and sealed, but no instructions were included in the box, so I don't know what the small chips are for.

Try this:
  • Sort the coins into the 5 cent, 10 cent, and 25 cents, spaces on the board before the game.
  • Cup the hand and shake the die for 10 seconds before throwing it.
  • Pick up (or put) several coins in the hand for sorting. Bring one coin at a time to the fingertips to drop.
  • Skip the game. Line up the coins on the table with the face side up by putting one or more coins at a time in the players palm (or a couple coins at the base of the fingers). Ask him to move coins, one at a time, to the finger tips, turn them to the correct side, and place them on the table.
  • Put the game away by picking up one coin at a time and squirreling it in the palm without dropping. Drop coins into the box by the handful. How many can you hold?
  • Make change for $1. See how many different ways you can do it. When you get to $1, lay the money on a $1 bill. Repeat. See how many $1 bills you can count change for before the bank runs out of change.
  • Pick up the coins one at a time as you count and squirrel them into the palm without dropping.
  • Place 10 coins in a line on the table. Flip them one at a time so that they are face-down. Time yourself, do it again, and try to beat the time.
  • Ask the player to cup one or two hands. Drop the coins into the hand(s) one at a time while counting them, either by the piece or by the value.

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