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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.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Funky Monkeys


Work on visual discrimination, manual dexterity, hand arch strength and support, figure ground, pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation, turn taking, spatial relations

In the box 1 game board, 4 pawns, 1 Funky Monkey die, 1 Top Banana die, 20 small banana cards
Ages 4-10, 2-4 players

If you like Chutes and Ladders, you are bound to have a barrel of fun with this one. Be the top banana by collecting the most banana cards by the end of the game. The game comes with two small, blank, white dice and you will have to put the included adhesive stickers on the dice (12 stickers in all). To play, open the large playing board and place all the banana cards at the top of the tree.  There are two trees, one that goes up the left side of the board and one that goes up the right side, with vines and a swinging bridge that allows players to cross back and forth.  Each tree has leaves that are numbered 1-32. Each player chooses a pawn and places it at the bottom of the board, on START. Each player, in turn, throws the Funky Monkey die and moves his pawn up the tree the number that the die lands on. If the die lands on a banana, the player does not move but gets a banana from the top of the tree. If the die lands on the Funky Monkey, the player gets to take one banana from any other player. If you should land on a leaf with a banana peel, you slip back down to the bottom of the tree, give back any bananas you have collected, and start over. When a player meets the Monkey Bridge, he can choose to continue climbing or to cross over to the other tree. If he crosses over without slipping on a banana peel, he collects three bananas. If a player lands on a swinging vine, he can take the shortcut to advance up the tree. The first player to make it to the top throws the Banana die and collects that many bananas. The game ends and the person with the most bananas, wins.

Try this:
  • Choose another penalty for slipping on a banana peel. Starting over seems so harsh! LOL
  • Play a quicker game by just using the monkey die and moving up the tree without collecting bananas. First one to the top, wins.
  • Make a cup in the palm of the hand by bringing the fingers together and holding. Jiggle the die in the hand for several seconds before throwing.
  • Set up the bananas before playing by stacking them into a pile, holding them in the non-dominant hand, and pushing them off, one at a time, and placing on the board with the dominant hand.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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