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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 29, 2016

Monopoly Junior

 

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: Gameboard, 4 tokens, 20 chance cards, 48 sold signs, 90 1 banknotes, 1 die
Ages 5+, 2-4 players

I have blogged several times on the Opoly games (see links below) as precursors to the original version of Monopoly. This Monopoly Junior game is the Monopoly brand's own version to its original game. There are four spaces on the board in this game that are exactly the same graphics as on the original game: Go, Jail, Free Parking, and Go To Jail. The rules, however, are different for two of them: 1) Once you land in jail you will pay $1 on your next turn and get out, 2) Free Parking is just a resting space, no opportunity to pick up extra cash. Of course that may be a house rule. The board is folded into fourths.


There are four colorful tokens - a cat, a dog, a car, and a ship. I have noticed a new symbol on Monopoly money for quite awhile now. It is a capital M with two horizontal lines running through the middle of it. I googled it and it has been suggested that it stands for Monopoly Money. This replaces the US symbol for dollar we are used to seeing so that the game is not specific to any one country (although all writing in English). There are 16 spaces that can be "owned" and that can be used to collect rent. There are no deed cards, instead there are small sold signs that match your token. Once you buy a space you simply place one of those signs on the board, above the space, to indicate that you own the space and can collect rent. Spaces are named for places kids might frequent, such as the zoo, the swimming pool, the toy store, and the library. The chance cards include old as well as new instructions including get out of jail free, advance to Boardwalk, collect 2 for doing your homework, and move ahead up to 5 spaces. You may even get the chance to buy a property of your choice from another player. The game typically take 30-45 minutes and ends when someone runs out of money. 

When comparing this original Monopoly Junior with the Opoly Junior games, I prefer the Opoly Junior games. Here's why:
  • Deed cards
    • Original Monopoly Junior - Has none.
    • Opoly games - Includes them. Since the money can be hard to separate, these thicker cards give an additional chance to practice hand skills many times during a game including manual dexterity, shifting, and using two hands in a coordinated manner.
  • Chance cards
    • Original Monopoly Junior - Cards include options to advance around the board or exchange money.
    • Opoly games - Cards include multiple opportunities to include gross motor and creative movement such as do your best dog trick, do your favorite fairy dance, do your best impression of walking the plank. 
  • Ownership tokens
    • Original Monopoly Junior - Pieces are flat and are placed above the space.
    • Opoly games - Pieces are plastic and 3 dimensional, offering more opportunities for play and manipulation.
  • Money
    • Original Monopoly Junior - Comes in denominations of 1 only.
    • Opoly games - Comes in denominations of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Links to Junior Opoly games I have blogged about: Puppy-Opoly, Fairy-Opoly, Pony-Opoly, Princess-Opoly, Pirate-Opoly Pet-Opoly.


Try this:
  • Assign the person who is working on basic math skills to be the banker.
  • Cup the hand, squeeze the fingers together, and hold for several seconds while shaking the die. If the individual has difficulty cupping the hand, place a small ball in the band and ask the individual to curl the fingers around the ball. Remove the ball while asking the individual to keep his hand in that position.
  • Cup the hand and drop the sold signs, one at a time, into the hand while cleaning up. Can he hold them all without dropping?
  • Clear the sold signs off the board to put away by picking them up, one at a time, and squirreling them into the palm. How many can be held without dropping?
  • Sort the money into a neat pile, turning each bill so it faces the same direction. The bills can be difficult to separate, especially if the hands are dry.
  • Practice stacking, then fanning the bills slightly for quicker counting.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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