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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.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Melissa & Doug Play Money



Work on making change, counting, coin values, coin identification, sorting, saving and spending, budgeting, shopping, visual discrimination, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, problem solving, decision making, planning, creative play

In the tray: 50 each of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, fifty cent pieces

A money tray to beat all money trays. All sizes are proportional to the real thing, and everything looks quite similar to the real thing. The paper money is a nice weight and is holding up to frequent use. The plastic coins have that little lip around the edge that plastic coins have nowadays and are lighter in weight than the real thing, which makes them a little harder to use when performing in-hand manipulation. I actually like to replace the plastic coins with real change. The one major flaw that many Melissa & Doug products have, IMHO, is no lid. With 550 pieces I want a lid. From the product reviews on Amazon I see that it used to come with a lid, but no longer. I have fashioned a semi-functional lid out of a piece of corrugated cardboard and several rubber bands. Yes, there are $1 bills under the label. I use this a lot.

Try this:

  • Set up a pretend store using items in your home. Shop, pay, make change.
  • Pick up coins while counting, squirreling each coin into the palm and holding them all in one hand.
  • Put several coins in the player's hand and ask him to count it out onto the table, moving one coin at a time to the fingertips before dropping.
  • Lay a row of coins tails-up on the table. Ask the individual to turn all coins heads up. Pick each coin off the flat surface and turn in one hand before replacing in the line.
  • Lay the coins as above and flip them as fast as you can. Do it again and try to beat your time.
  • Look through a catalog and ask the individual to choose an item he would like to save for. Ask him to count out that much money from the money tray. Take the opportunity to talk about saving.
  • Pick up (or put) several coins in the hand for sorting. Bring one coin at a time to the fingertips to drop into the money tray.
  • Give the individual a bill (such as $10 or $20). Look through a grocery ad and ask him to pick out a favorite food. Pay the listed price (make change in the tray), then look for another and another until all the money is gone.
  • Make change five different ways for $1. Pick up the coins one at a time as you count and squirrel them into the palm without dropping. When you get to $1, lay the money on a $1 bill. Repeat until you have done all five.
  • Choose one of the ads from a Sunday paper. Ask the individual to pick out a big ticket item he would like to have and remove the amount he needs from the tray. Let him pick out one more and do the same. Ask him to count all the money on the table. How much will he need to buy the two items?
  •  Use a store ad from a Sunday paper. Ask the individual to choose any item and count out the money to pay for it. Then give him a large bill, as if you were the customer, and ask him to give you the change.
  • Plan a meal around the coupons you find in a Sunday paper. Ask the individual to count out the value of each coupon, then total it to see how much you would save.
  • Use the touch coin system for kids that really have a hard time counting change and jumping from one denomination to another. This method has been very successful for me. Just search 'touch coin' on Pinterest for ideas.
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    If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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