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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 11, 2016

Jungle Jive



Work on manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, crossing midline, motor planning, proprioceptive perception, vestibular perception, balance, coordination, motor sequencing, executive functioning, auditory memory, visual memory, social interaction, values, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 1 electronic plastic egg with sound, 18 cards with 36 exercises, 6 tokens
Ages 6+, 2+ players

An eggciting balancing game. Imitate the monkeys' moves while holding the plastic egg upright. If you tip the egg while you are moving, the bird inside will wake up laughing.  There is a button on the bottom of the egg that turns the egg on and off. Turn it on and you will hear music. The music cannot be turned off and the volume cannot be adjusted. Within seconds you will hear snoring and the game is ready to go. The snoring is coming from the baby bird inside the egg. The egg does not open and you cannot see a bird, you just take their word for it. The game comes with 18 double-sided cards, each with a different movement challenge (36 movement challenges total). The movements are rated from 1-3 for difficulty and there are 12 challenges for each level. Here is an example of a movement challenge from each level:
  • Easy - Jungle Dance - Hold the egg in both hands over your head and turn around once.
  • Medium - One-legged Meerkat - Hold the egg in both hands with arms outstretched in front of you. Stand on one leg and squat down.
  • Difficult - Balancing Act - While holding the egg in one hand, bend forward and place your other hand on the ground. Now lift and straighten one leg out behind you.
The box has a green plastic insert for keeping score. Each player is assigned one colored scoring chip and he moves it forward one slot at a times as he completes five challenges. Below you can see the colored chips standing in the slots.

To play, each player puts his colored scoring chip in the starting position in the box. Turn on the electronic egg. Player one picks a card and stands it up in the box (shown above). The player follows the directions on the card, being careful to hold the egg upright so that the bird inside does not wake up and start laughing. If this is accomplished, the player moves his scoring token up one notch and the next player goes. If the player does not accomplish this, his turn is over and he does not move his token ahead. First player to complete five challenges, wins. The egg takes 3 AAA batteries, not included.

Try this:
  • Play alone. See how many you can accomplish. Next time you play, try to beat that score.
  • Move the egg fast, there is less chance of setting off the laughter than if you move slowly.
  • Demonstrate the move for the player with the verbal directions, and/or move with him. There is a picture on each card, but the directions are written and there are two or more steps to perform for each challenge (see level descriptions above).
  • Give the individual two or three warm-up tries before accomplishing the challenge for scoring.
  • Practice performing the challenging with the egg turned off first so as not to discourage. You will have to keep an eye on the egg at most times because it is easy for it to tip with you as you move in different directions if you are not concentrating on holding it straight up. Once you feel you have the sequence of moves down, turn on the egg for scoring and perform again.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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