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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 19, 2017

Monkey Beach

A new spin on a feel-and-find game.
 
Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual motor integration, visualization, visual memory, manual dexterity, bilateral coordination, precise fine motor control, motor planning, tactile perception, stereognosis, focus and attention, executive functions, process skills, social interaction skills, play and leisure exploration and participation 
 
In the box: Fabric island, 28 tiles, 12 plastic treasures holders, 24 cardboard treasures
 
Ahoy Mateys! A troop of pirate monkeys have returned to volcano island to collect their treasure before the volcano erupts. Unfortunately, they've forgotten where they hid it and time is running out. They need your help. The object of this game is to use your sense of touch to locate and collect the treasure pieces, bringing them out through the correct openings to safety. This feel-and-find game is different from others in that you will be feeling and moving pieces that are covered with fabric and from the outside, not putting your hand inside of a container. There is a bit of simple assemble required before you play which includes punching out cards and the treasure pieces, and snapping the treasure into the plastic shapes. There are two cardboard treasures for each shape so that the shape looks the same on both sides. The "island" is made of two layers of cloth sewn together with four openings around the edge, big enough for one piece to pass through. Rising up off the island is a green volcano. This is like a cloth pouch that has elastic at the top so that you can't see into it. To set the game up, place the pieces into the volcano top to get them into the island (see image below). Separate the blue cards (treasure pieces) from the green cards (location pieces, volcano pieces), and turn them all face-down.   
 

In turn each player will turn over one green and one blue tile. This is a cooperative game, players against the volcano. There is a volcano that is made up of four green tiles (see image above). As the players turn two tiles (per turn) there are two things that could happen:
  • The player turns over a blue treasure tile and a green location tile. Feel the pieces through the top of the fleece and find a matching plastic shape. Move it to the location specified on the card and take it out (one of the four openings around the edge). There are two different treasures for each shape, so you may get the shape right but the treasure wrong. If it is right, keep it. If it is wrong, put it back in the volcano. Try to remember where it ends up under the fleece in case you get a chance to get it later.
  • The player turns over a blue treasure tile and a green volcano tile. Add the volcano tile to the volcano puzzle. Draw another location tile and if it is a volcano put it with the puzzle and keep drawing until you draw a location. Then proceed as in the step above.
If the four pieces of the volcano are drawn before all 12 treasures are removed, then the volcano wins. If the players remove the treasures before the four volcano pieces are drawn, the players win.
 
Try this:
  • Start by looking at each plastic piece with its matching card. Feel it, talk about its shape (six sides, round, etc.), compare the shape you talked about to the shape on the card. Ask the individual to close their eyes and describe what he feels. Place the piece in the fabric island and feel again.
  • Start with only two or three pieces in the fabric island for a less challenging game.
  • Skip playing a game and just feel for the matching pieces. Place the plastic pieces in the volcano. Turn over one blue (treasure) card at a time and find the two matching plastic pieces of that shape. Bring them out any location.
  • Compare each location tile to its opening on the fabric island before starting the game.
  • Play with only one of each shape and one matching card, so there is no chance of getting the wrong piece.
  • Model how to hold the fabric island down with one hand while you push the plastic piece around with the other hand.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.
 


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