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, April 7, 2017

Monkeys Up

Work on number recognition, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, hand arch development, process skills, socialization skill, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 18 monkeys, 1 die

A monkey-themed game where you flip, switch, and steal your way to victory. Looking at the monkey with the wide base of support on top and bottom you would think that they lend themselves to stacking, but they don't. Just too wobbly. The object is to either have the highest score, or the three highest numbers at the end of the game. Each monkey has either a number (from 2-15) or an X (equal to zero) printed on the base under his feet. There is one monkey for each number and three Xs. You can only see what's printed when you flip the monkey. Monkeys are approximately 2 1/16 inch tall. To set up, place all the monkeys number side down in the middle of the playing area. Each player chooses three monkeys. He can look at the numbers, but keeps the numbers hidden from the other players. Taking turns, players will throw the die and follow the instructions:
  • SWITCH - Trade one of your monkey for any other monkey on the table. (Two sides of die)
  • STEAL- Take any monkey and place it in front of you. (One side of die)
  • FLIP - Turn any monkey number side up. (Two sides of die)
  • REVERSE - Pass the die in the opposite direction to reverse the direction of play. (One side of die)
The game will end when one player has three monkeys flipped number side up in front of him. I think this game is pretty pricey for what's included. It's based a little bit on strategy and a lot on luck.
Try this:
  • Turn all the monkeys number side up and ask the player to line them up in ascending or descending number order.
  • Place all the monkeys on their feet. Ask the player to pick up each monkey, turn it in-hand, and stand it on its head.
  • Ask the player to cup his hand to shake the die. If he has difficulty, place a small ball in his palm to help him form the shape. Remove the ball and add the die. Shake the die for 10 seconds or while singing one verse of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed to keep the hand arched in that position longer.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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