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!

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Monday, May 8, 2017


An animal-themed stacking game that features colorful, wooden pieces.

Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, manual dexterity, graded grasp and release, reach, sequencing, counting 1-10, process skills, executive functions, social interaction skills, playa nd leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 10 wooden elephants, 5 wooden jokers (1 gorilla, 1 lion, 1 bear, 2 clowns), 3 wooden balancing bars, 1 wooden die
Zimbbos is a stacking game that challenges you to build "fantastic pyramids". The 15 blocks (elephants and jokers) are all the same height and roughly the same width. Each elephant has a number in the top left hand corner (1-10), but the jokers do not have a number. All pieces are brightly painted and solid. The stacking bars come in three different lengths (8", 6", 4"), and are the same width and depth.
The object of the game is to be the player to place elephant number 10 on top of the pyramid without making it fall. To play, scatter the pieces in the playing area. Play on a solid, flat surface so the towers you create will not be tipsy because of an unstable base. Each player, in turn, will throw the die and play depending on what comes up on the die.
  • 1 circle - Place one elephant on the pyramid.
  • 2 circles - Place two elephants on the pyramid.
  • 3 circles - Place three elephants on the pyramid.
  • Star - Place one balancing bar or one joker on the pyramid.
Pyramids could take many shapes, as long as you are ultimately building up. Pieces can be placed on the current level or above, but never below. Pieces can be placed upside down, backward, forward or any combination. There is a little groove middle/bottom, and a little corresponding bump middle/top, that helps the pieces stay lined up and balanced. Elephants are always stacked in numerical order (from 1-10).

Try this:
  • Make a tower by stacking just one of top of the other. How many can you stack before the tower tumbles?
  • Line up the elephants by number across the table top and count as you go. Then line them up backwards and count backwards.
  • Make a rule that all pieces have to be facing forward. Lay the pieces on the table sideways and backwards before the game starts. Pick them up and turn them in-hand to orient before placing.
  • Make a variety of towers before therapy and take a picture of each with your phone. Show the individual a picture at a time and have him copy your towers.
  • Call out one color, number, or animal at a time and have the individual line up or stack in that order.
  • After building, take the tower apart, one piece at a time, without toppling it.
  • Give directions for where to place each piece, such as on the left, top right, in between, etc.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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