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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, May 6, 2018

Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Practice 4 bedtime activities while playing a fun game.
Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, manual dexterity, coordinated use of two hands, finger isolation, web space development, following a visual schedule, practicing ADLs, gross motor, counting, executive functioning, socialization skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: Game board, plastic bed, 24 monkeys, 20 punch-out tokens, spinner

This game is based on the children's song Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Unlike the song, this game has the bonus of focusing on a bedtime routine and requiring players to act out four different activities of daily living. There are four different tokens and each one pictures a different activity: Taking a bath, brushing teeth, putting on PJ's, and going to bed. The board measure 16" long and 10 3/8" wide. Around the edge of the board are pillows that will either picture one before-bed activity or a number with monkeys. Atop the board sits a plastic bed. The yellow mattress on the bed has square indents where players will stand their monkeys. The mattress is pushed down to start the game and as the players take turns they will stack monkeys on the mattress. Each turn is ended by pushing down the red button on the bedpost which will result in either no action or the mattress popping up and possible throwing monkeys off the bed. No batteries required. I took the picture below from the WalMart website. The box is the same but the board and spinner look different. The pillows on my board are square and my spinner is more colorful, but basically the same game.

Object: 
Be the first to collect four different tokens and have four or more monkeys standing on the bed.

Set Up:
Place the tokens and spinner next to the bed. Give each player one set of six same-color monkeys. Place the bed on the board and push down the yellow mattress. All players place one monkey on the start square on the game board.

Play:
In turn, each player will spin the spinner and advance his monkey that many spaces around the game board. If he lands on a space picturing a monkey with a number, (1, 2 or 3), he will put that many monkeys on the bed. If he lands on a space picturing a bed-time activity, he will act out that activity. Then he will collect a token picturing that activity and put one monkey on the bed. If a player lands on a space and already has that token, he may act out the activity again, but does not get another token and does not get to put a monkey on the bed. Every time a player passes the START space he can place a monkey on the bed. At the end of each turn, players will push down the red bedpost. Either nothing will happen or the bed will shake, the mattress will pop up, and monkeys may fall. Any monkeys that fall off the bed are returned to their owner(s). Any monkeys that fall over but stay on the bed, may be picked up and placed upright on the bed. Any time the mattress pops up, push it back down and continue the game. The game ends when one player has collected the four different tokens and has four monkeys standing on the bed.

Try this:
  • Practice standing the monkeys upright on the bed before playing the game. How many can you stand without knocking down any nearby monkeys?
  • Use visual schedules, one for each ADL, as you play the game. Pretend to do each step that is pictured on your schedule for each task.
  • Use as a fun practice right before the actual bedtime routine.
  • Look for a nice "O" in the web space before flicking the spinner.
  • Practice holding the spinner in one hand and flicking the arrow with the other.
  • Practice flicking with different fingers to thumb.
  • Sort the tokens into piles of same-pictures. There are five of each.
  • Sort the monkeys into piles of same-color. There are 6 of each color.
  • Ask that all monkeys are placed on the bed in a certain direction, for instance facing forward. Or call each one before it is placed, such as make him face left or place her facing right. 
  • Allow the player to place one monkey on the bed if he lands on a space and already has the token but is required to act out the activity again.
  • Model gross motor movements for each step. Keep the steps the same each time so the individual can learn the routine.

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