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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Friday, June 19, 2015


Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, turn taking, following directions, motor planning, gross motor, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, palmar arches, grasp, reach, bilateral integration, crossing midline, play and leisure exploration and participation, creative play, social interaction, cognitive functioning, attention, decision making, simple addition and subtraction
In the box: Board, money, plastic skull and crossbones, die, board markers, deed cards, instruction cards
Ages 5-8, 2-4 players
Aaarrgh you ready to play a pirate themed beginners version of Monopoly?  A Little Kid Opoly game that looks like Monopoly, plays like Monopoly, and has the elements of Monopoly, but is manufactured by Late for the Sky Manufacturing Company. The pirate themed pieces include plastic skull and crossbones to mark your territories, pirate deed cards, walk the plank instruction cards, and parrot markers. This version doesn't take too long to play (maybe 30-45 minutes) and doesn't require large number math, as money (bits) only comes in denominations of 1 - 5. The deed cards each picture a different pirate and has a description of him on the back. The Walk the Plank instruction cards encourage interaction and may require physical movement, such as stand up and do your best imitation of walking the plank, or take a walk around the board on your pretend peg leg. Throw the die and advance around the board. Buy pirate spaces that you land on that are not occupied and then earn money by collecting "bits" when other players land on those spaces. Placing a skull and crossbones marker on each square that you own shows everyone who that square belongs to. The game ends when one player owes more money than he can pay. The player with the most money at this point, wins.
Try this:
  • Assign the person who is working on counting or making change the job of banker.
  • Gather a small stack of mixed bills and ask the individual to separate them and sort them into the correct denominational piles.
  • Hold the deck of property cards in the non-dominant hand and use the thumb to push each card off, one at a time, to deal.
  • Stand up all of the skull and crossbones markers that will be used for the game by holding 2 or 3 in the palm and moving them, one at a time, to the fingertips to rotate and place on the table. 
  • Cup the hand, squeeze the fingers together, and hold for five seconds while shaking the die without dropping. 
  • Sort the skull and crossbones markers by color.
  • Put the skulls away after the game by asking the player to cup the hand, hold the fingers tight in that position, and then slowly drop the skulls into the palm one at a time. If he has trouble cupping the hand, first shape the player's palm by putting a small ball or round object in the hand and forming the hand around it. Then remove the ball. 
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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