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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

KeeKee the Rocking Monkey & Coo Coo the Rocking Clown

Work on manual dexterity, graded release, attention, eye-hand coordination, executive functioning, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, palmar arch development, balance, body awareness, visual discrimination, spatial relations, play and leisure exploration and participation 

In the box: One figure, 24 stacking pieces
Ages 3+, 1-6 players

Simple games of balance. Basically one and the same game from Blue Orange, one of my favorite game manufacturers. Stand either Kee Kee the monkey or Coo Coo the clown on the table top in front of you. The characters are rounded at the bottom so they will easily tip and rock east-west. Then, one by one, balance the wooden pieces on the figure without toppling it. Of course the more pieces you add and the higher they are stacked, the harder it gets to balance new pieces. Play alone or take turns placing pieces with someone else. If the pieces fall on your turn, the other player has won. Everything is wood and pieces are solid, smooth, and brightly painted. I have never had paint chip or peel on games from Blue Orange. I have used with kids of a wide range of cognitive levels. 

Try this:
  • Play with the figure and pieces before starting a game. Demonstrate how to place pieces on alternating sides to keep it balanced and what happens when you don't.
  • Call a color sequence, such as blue, orange, yellow. Ask the individual to remember the color sequence and place pieces in that order. Rehearse the color sequence out loud three times to aid in remembering.
  • Hold the monkey or clown with non-dominant hand and place pieces on with dominant hand. The figure will not rock and placement may be easier for beginners.
  • Sort pieces by size or color before beginning. Call one piece at a time for the individual to place, either by color or by size (large, medium, small).
  • Choose a pre-set number of pieces and ask the individual to balance them, such as 6 pieces. Then take the pieces off and ask him to place seven pieces. Repeat until the individual knocks some off or stop before they fall for success.
  • Give specific instructions such as place a red piece or place a yellow piece on the left.
  • Try to place two pieces at once, one in each hand.
  • Put the pieces away by dropping them one at a time in the cupped hand. How many can the individual hold without dropping?
  • Place all pieces of one color without making any fall off.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on an image below.

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