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Dora the explorer is a family favourite. My Daughter is a big fan of the TV show, and Mummy and Daddy don't hate it. So, Dora is always an option when it comes to buying presents.
I was looking for a birthday present for my daughter for her fourth birthday, I wanted something she wouldn't play with once then not be bothered with any more, something educational and of course, something that was fun.
Browsing the Argos catalogue I came across Dora The Explorer's Adventure game, and it piqued my interest. Suitable for children aged three and up, and only £9.99, which I thought sounded good value for a board game that would hopefully, last for a good few years and get played often. So, after a bit of online research and a bit of umming and ahhhing I made the purchase.
The box is square, and you can see Dora and boots on the front of it, so When Beth opened the present she was excited as soon as she saw her favourite characters and wanted to play it immediately -which was a good sign. So we opened the box and discovered A hard and durable square game board, a plastic spinner (which took only a moment to assemble), 4 chunky cardboard movers (Dora, boots, Tico and Isa) with good quality plastic stands, 6 red and 6 blue small rectangular back pack cards and 3 red and 3 blue double sided curvy puzzle cards (two have yellow boarders) and that's that.
Setting up the game is simple. Set out 4 red rectangle cards on the red rectangle spaces on the board and 4 blue rectangles on the blue rectangle spaces. Set out two curvy red cards in the red card space and 2 blue in the blue space and that's the game set up to play the Easy game.
Each person spins the spinner and moves to the corresponding colour, any colour spun near a rainbow space makes you land on the rainbow. Here you pick up a puzzle card and look at the picture on the back of it (they're 2 sided) then pick up one of the little rectangular cards and if they match, you put them back down and move to the end of the rainbow.
If you don't match, you show everyone your card, then put it back and wait for your next go. Remember to place the puzzle card underneath with the picture you just tried to match facing UP, it's not critical, and little ones won't notice, but if you don't ,everyone will end up turning up the same item to match!
There are two rainbow spaces and then a section where if you land in it you must say "Swiper no swiping." Three times or Swiper will swipe you back to the last rainbow space. The winner is the first person to spin his or her way to the circus at the other end of the rainbow path.
I would say young children under the age of 5 or 6 will need parental supervision to play this game with any success, because of the loose cards needing to be put back in their right places after every turn, but the actual concept of the game is easy enough to grasp and I think the games age range is just about right, though three year olds might struggle with it at first.
The instructions say the Easy game takes about 20 minutes to complete, we've played the game a good ten times since it's purchase and a game has never lasted more than 15 minutes, though usually we only play with 2 or 3 players, not the full four.
We've not played the more difficult game, Beth is not at that level yet, but here is how you do it, and I think any child over the age of 5 is likely to progress to the harder game fairly quickly.
The harder game is harder because you use all the cards. You place the 2 red puzzle cards on the red space with the yellow puzzle card with the red boarder and follow the same pattern with the blue puzzle cards, then you lay out all the little rectangular back pack cards, making the matching game that bit more complicated. The rest of the game is then exactly the same.
The game is a hit, Beth loves it, and when we get it out to play we have to play it at least 3 times before she gets bored. The pieces are chunky and well made, and I honestly can't see even the roughest toddler being able to break any of the games elements. The one little bone of contention is the cards, especially the small backpack cards, if you don't keep a track of them, they could easily get lost. To minimise the chance of this I clear away all the red cards once all players have been through that rainbow space and do the same thing then for the blues, so the cards aren't left on the board to get knocked about.
The instructions sheet is comprehensive and easy to understand, there are no batteries to insert (or run out) and only the spinner needs putting together, and that takes seconds to do. There is nothing fiddly about the set up or the game, so no headaches for the supervising adults.
I love the educational aspects of the game, turn taking and learning to be a gracious looser are important lessons taken from any game, but here your child's memory skills are tested and improved too. Different places on the board are named in English and Spanish, so as your child grows into reading, they can read the two languages on the board.And younger children can listen to you trying to pronounce the words instead! This not only teaches Spanish, it brings an awareness to your child that the language or languages he or she speaks are not the only ones in the world.
I am very pleased with my purchase, at £9.99 this game is very good value and I heartily recommend it, it's fun for children from the age of three up, and it's just about interesting enough to keep you and I interested too!
Play as one of your favourite characters from the Dora TV series to move around the board and go on adventures. Different game play levels allow the game to develop as your child develops. For 2 to 4 players. For ages 3 years and over.