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As it was coming up to my daughters 3rd birthday I decided that now would be a good time to start buying her some educational board games. We bought her a pop up pirate for Christmas and she loved the idea of playing a game with mummy and daddy rather than playing with toys on her own. She also learn't a basic understanding for rules and turn taking from playing with this, that why I felt it would be a good opportunity to introduce her to some other games. Upon looking around I discovered a wide range of games that I am sure I would have liked to play but that were perhaps not the right stage for my daughter.
I came across the Ben and hollies little kingdom lotto game on Amazon for £ 6.00. My first impression was that for the price its probably not a very good game but I figured that since my daughter is a Ben and hollie enthusiast she would be more prone to play the game. I remembered lotto games from when I was younger and I got the general gist but I never really gave this game a second glance until my daughter wanted me to open it on her birthday morning.
I must admit I was rather confused at first as it didn't look like your typical lotto board games where you have to match a card to the pictures on your sheet. Instead I was presented with 4 card boards all with different scenes on from Ben and hollies little kingdom. The scenes are; hollies bedroom, bens bedroom, Gaston's house and the garden. These boards then have 6 square shaped holes going around the bottom edges. Also in the box is 24 small cards which all have pictures on. The idea of the game is to have the cards facing upside down on the floor and you take it in turns to pick up a card. If the picture on the card matches something in the bedroom you place it in to one of the holes. If it doesn't you put it back and it's the next players turn. The fist one to have their board filled is the winner.
The way this differs from lotto games I have seen previously is that you have to search the picture to see if the card matches. For those who are familiar with Ben and hollies little kingdom, they may recognise some of the things from on the programme, but it may be more difficult for those who aren't. The game is designed for children 3 plus. I think this is about the correct age for children to be able to learn anything new from the game but lotto can still be a fun game for children of all ages to play. The game can be played by 2-4 players. Usually it is just me and my daughter so we will either use 2 boards each or we will remove 2 boards and the 12 cards to match them from play. Again if there is three of us playing we will just remove the one board and the cards to match. I think it would confuse my daughter a little if there was cards left at the end of the game that belonged to none.
My daughter does enjoy playing this game and despite her learning new things about rules and game playing she is also learning how to cheat and sulk if she doesn't win. It didn't take her long before she could fully understand the rules, it took me a little longer to show her how to take turns but she got there eventually. She does find it a little bit difficult to find if her card is on her picture board and some times she does need a little bit of guidance if she can't find it. But if she could find it easily it wouldn't be challenging and therefore wouldn't be an educational game. Sometimes if she sees that I have more cards than her she will continue to pick up the cards on the floor until she finds one that fits her board. If I try to discontinue her from doing this she will sulk. Its all about teaching her to play fairly and accept it if she doesn't win. We encourage this by praising her when she does win and by clearly demonstrating that we are happy that's she won by not sulking. By doing this we hope she will do it in return when somebody else wins. The game is only short and lasts for around 15 minutes, but that is plenty of time for a 3 year old as any longer and she would loose concentration. I have found that the game allows me to play with my daughter rather than her suggesting she plays alone like she does with other toys. It allows us to spend time together, playing together rather than me just watching over her.
There are two downsides to the game; the first is the size of the cards. They measure around 2inches long and 2 inches wide. This makes them slightly fiddly and easy to loose especially as there is such a large number of them. If one was to get lost it would make the game unplayable. For now we have managed to keep hold of all of ours. I have put them into a little sandwich bag in the box. Secondly is the way you put the cards onto the board. As I previously mentioned, there are holes to slot the cards into. This at times can be fiddly for me to do, especially if you are playing on carpet as they just pop out of the other side. You have to be very precise in the way you put them in, something my daughter is not so good at. Whenever we play we give her the box to lean on so that she can place the cards into the holes. Really they should have been designed with a thin back on but with still an indentation for the cards to go.
All in all this is an enjoyable family game. It allows you to have family time with your children rather than them wanting to play alone. Despite it having a few niggles I would highly recommend it. With it being Ben and hollies little kingdom I would think it has more appeal to little fans, but nether the less it's a fun and educating game. Recommended to all.
As my son gets older I have been thinking of simple games we can get him to help with different skills he needs to learn. Whilst shopping online for some of his Christmas presents I came across this game. Although you can get simpler versions of lotto he loves Ben and Holly's little Kingdom so as it was Christmas I couldn't resist and thought it may encourage him to use it more.
As soon as it was opened on Christmas day he loved it and instantly wanted to play, well it was Ben and Holly. So my theory on that part had worked. Unfortunately for him Christmas day was not a day I was going to sit down and try and explain the idea of the game when he was over excited and wanted to rip everything open.
Eventually we managed to sit and explain the game to him. The set comes with four lovely colourful boards with exciting scenes on them that any Ben and Holly fan will recognise. We have Holly's bedroom, Ben's bedroom, Inside Gaston's cave and in the forest. Each board has six little squares you pop out as the lotto cards. They are a little stiff so your little one may need a little help first time around. The board and cards are made from very thick stiff card and it would take some force to rip it. The contents are very simple and make a lovely simple game for a young child.
So the aim of the game is: You push all the cards out of their slots on the board and place them upside down. Give them a shuffle around to make sure they are mixed up. The youngest player goes first and picks up a card. If they have that item somewhere within the picture on their board they can slot it back into the board if not it needs to be placed back down. Taking in turns you pick up a card. The player who gets all six cards back on their board first is the winner.
The game is nice and simple and a great one to introduce to children who have never really sat and played a game before. It takes time for them to learn to concentrate on the game and realise they need to take it in turns. The game is about memory, something my son is picking up nicely. The first time we played the game he just kept going for the nearest square but after a few goes he started to get the hang of it.
The age range for this game is three years plus. My son will be three in February and has coped with the game well he is improving every time we sit and play it with him. I wouldn't recommend for any younger aless your child is very advanced. As the game is very simple older children will become bored with it easily but for preschool children I think it is fun.
We have all really enjoyed sitting and playing this game. My son loves it and I think the fact it is Ben and Holly has helped too. He is familiar with all the items and loves the fact he has seen them on the television.
This small game will cost you somewhere around the seven pound mark. Which looking around doesn't actually seem that expensive. It's a fun little game that any small child would enjoy whether they are a Ben and Holly fan or not.