“ Brand: Vivid Imaginations „
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My youngest son loves Charley bear and so for Christmas we decided to get him this game. Its retail price is £10 but as with most toys from this character you can usually find it on sale. We purchased ours for just £4 and to be honest I was not expecting a lot. We have found most Charley bear branded toys to be poor. In the box you receive around 15 different cards, A Charley bear figure, a spinning top and a paw print shape piece of plastic.
How to play
Setting this game up is easy and my children enjoy doing it themselves. Simply place the paw print outline on the floor or any flat surface. Connect Charley bear to his spinner and then place him inside the paw. This stops they bear from rolling around on top of the cards, and of course it is recognisable symbol to fans of Charley bear. Next lay 10 cards around the paw face down so that other players cannot see what is underneath.
Basically this is a game of charades for children using the characters they know well. Starting with the youngest you take it in turns to spin Charley bear. Whichever way the large arrow on the spinner and Charley bears arm face is the card you must act out the animal, object or person and the other players must guess who you are trying to be. To play competitively you need three players, but my children enjoy just taking it in turns for fun.
My children really do like this game. I was worried that as there were only 15 different cards they may become bored easily. As ten of these cards are used each game it can get a little repetitive, but my children really do not seem to mind. They will happily play it over and over. Of course this means that each charade is picked up very quickly now, as they know what cards are in the pack. This does not stop their fun and they still enjoy acting out each instruction.
Age recommendation is three years plus which is fair. My little boy received this when he was two and a half so at first he was a little lost. As soon as he watched his brother and sister play he decided he did want to join in, and with a little help from mum with some of the actions he was able to enjoy the game too. He can now play independently as he has picked his different moves for each card and he really seems to enjoy it the most. My eldest son is soon to be six and a little old for this version. While he will play to please his younger siblings this is not something he would chose himself. He just loses attention with it very quickly and I do think he is a little out of the best age range.
The cards vary from characters from the TV show, to recognisable animals or objects, like a bee or a racing car. Each card is fairly simple so even small children can think of motions for each of them. What I do like is that they have both a bright colourful picture on the card but they also have the word printed underneath. This means children that are just learning to read can use the words, while younger preschool children can still join in because of the pictures. This makes it a perfect game for my children. I do think it is best suited to Charley bear fans, but to be honest I think any child enjoys having to use their imagination and acting silly. Of course mum and dad can join in too and this makes it great to play as a family.
I was surprised at the build of this toy. I have to admit at first I thought it was a little basic, but it has lasted well even with use from three rough children. The paw print, spinner and Charley bear are all made out of plastic. The Charley bear figure has pose able arms so it can be used away from this game too which my son loves. The cards again are nice and thick and can withstand reasonable play. They are starting to wear a little around the edges now, but they are still perfectly usable.
I would recommend this game to Charley bear fans as it is perfect for preschool children. The bright colours on the cards and the simple idea are both fun and entertaining. It can get repetitive as there are only fifteen different variations for them to act out, but my children do not seem to mind. While it is not used as much as it was 6 months ago it still receives a fair amount of use. I am not sure I would pay full retail at £10 as it is a very basic item, but for anything under £5 it is a good purchase. It can be found on Amazon and at Tesco where it is often on promotion. My only downside is the storage. The box is came in was not great, so you need to find somewhere else to store it.