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Orchard Piggy in the Middle

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3 Reviews

Brand: Orchard / Age: 5 Years+

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    3 Reviews
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    • More +
      20.10.2013 21:51
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      An entertaining game to teach kids about using money.

      Orchard Toys are a British company that make fantastic jigsaws and board games for children. We have owned many of these games over the years. Our most recent acquisition was this one, Piggy in the Middle. I had it on my amazon wish list, and the price dropped down to just £3.53 and I could not resist it at this price. It is worth up to £10, so I felt thrilled to get a bargain.

      I got this for my eldest son who has just turned 7 and is in Year 2. He is just getting to the stage where they do the occasional bit of work with money in school and he also has to go on daytrips without me with his Beavers group and take pocket money. I want him to be able to work out what coins he needs and how much change he should get and that game is perfect for this. With an advised range of 5-10, I think he is a good age for it, although his younger brother who is 5 has managed to get a good grasp of the rules and money handling pretty quickly too.

      The game is as well made as any other in the range. The main board is a jigsaw made with 6 pieces. You then have the usual dice and counters, a spinner, and some game cards. The most exciting bit of this game though is the pretend money and the little plastic piggy bank that it comes with.

      The aim of the game is a little more complex to suit the age group compared to other games we've played in the range. We had to read the rules carefully and recheck during our first couple of games. You are given a piggy bank card, and some money to start you off. You then take turns to roll a dice and move round the board. If you land on a circle with a ? symbol, you take a card. These cards are either spend or save and give a familiar scenario like the tooth fairy visited, or you bought some flowers for grandma. You then spin the spinner to work out how much money you spend/save. If you are spending, you place the money from your personal bank into the piggy in the middle. If you save, you are given money from the bank of spare coins to add to your card. The winner is the first to reach £5 saved and land on the finish.

      It sounds a little complex, but once you have played it, it is quite easy.

      Good points to the game are:
      - children learn very quickly to recognise and use 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 in the game, and they look like real currency so it is easy to transfer this skill to real life.
      - this is a good chance game, so you can be winning then lose all your money, so it is quite interesting.
      - the board is well made and well thought out so it entertains children and they do learn quickly at the same time.

      Some negatives are:
      - you are only learning some coins - it would be nice if there were also 1p, 2p, 5p and £2 coins like in our British currency.
      - although there are quite a few cards, you can still get through all of them in one game and it gets boring hearing the same ones over and over for me.

      My overall impression here is that it is a valuable learning game, and it is quite fun to play it. My youngest son will even happily play on his own. I think the minimum age range is very accurate - I am less sure a ten year old child would play with it as willingly. I would say maybe more towards 9 for the upper age level. If you want a game that is well made and children will play with, then you can't go wrong with this brand.

      I am going to give the game 4 stars. Not my favourite orchard toys game, but it is a good one.

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      • More +
        18.09.2013 18:17
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        A fantastic game with lots of educational value

        The game

        While shopping for toys for my 6 year old son's birthday I came across this game on Amazon for just a couple of pound. We have had really good experiences with every other Orchard toy that we own, so I decided to buy it for him. It is perfect for encouraging little one to recognise money, and at 6 my son is just starting to learn about different coins. I thought this would be perfect to back up the work he had been doing at home and school to reinforce it all while still being fun.
        In the box you receive

        - 4 large puzzle pieces that fit together to form the game board.
        - A spinner card
        - A plastic piggybank
        - Lots of circle game cards with instructions
        - A variety of play money coins
        - Bright game pieces that come in different colours for each player
        - A piggy board to match the colour of your game piece
        - A die

        The idea of the game is to save as much money as you can. Each player is given a small amount of change to start them off, and then the rest of the money goes into the piggy bank in the middle of the game. Then taking it in turns you throw the dice and take a game card from the down facing pile. Some cards with ask the player to spend money, and then they have to take 50p out of their money and place it in the piggybank in the middle. Other cards tell the player to save money, and then they get to take the contents of the piggy bank in the middle of the game. The first person to save five pound wins the game.

        In use

        As with all orchard toys the quality is fantastic. Each piece is either made out of durable plastic and the game pieces are made of strong pieces of cardboard. There are a lot of pieces that make up this game, but I feel that is what makes it more interesting to older children. If it were to have as few pieces as the games aimed at younger children do, it would not hold my sons attention as much as it does. The game board is fun and bright so really engaging for children as soon as they lay eyes on it. The instructions on the board are laid out simply and everything is the high quality you would expect from this brand.

        It does take a while to set up but this is all part of the fun. My children all like taking different jobs to get the game ready, and there is more than enough for them all to do. Once set up it usually takes around fifteen minutes for the game to finish, so it is not overly long and the perfect length so suit the recommended age ranges attention. There is a lot to learn, but after one game as a family my children were confident in how to play the next time.

        There is more than enough money included to cover all four players that it is suggested for. It is real play money so my little girl also likes to play with it while using her cash machine. Despite her losing some pieces while playing we can still play the game easily. They have every coin from 5p to £1 so there are different ways your child can make up the same amount. We try to encourage our children to make each amount up differently so they explore more coins.

        My children love the game cards. They include things we may do in everyday life so they are already familiar to children, and reinforce how they would save/ spend money in day to day life. My little girl thought it was especially funny when she had a hole in her pocket, or when she helps grandma out and gets some pocket money for being so useful. Some of the cards are repeats, but we still found there to be enough variation to keep my children happy. My little girl at four often makes me read through all the cards, even when we are not playing the game.

        My children also loved that the piggybank was a real plastic piggy bank. It has a stopper at the bottom that needs to be removed to get the coins out, and they love taking the time to shake them out carefully. It helps them understand the idea of spending and saving money which is perfect for any child hoping to be a little more independent. This has given my children the confidence to pay for things in the shop. They like receiving the change and checking it against the original amount to make sure they receive the right change. It really gets them interested, but with all the bright boards, interesting game idea, and the different aspects of the game it keeps it interesting and more appealing to an older child.

        Educational wise, like all Orchard games toys this board game is fantastic. The main idea of the game is to teach little one about money, and how to save. On top of that you need to match the colours of the markers and piggy boards, which are perfect for my youngest son. He helps me set the game up and loves matching the markers with the piggy board. Even the game board itself is made up of four pieces so little one has to put a puzzle together before than can even begin playing. Then there are all the variations of coins for little one to study and learn, and as they have to take 50p from their money and place it in the piggy bank they have to count out the correct money themselves.

        Then of course when they are lucky enough to claim the whole piggy bank there is larger amounts of money to teach them to account above a pound. They have to learn to take turns, and general fine motor skills from playing the game. Finally, it really helps getting little one to read. It is suggested for children from five years to 10 years. The board itself has directions of what little one needs to do when they land on each square. Then you have the instruction cards that have a range of different sentences on. The ways they are written are perfect for children to read independently. As my younger children are yet to start reading, my son tends to read all of their cards to them, so as well as the practical skills he is practising his reading while playing.

        I would say the age recommendation is about right. My younger children do play, but they need a lot of help by mummy. It involves a lot of reading, sorting coins and patience so I'm not sure anyone younger could play unsupervised. This does not mean it cannot be introduced earlier with some help, but for independent play I would stick with the guidelines, and even then my son needed some help. It does require two players as of course you are competing to get to £5 first. You can have anything up to four players which is great for use by families. We find it better to play with all four players, as it makes it more exciting and difficult to reach the goal. The game lasts longer, and generally we find the more players the more fun. The most important thing is that my children absolutely love this game. Since we purchased this in July it has been used over and over again without any lack of enthusiasm from my children. It is something we can all play together, and is perfect for some family time fun.

        Summary

        We like that everything thing fits in the box after use, but the piggy sits inside my little girls shelf on her bed. She refuses to put the poor piggy back in the box, and likes to keep it safe in her room until we play again. There are a lot of pieces so it takes a while to put back in the box, and we find a tiny bit of tape stops the pieces falling out while my children are carrying it between the play room and dining room table. You could play on any flat surface, but we prefer the table as it stops any pieces going missing with younger children in the house.

        If you cannot tell we absolutely love this board game. My children enjoy playing it, and as it has a more grown up theme it can hold my son's attention right up until the game is finished. The educational benefits are fantastic as it gets children learning without even realising it. This game is available in all large toy stores and it is currently on sale for around £8 on Amazon. I think even at full retail it really is a fantastic game for teaching little ones about money and still being fun at the same time.

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        • More +
          14.03.2013 20:15
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          A fun game for awhile and a delightful little piggy bank.

          This is one of three new games I bought from Orchard Toys this week. To be perfectly honest, I bought this one for the pig. My youngest has always wanted those plastic pigs with names on them, but we've never been able to find one with his name, and looking at this, I knew he'd love the little piggy bank that comes with this game. It could be used as regular piggy bank if you wished, although it is a bit small. It is a lovely see through red plastic with a very large stopper which makes emptying it very easy. But of course the piggy bank is just a prop, something to make the game a little bit more exciting, and having to pay out money a bit more fun as at least you get to drop it through the slot - which for some reason my children do find entertaining.

          Like most Orchard Toys games, the game board is made of puzzle pieces and must be assembled before playing. I do like this feature, it means the game fits in a much smaller box than it would with a folding game board, and I believe this is sturdier as well. Plus, for very young children, building the game board is part of the fun, and puzzles are excellent for child development. Once the game is assembled each player chooses a card board pig, and a marker of the same colour. Each player starts the game with £2. The object of the game is to reach £5 and race to the finish before you end up spending on something and have to start saving all over again.

          There is only one dice, so children only need to be able to count 6. If they can not count this high, board games are a brilliant way to teach basic counting skills. With a bit of help they should be counting their own spaces in no time. The children roll the dice and move the allotted spaces, there is some slight choice of where to move, but not much. This is a game of luck rather than skill. If they land on "?" space they take a card and spin the spinner to see how much they can save or spend. There are significantly more save cards than spend, so there is little chance of anyone going in the hole, and this does reduce frustration with younger players as well. There are also two jackpot piggy cards, entitling the holder to the full contents of the piggy bank.

          This game comes with UK coins from .10 pence to £1. There are no 1, 2, or 5 pence coins, which I felt was a shame but I suppose it does keep the game simple. Each child has 5 £1 spaces on their card to fill up, so by using the different coins are able to see different ways of making £1. The child will learn simple addition and subtraction skills as they spend or save money, and make change as needed.

          This game is recommended for ages 5 -10. I do think age 10 is really stretching it, and I can't imagine a 10 year old really wanting to play this game. My 8 year old was happy enough to play, as we take turns choosing games, but I don't think he would choose to play this, and he really isn't learning anything by it as he is quite familiar with his coins by now. My youngest is 4 1/2, and at this age he does still need adult help, but i feel he is just at the right age to buy this game. He can start learning his coins, and will learn more maths as he goes along. He enjoyed the game as well, but once was enough and he was ready to move onto the next game. He has had a lot of fun just playing with the coins and the piggy bank though, and the coins alone are very educational as well.

          I have wavered a bit as to what rate to give this. On the one hand, the coins and the piggy alone were worth close to the purchase price of £10.88. It is fun for awhile, and a nice addition to our family games collection. On the other hand, the game itself does not hold the children's attention for long and I feel the age rating is far too wide. I would recommend this for ages 4-6. My oldest says this should have 4 stars, which I feel is quite fair. The youngest says 5, but only because he loves the pig - which has already been liberated from teh game box for play with real money. I do feel this is helpful for children to learn coins, and will be wonderful when my youngest is learning more advanced addition and subtraction - so for educational value alone I would give this 5 stars. If considering this item for a classroom, or for home education purposes, I would give a 5 star rating, but for the average family, I feel 4 stars would be more fair. I do still recommend it. It is very well made and a nice game that will be educational for a couple of years, but I feel it will be outgrown quickly as well. On the plus side, the piggy bank may still be used years after the game itself is outgrown.

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