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My eldest daughter Sophie has just turned 6 and for her 6th birthday along with the mountain of presents she also got quite a lot of money. Sophie said she wanted to put her money away for her holidays but giving the reason of "I don't want to spend yours and Daddy's pennies" I felt even though what she was saying was sweet I should really encourage her to spend some of her money and not be worrying about mine and Daddy's money. I took her up to our big Tesco store as they have a great range of toys and she spent the majority of her money, one of the things she bought herself was this game, we love Orchard Games in our house so wasn't surprised she picked it up and at £6 for the game I thought it was decently priced. The game is also available to buy online from Amazon for £6.40 with free delivery.
The game comes packaged in a box which is about A5 sized, I always like how Orchard Toys don't oversize the boxes like a lot of companies do beside the fact it's a waste of material they just take up more space. The box is made of cardboard and we have found it to be very strong like the rest of the game boxes are, the box is coloured mainly pale pink making it looks a bit girly although the game itself is suitable for both sexes.
On the front of the box you have a cartoon boy and girl looking really mischievous and pinching cupcakes off a stand and then it states that the game is for ages 3 and up and for 2-4 people to play at any time. On the rear of the box you have pictured all the pieces for the game and then the education guide tells you what the game can achieve,
Encourage observation, matching and counting skills
Link with early Learning Goals and National curriculum Kay Stage 1
Develop social, communication, sharing, co-operation and manners
I think the box is great, it looks lovely lined on the shelf amongst the other brightly coloured Orchard Toy boxes, it's strong enough to house all the pieces and it doesn't take up much space.
==Inside the Box==
Inside the box you get,
4 Plate Boards - A circular piece of hard board which has a circular plate pictured on it and a napkin folded into a triangle on top, the napkins are pictured in red, blue, yellow and green. We have been using the plate boards to test Emily my younger daughter on colours as even though she is only a couple of months off 3 years old she still says every colour is pink.
A set of instructions - these are very easy to follow and are written in 12 different languages.
A recipe board - This board is rectangular and double sided, on one side you have a picture of all 10 different cupcakes that you will play the game with to make it easier to get one of each cake out on the table and then on the other side you have a recipe to make cupcakes and the icing to decorate them. Sophie was desperate to make cupcakes when she saw it until I explained to her that they wouldn't look like the ones in the game, are only the same as what Mammy makes anyway and she doesn't even like cake!
40 Cupcake cards - There are 10 different cupcake designs and you get 4 of each design, the cakes are all very pretty and have little faces on the cake case all have smiling faces of course. The cupcakes all have different coloured cases to make them easy to tell apart and the decoration on top of the cakes is gorgeous I wish I could make cakes like them You have icing with smartie type sweets in, icing with little silver balls, icing with hundreds and thousands, one with a cherry on top, one with a heart shape on top of the icing, icing with multi-coloured stars on, icing with flowers on, a piece of lemon sticking out of the icing, a strawberry sticking out of the icing and finally a chocolate flake with chocolate icing which is Sophie's favourite.
The game is really easy to set up, you have to pull one of each cupcake design and place it face up on the table, once you have the 10 cakes out you shuffle the rest and then place them face down on the table. Each player picks a plate board and then the youngest player goes first, this always cause problems in our house as Sophie doesn't like Emily to always go first so we take it in turns to go first instead.
The first player picks up a card from the pile and then if it matches one of the ten cards laid out in front of them they take the matching pair and put them both on their plate, obviously whoever goes first always gets a pair as every combination is available on the table at this time. Play moves around to the next person and they pick up a card from the pile, if the card matches one of the remaining nine on the table they can make a pair themselves and put it on their plate.
If at any point in the game the player cannot match the card they pick up to one of the cards laid face up on the table they have to look at the cards that are already on people plates. If the players card matches their own plates top card they can add it on, if it matches another players top plate card they then say to them "would you like a cupcake?" to which of course they reply "yes please" and then the card is added to the other players pile to which they reply "thank you."
If at any point during the game the card doesn't match one laid face up on the table or one of the top plate cards then it is added to the stock of face up cards on the table and play continues. The game finishes when there are no cards left in the pile on the table and then the winner is the person with the most cards on their plate.
The game is really easy to play and even though my youngest isn't 3 years old yet which is the recommended age she manages to play the game perfectly, to begin with I thought I would always have to play with the girls to prompt Emily on what she has to say and do but within a couple of games she had grasped the idea and her and Sophie can manage to play the game without adult supervision. It states on the box that the game should not be played with children under 3 years of age due to small parts but there is no small parts in the game anyway, the smallest part is the cupcakes and they are a couple of inches tall so no chance of swallowing.
The quality of the game is excellent every piece of the game is well made and durable, the girls have scrapped over pieces during play but there has been no damage to the pieces. The pieces are all very brightly coloured and very pretty, I like the addition of the smiling faces of the cake cases too as I feel it makes the game seem more friendly.
So does it do what is promised?
Encourage observation, matching and counting skills - Both my girls can match the cards up to their pairs really well and when Emily gets stuck as there are a couple of cake cases which as similar we will put the card next to each one of the face up cards and ask her if they match. The game is great for counting and generally you end up with a pretty even pile on each players plate, Emily is able to count to 13 so can count her own with a little guidance and Sophie is able to count no matter how many she ends up with on her plate.
Link with early Learning Goals and National curriculum Kay Stage 1 - I have not long finished training as a child minder and as such I am aware of these requirements and can say that the game does meet them.
Develop social, communication, sharing, co-operation and manners - I love listening to my girls playing this game as they are so polite to each other and for all the do use manners in day to day life it does help to back up the need for please and thank you which I like. This game encourages communication in that it is a requirement of the game to speak to each other although i'm sure if you had a child who wasn't able to speak playing you would find a way of adapting the game.
This is truly a fantastic game much the same as the rest of the range that we have tried, the game is educational yet both my girls love to play and get excited when I get the game out. I got the game out to check through it before writing about it and ended up having to play a game with Emily as she was getting upset that I wasn't planning on playing! Educational without your child knowing it, 5 stars form this house.
"Collect and match your cupcakes in this fun, sharing game See how many delicious cupcakes you can match and collect in this fun-filled game. Remember your manners, as other players offer to share their cupcakes with you. Collecting and matching board game Encourages Observational skills Links with Early Learning goals and National curriculum Key Stage 1 Develops social communication, sharing and co-operation Players: 2-4 Suitable for ages 3-8 Safety Information: Warning. Not suitable for Children under 3 years."