Newest Review: ... counting games and obviously these are linked with National Cirruculum maths. What I really like about Orchard Toys is that there is so mu... more
Who knew cardboard could be such fun?
Member Name: xmum2threex
Advantages: Fun and educational
Disadvantages: A little repetitive
I love Orchard toys. I have to admit I never came across them until my daughter received them in her weekly book bag from school. Since then we have quickly built up a large selection of their puzzles and games. The sets are all very durable and something that still looks brand new despite being used over and over again. They are child proof and other than having lost a few pieces they are all in full working order. The small cardboard pieces often look like they have no chance of withstanding constant play from small hands, but we are yet to find a set that has not lasted.
I find that the pieces to each game are always bright and engaging. The pictures are clear and certainly aimed at pleasing a child. The pieces are small so sometimes they become lost, but my children enjoy making new cards so we do not need to replace the set. They are all suited to a large amount of players which is perfect for the whole family to play. We can all enjoy them together and spend some quality time with each other. As we have 6 in our family, and five of those old enough to play games we do find that larger families are not catered for well, especially with toddlers. It is refreshing to find something that can be used by all of us at the same time.
Educational wise these board games offer a wide range of developments. Firstly they help my children to learn they need to share and take it in turns. They often share their toys while playing but for some reason with board games it was always an argument about who goes next. With these games it seems to hold their attention so well and they are happy to let the youngest go first. Another great thing is that they do really hold their attention. As my children are all young most of the time they lose concentration very easily and move from toy to toy. With these board games they will sit and complete a whole game, and often play it more than once. I am yet to find anything over than a good book or DVD that holds their attention so well.
They introduce everyday items and well known stories to your child. They use fine motor skills, get your child to problem solve, introduce a range of words to add to their vocabulary and at the same time manage to make it fun and exciting for your child. The amount of developmental skills these simple board games manage to promote is fantastic. My youngest son is slow in talking. He is only just coming up to three years old but he needs a little extra help to get him started. We try to find fun ways to try and get him to try to talk and these games works wonders. It is only simple things like him saying duck, or spotting an item of shopping while were out and shouting what it is called, but we have tried this with books and other activities previously with no success. My health visitor was not surprised that the games were helping, and she did inform me these were one of the most used games during his impending speech therapy sessions.
There are a huge amount of puzzles available so there will be something to suit your child. There are lots of different themes which include shopping, food and different animals. Each one uses recognisable objects to any small child, and turns them into a fun and engaging game. What we love is that because there are so many themes we can usually match a board game to a relevant book. This means we can read the book and then play the game to reinforce the information in the book. Whether this is the three little pigs, a book about shapes or numbers it gives my children the chance to enjoy two activities while learning in the process. This idea was introduced to me by the nursery and it really does work well.
My one downside is that the games can become a little repetitive. Each game is similar and as you climb the age range recommendation they do become slightly harder. Most of the games include the main game card, and then finding the relevant pieces to that card to complete the game. They do vary a little by adding on extra tasks or collecting things in pairs, but generally they have the same theme running. It has got to the point that my children will not even ask the rules when a new game arrives, they simply set it up to play it. While my children are still young this does not seem to bother them at all, but as they get older I can see them becoming bored with them. I would say they are best suited to children between two and seven or eight. All of my children enjoy them at five, four and two and we do enjoy them as a family as well.
I would highly recommend these games to anyone. They can be similar but there is such a wide range of different variations available that they still remain interesting to my children. This is generally the first brand they choose when it comes to playing games as a family, and they never seem to get bored with them. They are well made and not overly expensive for the use you get from them. These games all tend to retail between around £8-£12. This is a lot cheaper than most of the novelty board games available. These sets may be simple but they seem to have a magic that grabs your child's attention and provides a fun experience while still being educational. Some of our favourites include crazy chef and 2 by 2, but there are lots more available so do take a look at the range.
Summary: Perfect board games for small hands