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My children have always been fond of the 1969 book, 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle, so when we received this game as a present for one of their birthdays this year from their Great Aunty, they were keen to play the game.
In the story, a little egg turns into a caterpillar, who spends a whole week munching on various foods he finds, until he eventually has eaten so much, he wraps himself up in a cocoon, When he emerges he is a beautiful butterfly.
The game has been designed totally with the book in mind. The images used are from the book, and the aim of the game is to follow the plot of the book in a linear manner around the board.
The box itself is sturdy and the lid is identical to the story book. Upon taking off the lid there is a square board that folds to a quarter of its original size, and a spinner. There are then food pieces which are the items seen in the book such as strawberries, pears, oranges, plums, sausages and cheese. The counters are 4 little baskets to hold these food pieces when it is time to pick them up.
The first time we played it, I had to assemble the spinner, make the 4 little boxes, and pop all the food counters out of a larger piece of card. This was a little time consuming and fiddly, so I would recommend doing this before the kids are ready to play the first time, they are then left assembled in the box, so every other time we have played we have managed to set up quite quickly.
The game is for 2-4 players, aged 3 up. My youngest can play it, but he is getting a bit bored by the end of the game as it is quite a long one. At least 20 minutes I would say.
You all start at go, spinning the spinner to work out how many spaces you need to move. Unlike a traditional dice, there are 1-4 on the spinner, plus one section is a moon and if you land here you miss a go.
If you land on rectangular squares along the 2 sides of the board, you need to stop and spin until you get what it says on theat square. When it asks you to spin a sun, that is pretty easy as the sun image is on 1-4 on the spinner. It can take a while if you land on the one rectangle where you need to spin a moon.
There are then bigger circles on the top of the board. Here you stop to pick up 5 fruits, then 4 picnic foods, then 1 leaf to feed the caterpillar. These are stored in the center of the board until needed. This isn't too bad, but can take a couple of goes to get 4 or 5 items when the spinner only goes to 4.
At the end of the game, you reach a beautiful butterfly.
The board is very nice to look at, and quite well made. You need to be a bit gentle because the counters and the food items are only cardboard, but as long as you are not too heavy handed, they are well made and fairly robust.
The spinner is also a nicely made piece. It moves freely without any sticking like you sometimes find in cheaper less well made games.
The game is accessible to 3 year olds, but I do find myself having to help with the counting, particularly when picking up the food items over a couple of gos. The kids also both need me to keep reminding them of the rules, and reading out the instructions to them.
It is not a game that has come out that often, but when we have played it, we all do enjoy it. I usually manage one game with both boys, then my 5 year old will ask to play again while my 3 year old opts to do something else.
It reinforces counting, naming different food items, and encourages turn taking and playing nicely together, so I would recommend this one as a game that all can join in with.
As a family, we all enjoy the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar (we actually have two versions - a hardback which I received for my second birthday and a board book which my son had as a baby), so when my son received 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Game' as a Christmas present, we were all looking forward to playing it. However, he was only just two when he received the game and, as it is aimed at children of 3 and older, it ended up being put away for 'him to grow into'. He is now three and a half and really enjoys playing this game.
The box contains a large game board with pictures from the book, a spinner (needs assembling but this is very simple to do), four little boxes in different colours which you have to put together which act as the game pieces and 40 'food' pieces which you have to pop out of the cardboard. If you've got an impatient pre-schooler like me, I'd suggest getting all the pieces popped out before you suggest playing the game - otherwise they might have gone off the idea before you've got it all set up! The age range on the box is marked as being for children of three years and up, and it is for 2-4 players.
Each player chooses a little box (these are red, yellow, green and blue) and places it on the start. The youngest player then spins the spinner to take their first turn. The spinner is very simple for young players to understand as it just has five pictures on it - four of these pictures of suns with numbers next to them (1-4) - if you spin a sun, then you move the number of spaces indicated. The final picture is of a moon - if your spinner lands on this, you miss a turn. Moving around the board is fairly simple - you mostly move down a path of coloured dots and then there are a few spaces where you have to stop. The most simple of these just require you to spin either a sun or a moon to move on, but there are also three 'Eating Circles'. On each 'Eating Circle' you have to spin the spinner and collect the number of food items that it indicates - the food items are directly related to the food that the Very Hungry Caterpillar eats in the book so on the first circle you need to collect fruits, on the second you need to collect picnic foods and on the third you need to collect a 'nice green leaf'. The game finishes when the first player reaches the last space and transforms into a beautiful butterfly.
This is a very simple game to play and my three year old can play it easily. It encourages various skills such as number recognition, counting and turn-taking but is also fun to play. He is able to recognise the numbers next to the suns and move his playing piece the corresponding number of spaces, or select the right number of foods when he is on an 'Eating Circle'. The game also appeals to him because he recognises the pictures from the book and likes to collect all the different foods that the caterpillar eats, although sometimes we'll get more 'creative' suggestions like 'my caterpillar only likes chocolate cake'. Of course, his enjoyment of the game doesn't mean he doesn't try to cheat from time to time, particularly as his frustration grows when he is not winning. He is very amused when I get stuck for multiple turns trying to spin a moon though! It usually takes us 10-15 minutes to play a game which I think is about right for a pre-schooler - anything longer than that means that he will lose concentration and get bored. I think the age range of three years plus is about right - I don't know how long my son will enjoy the game for but he's been playing it regularly for about 8 months now and hasn't got bored with it yet.
*Price / Value for Money*
This game costs between approximately £5 and £10 depending on where you buy it - it is currently £4.99 on Amazon which I think is a great price and represents real value for money.
This is a lovely first board game for all the family to enjoy together. We do have other games but most of those are matching-type games (like Orchard Toys 'Two by Two' and 'The Lunchbox Game') and this is the only one we have which is in a more traditional board game format. It brings back memories for me of sitting round the table playing games as a family and that is something that I would really like to encourage as my children get old enough to enjoy it. The only downsides that I can see with the game are that the quality isn't fantastic due to the pieces being made out of cardboard - it would be very easy to squash one of those boxes - and the size of the pieces makes it difficult to play with a younger sibling around. However, if your child likes the Very Hungry Caterpillar then I would definitely recommend this - you don't have to know the book to be able to enjoy the game, but it really does enhance the experience of playing it.
*This has also been posted on Ciao as Brownie_Queen
My big girl is now 4 yeays old and has in the last couple of months developed a real love of board games. She's not so happy with the whole losing part of it though and we frequently see her throwing herself to the floor if things don't go her way but overall she loves the whole participation and the fact that it is something we can all get involved with. Obviously her tender age does mean there are certain restrictions to the type of games she can play and up until recently the one that we really played was Snakes & Ladders.
Fortunately Christmas came Father Christmas managed to find a couple of other games for my girls. One of these being The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game. Both my girls absolutely adore the book, it is a complete classic and the illustrations are beautiful and instantly recognisable. This familiarity certainly increased their level of excitement when they opened the wrapping paper and saw this game.
I think we got the first request to play this game on Boxing Day when the hysteria had died down slightly and they were ready to actually play with some of their new toys. It is a charming board game for young children, and the box states that is is suitable for children 3 years+. The concept is simple, you used a spinner to move you round the board and this journey follows the story of the book. It requires counting skills and object recognition yet it is simple enough for them to follow the rules.
The game doesn't take long to play which is also a blessing, especially when we have to play an extra game to allow someone to win. Although it is incredibly simple, my gorgeous girl has yet to tire of it and we repeatedly get requests to play just before bed.
The actual quality of some parts of the game aren't all that great and are actually a little flimsy, but the board does look gorgeous and the illustrations are completely faithful to the book. Playing thisgame has probably deepened my girls love for this classic book and it is great to find a game which is perfect for their stage of development.
Youn can currently buy this game from Amazon for a very reasonable £7.99
Both my daughters love the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and can virtually recite the whole book from memory. This was why when I saw the game of the book I thought it would make a very good Christmas present for my youngest and told my sister who was looking for some suggestions. I knew it was a good choice when on Christmas Day Natalie opened the present and immediately wanted to play the game. Already knowing the story was a great motivator for wanting to play the game!
Also, all the art work on the box and the board is exactly the same as the wonderful illustrations in the book so it all looked very familiar right from the start. On the back of the box there is a message from Eric Carle saying how important it is to share time with young children through stories and games. I fully agree with what he says and also by seeing his endorsement you know that it's not just a rip off on his book.
The game is described as 'a game of Counting, Colours and Contrasts'. The aim of the game is for players to move their caterpillar around the board, feeding it on the way, so that by the time it reaches the finish it will have turned into a butterfly!
The game is quite easy to set up although the first time you do have to make up some small caterpillar trays in which to collect the food. There is also a spinner to make up too but both of these are really very simple. The board is very bright and colourful with a stepping stone path that all the players have to follow. Every so often there is a feeding station where you can collect foods - these are divided up into fruit, picnic foods and a leaf - all the things that the caterpillar munches away at in the story. There are also occasional instructions to stop and spin either a sun or a moon which are the two pictures you can see on the spinner. However, it is much easier to spin a sun as there are four of these and only one moon!
At the start each player chooses a different colour caterpillar. The youngest player always goes first and they have to spin the spinner to determine how many moves they will make. If the spinner stops on a sun the player moves the number of moves on that sun but if it stops at the moon it does not move because caterpillars can only eat during the day! At the food stations there are little cardboard circles with pictures of the different foods on which have to be collected before you can move on. The player who collects all his food and arrives at the finish first is the winner.
It is really a very simple game but I have to say that both my three and five year old daughters love playing it. The first time we played we were a little bit uncertain about some of the rules such as whether you had to collect one of each food or if they could be the same and if you had to stop at all food stations. However, it was not difficult to decide amongst ourselves as to what the rules should be and then everyone enjoyed it very much.
There is not really much skill required for this game and I feel that adults playing with their children are soon likely to tire of it. However, for young children it's an entirely different matter if my two are anything to go by as they will happily play it again and again! It certainly helps with their counting as they need to work out the number of spaces they have to move but probably not as much with their colours because apart from choosing their colour at the start these don't really come into it. Moving the pieces will help with fine motor skills and also because they have to take turns, this helps with their social skills. It's also a very simple game to learn how to play so young children can start participating very quickly.
Overall this is an enjoyable game based on a lovely book. Everything has a good quality feel about it and it seems to be well thought out. The recommended ages are from three years but I suspect that older children would lose interest pretty quickly. It's also for between two and four players so quite ideal for sitting down as a family or for a couple of children to play on their own!
At the moment this game can be bought from Amazon for £5.99.
This fun board game is a game of counting, colours and contrast. Children go on a journey of learning and transformation, as they can see their caterpillar develop from an egg to a beautiful butterfly.