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    5 Reviews
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      01.01.2014 22:53
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      Simple and fun educational game

      My girls have received a few Orchard Toys games for their last birthdays and Christmas, this 'Spotty dogs' one is the first that we have played. Both my girls enjoy counting and learning their numbers so I was hoping that this counting game would be one that they would both have fun playing whilst learning.

      How does it work?
      The game contains a spinner with the numbers 1 to 6 on it and 24 spotty dog cards. The dogs have different numbered spots from 1 to 6 and there are 4 cards for each spot number. You need at least 2 players for this and you play by using the spinner to select a number. Your child once they have their number has to find a dog with that number of spots, with help if necessary! Once they have the card they can turn it over to reveal a dog basket which is either empty or contains 1, 2 or 3 bones. They keep the cards they have won until they are all gone, the player with the most bones is the winner.

      In play
      My girls are just over 3 and have really taken to this game. They can play together with supervision to make sure they take turns! The spinner is easy to use when it is laid flat but they do like to try and spin it whilst holding it. They are able to select a dog and count the spots it has to check they've got the right one, they then enjoy turning it over to see how many bones they have. We do get a very sad face from one daughter if her basket is empty but at the moment both seem to be enjoying the game whether they win or not. I'm wondering how long that will last?
      The spinner and spotty dog cards are all well made and look like they will withstand plenty of playing. The game is also colourful and clear.

      Price and availability
      This game is currently (January 2014) £7.85 on Amazon, I think this is great value and a good price for a birthday gift.

      Would I recommend?
      Yes, this game will help improve your child's counting skills and matching numbers to the corresponding number of spots. It is a great first game for children to play together or with an adult, simple and fun. The recommended age is 3-6 years and it is easy enough for 3 year olds to play with some help.

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      15.02.2011 17:10
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      Highly Recommended

      Spotty dogs are a game my son was given to my son for Christmas by a friend. I personally had not heard of this game but am a fan of Orchard Games. Orchard Games are a British manufacturer who makes sturdy educational games for children.

      The game is designed for children aged 3-6 years of age and can be played with between two and four players.

      To begin the game it is a simple case of laying out the cards which are double sided .One side has a dog bed which is either or has one ,two and three bones. The other side has pictures of six different types of dogs with on. The cards need to be placed dog side up.

      To begin the game the youngest player goes first and spins the spinner. The brightly coloured spinner has numbers written 1-6 and the player will look for a dog with the same number of spots as they have spun. The player will then look how many bones are in the basket and place them onto a pile. It then is the next players turn who follows the same procedure and so the game continues. At some point you do run out of the some numbers but we continue to spin until you get one of the remaining numbered dogs left.
      To win the game

      One all the dogs are taken each player has to count up the bones and the player with the highest number of bones wins.

      Our Experience.

      I was very pleases when my three year old son received this game as I do love these games. Due to the large amount of toys he received it took till Boxing Day till we got round to playing the game. My son found it easy to set up. The rule the youngest goes first is a standard rule in our house. My son is able to read numbers up to twelve and so could see exactly how many spots he needed although at first he didn't realise that the same type of dogs and the same number of spots. The one thing I love about this game is that is so random that I don't have to let him win sometimes. He counts the spots one at a time so it can drag the game out but this isn't a problem. The surprise element of which one he picks is great although on occasions I have had sulks and when he has discovered an empty basket but I do consider this a good skill to learn that he isn't always going to get the top prise. I find at the end of the game he can count all his bones and it usually is about up to 15 bones. The game itself is both fun and educational. My son enjoys it. We have played it with both older and younger friends. It is quite difficult with the younger children. An older friend told him that they played the same game in reception class at her school. My son also has a good friend who is a few months younger than despite actually having no interest in numbers enjoys this game so is helping to teach him to count.

      This game is one of those games my son seems to forget about but then once he remembers it he wants to play it over and over again. I have asked him what he thinks of the game while I am writing the review and his response was that it is fun and mentioned nothing about what he learns simply how much he enjoys it which is an ideal way for young children to learn.

      The quality of the game is excellent for a cardboard game; the cardboard is actually made from recycled cardboard so actually environmentally friendly. The pieces are made of thick card which appear to have a clear coating which means should an accident happen these are very wipe able. The spinner is sturdy and spins freely. As usual I am impressed with the Quality of this game and despite been played with and left on the floor until my son has been sufficiently nagged to tidy it up It looks like new. I do like the fact these games are quite small so don't take up too much storage space.

      Age recommendation

      This game is recommended for children aged between three and six years of age. This seems to be a good guide. This game for younger children would be quite difficult although the level of support you need to give a child will vary on the ability. The box also states that this game is linked with the National curriculum Maths stage 1.

      Overall

      This is an excellent number skill teaching game that is so much fun your child won't even know you need teaching. I have bought this game for another child for their birthday as it is such a hot in our house. If you want to buy this gift .It is currently available on Amazon for £5.06 which I do consider to be a great price for an educational fun game.

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      • More +
        31.01.2011 11:24
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        Fun family game

        A friend bought this for my 4 year old for his birthday last October. At first glance he wasn't overly enamoured by it in comparison to the more exciting presents he got, but as the winter has dragged on and on this year, it was eventually brought out from the cupboard in a moment of boredom and he discovered it actually was a lot of fun.

        This game is made by Orchard Toys. Up until a couple of years ago i had never heard of them, and i probably would have passed their stuff off as not for me as it doesn't look that trendy (perhaps i should say old fashioned being as i am not the worlds most fashion conscious person) or sometimes even that much fun. However, we have had a few games and jigsaws bought for us from the range and my opinion has changed a lot for the better.

        For a start they are a british company based in Norfolk, and there is a lot to be said for buying British in terms of helping our economy, but also in terms of not buying some tut that has flown from China. Also, the toys we have from their range are mostly made from very strong cardboard, so not plasticky rubbish that breaks in too minutes, and not so poorly made that the pieces get bent in the excitement of the game. You would have to be trying to destroy it to break it in my opinion.

        With this game, there is a very strong educationaly slant to it in recognising both mumbers and a representation of numbers, so supporting early numeracy skills. The game is recommended for children aged 3-6, and for 2-4 players. I always like it if i can try and squeeze some learning in without them knowing and it always sinks in more if it is fun. The teacher in me i guess.

        The actual game is quite simple. There is a spinner with the numbers one to six. There are then 24 2-sided cards. On one side is a picture of a dog with spots, and on the other a basket with some bones on it. You place the dog cards with the dog side facing upwards. The players take turns according to age, from youngest to oldest. You spin the spinner and find a dog with the same number of spots. You then keep that card.

        When all the cards have been picked up, you then look at your baskets on the back, and the player who has managed to select the most bones is the winner.

        Although the game isn't terribly exciting, it does appeal to the sense of competition that young children have because they want to win. It is also fair as it is down to luck and not skill if you win.

        I have played it with my 2 and 4 year olds. My 2 year old found it a little harder, particularly counting up at the end and making the spinner turn round at first, but he could find dogs with the right number of spots. My 4 year old was a whizz at it, and could do all of the bits himself.

        We like this game. It is better for my 4 year old as it holds his attention longer. We tend to play an extra couple of games when my 2 year old gets bored of it. I would highly recommend it as a small game to extend your indoor games collection. We all need some fun games to entertain our children when you can't get out and about. The box for this is also small enough that i could take this with us if we were going out for a meal to occupy them while the food was cooking.

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          01.05.2009 09:02
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          So much more than first appears

          Spotty Dogs is one of those games that could easily be overlooked but, in fact, offers so much more than the box would suggest.

          Marketed as a counting game suitable for children from 3-6 years old this game is simplicity itself and my son, at 2 was happily playing it in full. The game comprises a number of double-sided cards and a spinner to be used in place of a dice. On one side of each card will be a picture of a dog with a number of spots on his coat and on the reverse a picture of a dog basket with a number of bones from 1-3 in it (or none at all). The aim of the game is simple, to be the person with the most bones at the end of the game.

          To start the game all cards are placed, dog side up, on the floor or table. On a player's go the player must spin the spinner and then select a dog with the same number of spots on its back as is indicated by the spinner. If there is no dog with a corresponding number of spots play passes to the next player. At the end of the game you simply add up the total number of bones that have been collected by each player. A game will generally last about 10 minutes with 2 players.

          At its most basic the game is very good for teaching children numbers (as indicated on the spinner) and counting (both spots on the dogs and bones in the baskets). The way the game is set up means that you can play with a child who can count to 6 but not necessarily recognise numbers on the spinner. Younger children might also have difficulty counting the total number of bones collected (in a 2 player game each player will generally get in excess of 15 bones) but this shouldn't spoil the enjoyment as you can teach the child as you count.

          The game play also teaches children other skills such as turn taking, accepting disappointment when you have to miss a go or when there are no bones in the basket and observational skills. The observational skills would be enhanced if they game didn't always use the same "breed" of dog to represent a particular number of spots. My son was, after just a few goes, able to go straight to a particular dog and I suspect that he wasn't counting but had remembered the picture that corresponded to the number. Given he could count proficiently this wasn't an issue but it could be for some.

          The cards are made of sturdy cardboard and despite a very bashed box on the second-hand version that we have, the game looks as good as new. The spinner is easy for young children to use and it's base is large enough that you don't end up stopping the spinner with your fingers.

          I've been surprised by the amount of enjoyment that is had when playing this game and would heartily recommend it to others. It's rare to find such a fun, yet simple and educational game!

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            08.02.2007 16:30
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            A great game to help develop counting

            Ever since having my two girls I have been a big fan of Orchard Toys. They are always bright and sturdy, good fun as well as helping children's development.

            Spotty Dogs is a simple but fun counting game that I bought for my three year old daughter. The suggested age range is 3-6 years and that seems about right. When you open up the contents of the game you find that there is a multi coloured spinner with the numbers 1 - 6 on it and twenty four cards displaying different dogs with different numbers of spots on their backs. The aim of the game is to spin a number and then to collect a card with a dog with the same number of spots as the number spun. If all of that number have gone you cannot collect any card at all.

            The end of the game is when all the cards have been collected and you have to add up your scores to find out who has won. You score by looking on the back of each card where you see a dog basket which is either empty or has anything up to three bones in it. The person who has the most bones in total is the winner! A game probably lasts about ten to fifteen minutes and is a good game to play if you want a quiet time with your child.

            Obviously, the greatest benefit of playing this game is that it helps your child to count and also to help recognise the numbers on the spinner. There are two lots of counting because not only do you have to count the spots on the dog but also the bones in the basket.

            The cartoon pictures of the dogs are very attractive as well. I'm not really up on my dog breeds but they do look very familiar. There are six different dogs in total with four pictures of each. Each dog always represents the same number of spots which I think is a shame because once you have played the game a few times your child will start to remember which dog has whichever number of spots and will not need to count. Therefore you would not want to play it too many times in succession.

            I have to say that my daughter loves this game, and as she is now beginning to count quite well she can participate as well as anyone else. We always encourage her to say the number she sees regardless of who has spun it. (Sometimes it's hard to remember to hold back and let her do it herself as we as adults tend to take our goes very quickly!). She also counts all the spots and then loves to turn the card over to see how many bones that she has! The game is also very helpful in introducing the conventions of game playing such as taking turns. And one bonus for my daughter is that the rules state that the youngest player always goes first! As her little sister is at the moment too young, then it is always Rachel - I don't know how she'll react in a few months time when Natalie is a bit older and cam also join in!

            As with all Orchard Toys, there is an educational guide on the box which tells you that it links with KS1 maths, develops personal and social skills, and encourages counting and matching. So for a very simple game it has a lot going for it. My daughter certainly agrees!

            You can probably buy this game from most toy shops and iy you visit the Orchard Toys website you can see that it has a RRP of £6.00 which seems quite reasonable to me!

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