“ Brand: ELC / Age: 3 years+ „
When doing a bit of children's Christmas shopping online this year on my favourite website for toys - Early Learning Centre - I came across these Christmas Snap cards for £1 and couldn't resist adding them to my basket. They were 50% off and I thought £1 was a very good bargain (although I would have definitely paid £2 for these too!). I know my son was a little too young to have these for snap, at not even 2 yet, but I thought we could use them to get in the festive spirit and, at worst, they could be put by for next year. They are recommended for children from 3-6 years of age.
The cards come in a cardboard box as a standard pack of cards would. This is festively coloured in silver and green with small pictures of the characters on the card. They are made from 'forest friendly' paper, so good for the environmentally conscious too. There are 48 cards in the pack and 8 different characters - so you get six of each Christmas character. The characters on each card are brightly coloured and cartoon like - so very appealing to children. Under each picture, there is the character's name - for example 'Robbie Robin' and 'Eddie Elf'. In the pack you also get a snowman, Father Christmas, a fairy, an angel, reindeer and a Christmas tree.
I used these with my son as a pre-christmas treat. He was growing bored of all his toys and, knowing he has LOTS coming on the big day, these were a nice, cheap stop-gap to keep him interested and engaged. I love the fact that we can play these together and we can spend some one to one time. However, these would make a lovely stocking filler and would be a fun family game to play to include younger children on Christmas Day. My son is too young to understand the concept of snap so we cannot use these for this purpose (we intend to next year). Instead we use these to play a 'matching' game. I line up 8 cards on the floor, one of each character. I then hand my son a card from the pile and he happily looks for the matching one in the line and places it on top of this. He loves to do this and this holds his attention for quite a decent length of time.
My son loves the characters on the cards and some definitely appeal to him more than others. He is not that interested in the angel or fairy but loves the snowman, Father Christmas and the Christmas Tree. The cards are, as you would expect, easily folded and he has creased a few of these but it doesn't detract from their appeal nor affect the games you play. For £1, we have had a lot of use and these are a definite bargain. You don't get much for a pound these days!!
Every Christmas I tend to seek out different Christmas themed activities, arts, crafts and games for my daughter. Last year I was browsing in The Early Learning Centre when I came across a pack of Christmas Snap Cards. I knew my daughter would like them, not only because they were Christmas themed but because she had just learnt to play snap!
There are a generous amount of cards per pack (48) and they come in a cardboard box, which is essential for keeping the cards stored in! The designs on the cards include an elf, angel, fairy, snowman, robin, Christmas tree, Santa and reindeer. The characters also have fun names written underneath such as 'Robbie Robin', 'Eddie Elf' and 'Sammy Snowman' which makes them seem a little bit more fun. The designs are fun, colourful, recognisable and most importantly - festive! They're sure to please all little ones. The back of the cards feature a repeated pattern of the ELC logo, so there's no way of seeing what your opponent has!
The cards have the same thickness as regular playing cards, which is slightly disappointing given that they are aimed at young children who are notorious for being heavy handed. Although I must admit that our cards are still in excellent condition, so it's not really a problem. They have a glossy finish so they're easy enough to wipe clean. The cards are recommend for children 3+ years and are absolutely unisex.
We recently got these cards out from the loft with the rest of the Christmas decorations and my daughter was very pleased to see them again! I like to put her Christmassy things away after Christmas so she doesn't have to see them all year round and can get excited and feel festive when her Christmassy things make an appearance the next Christmas. We played with the cards a lot over last Christmas and have been playing with them again for a week or so this Christmas, she still seems to enjoy them as much as she did last year (she was 4 then, she is 5 now). There are 2 games that we play with these cards, simply because I don't know any other card games (and they're easy enough for my daughter to grasp)! We play snap and pairs. I'm sure everybody knows the rules of snap, but here goes anyway! To play snap we split the cards in half and take turns to place the cards down, face up. When a matching pair appear we have to shout 'SNAP!' and place our hand on the pile of cards. Whoever snaps first wins the pile of cards. My daughter absolutely adores this game and gets really excited by the suspense! To play pairs we place all of the cards face down on the table. Then we take turns at turning 2 cards over to find a matching pair. My daughter really enjoys this game too and is surprisingly good at it, possibly better than I am! She's also happy to play this one by herself. Not only is it fun but it has educational aspects, the most obvious being memory skills. Both games usually take us a while to play and she never seems to get bored or distracted, although if your child has a short attention span you can always take some cards away to shorten the games...
The ELC Christmas Snap Cards are only available at The Early Learning Centre and The Early Learning Centre website. They cost just £2.00 a pack (currently on sale for £1.00), which is pretty good value for money.
The Early Learning Centre Christmas Snap card set is well made and quite durable. The cards are smaller than typical playing cards. They have the Early Learning Centre logo repeated in a pattern across the back of each card. The cards can be wiped clean if a drink gets spilled on them or if they get marked by grubby fingers but they can't stand up to a soaking, unless they are rescued quickly.
The pictures are very bright and colourful so it's completely understandable why they're so appealing to young children. There's a wide selection of characters displayed on the cards: Father Christmas, a Christmas tree, a robin, an angel, an elf, a fairy, a snowman and of course Rudolph. There are four of each picture in the pack. When I opened them I split the pack in half and made lotto boards, sticking four cards onto cardboard from empty cereal boxes, with half of the pack making four different playing boards, the other half I used in matching to the lotto boards or playing snap or go fish or pairs. The other way we played the home made lotto boards was in the car, if you saw a Christmas light or window display or someone in fancy dress which represented one of the things on their lotto board they would blu tac the matching card on and whoever completed the board first won. My children enjoyed the change from their other snap cards and because they're seasonal it tied into the whole Christmas feeling in our house. I've put them away now with the Christmas decorations and they'll come out again when the Christmas decs do.
I think I paid about £4.00 last Christmas and consider this to be well worth the money as we've been able to adapt this to four different games with hours of fun for the children, and they've gone away to be used again next year, with the absence from the children's lives leaving them thinking that they're fun rather than over using them and getting bored. The Early Learning Centre Christmas Snap is a good investment making early evenings more fun and boring car journeys a lot less boring, for the Christmas period at least.