“ Brand: Mr Men „
My son went through a stage of being obsessed with all things Mr Men. This lasted several months before being taken over by his Thomas The Tank obsession. He does still enjoy the Mr Men and will still ask for the programme or play with his many Mr Men puzzles. One of the Mr Men themed toys he plays with most are these memory cards which were in his stocking at Christmas this year. I purchased them from Amazon for £3.72 in October last year. They currently sell for £5.40 on the site.
The cards come in a cardboard box much like any pack of cards, but this is slightly bigger in size as they are 'jumbo' playing cards (product dimensions given as 14 x 8.6 x 2.2 cm). The box has a picture of two of the main characters from the Little Miss and Mr Men series - Mr Happy and Little Miss Sunshine. Both are yellow, happy looking characters. The card flap at the top of the box displays the recommended age for the cards - 3 years plus and says the game is for 2 or more players.
In the box, you are provided with 54 playing cards - so 27 matching pairs. Each card features one character from the Mr Men or Little Miss series and has a large picture of them on, together with their name written at the bottom of the card. The background is brightly coloured (there are various colours so most characters have a different coloured background) so all the cards have a very bright, colourful appearance. The back of the cards have small pictures of the Mr Men on so are also colourful. The cards are larger than the average playing cards - I would say about twice the size, so are ideal for toddlers to grasp.
There are a lot more characters from the Mr Men series included than from the Little Miss Series. There are nine Little Miss characters featured and 18 Mr Men. Characters featured include: Little Miss Splendid, Little Miss Trouble, Mr Bump, Mr Tickle, Mr Tall to name a few. There is also a blue instruction card contained which provided instructions on how to play the game.
PLAYING THE GAME
To play, you shuffle all the cards and place them faced down on the table/floor. The youngest player goes first and turns over two cards for all players to see. If they are a matching pair, the player retains these and turns two more over until two non-matching cards are revealed. These are then turned face down again and the next player takes a turn - if they turn a card over that matches one they have already seen they need to try and remember where that card is. There are four 'Muddle Cards' provided in the pack - the two Mr Muddle cards and the two Little Miss Scatterbrain cards. These have the word 'Muddle' in black capitals at the top and this is a feature of the game. If a player turns over a muddle card they must shout 'muddle' and mix up the remaining card so no-one can remember where any of the cards are. The winner is the player with most pairs at the end of the game, once all the cards have been taken.
For younger players, and for a quicker game, it is recommended that muddle cards are just used as normal matching cards.
My son is still not yet three and only really beginning to understand the concept of pairs and remembering where cards are if faced down on the table. We have therefore, until very recently, been playing with these in our own way rather than follow the above instructions for play. I would spread the cards out on the table, face up, and ask him to find two of a character. This encouraged him to look for the character and help his observation skill as well as build up his concentration levels. This in itself was quite a challenging way to play as there are so many cards provided. He enjoyed playing this way a lot and had a sense of achievement when he found the characters requested. We could also discuss the characters on the cards - items of clothing, colour etc. This also helped him to understand the use of 'he', 'she', 'his' and 'hers'.
More recently, we have used these cards to introduce him to the concept of pairs. We use only a handful of cards at a time as there are so many in the pack. At first we used just three or four pairs and then built it up by adding a couple at a time as my son mastered the game.
The cards are ideal for my son as they are bigger in size (although not terribly thick so they do still bend). This means that he can grasp them easily and the pictures are big and bold so easy to see. However, the size of the cards means that they take up a lot of room on the table when all laid out so you need quite a big surface to play on.
The cards are very appealing to my son and I think they are well made too. The corners are rounded which gives them a softer appearance. The colours are bright and eye catching and there is a good selection of characters included. I personally think it would have been nice to have more of a balance between the numbers of Mr Men characters and Little Miss characters as the pack is heavily weighted towards Mr Men. Not a problem for us as my son prefers the Mr Men but I know my niece prefers the Little Miss so would be less interested in the pack of cards than him. I like the fact that the cards are bigger, despite the problem that they don't fit on the table easily, as it gives the cards a toddler-friendly appeal. I also like the fact that there is an added twist with the muddle cards as this means that you can increase the level of difficulty once your child has mastered pairs.
Our cards have a well used look about them already - some of the corners are bent where my son has struggled to pick them up off the table (they sit very flat so unless they are near an edge and can be slid off, they can be hard to pick up). If they could have been slightly thicker this would have prevented this wear and tear a little but it hasn't really affected our play at all.
I think these are lovely cards for any Mr Men or Little Miss fan and I definitely recommend them.