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Since my daughter has been at nursery, we have been noticing she's very inquisitive when it comes to learning which is fantastic from our point of view.
One day the staff commented on how good Abby was at matching some animal cards together so they assumed we had been playing lotto or matching games with her at home. Well sadly we hadn't, but that of course spurred the proud Daddy into going to the shops to find something to stimulate his daughter further when she was at home.
We knew she has a love of animals when she reads her books, so as we were browsing a small toy shop in town; we spied the Galt animal matching cards. Straight away the box states they are for four year olds plus. Well our little eighteen month old is nowhere near that age yet, but as we took a sneaky peak into the box we realised we could adapt the game easily to suit her age group and there were no small parts to harm her.
Paying our £4.99 we took the game home and proceeded to empty the box. First impressions from Abby were a squeal of delight when she saw the square board pictures with brightly coloured animals on. She has a particular fondness for cows, and immediately she picked it up to show us.
As I inspected the cards in the box, I saw that there were 54 picture cards making 27 pairs. The animals range from farmyard to jungle through to ocean animals. There are too many to mention here, but each card is made of solid board, with a coating over the picture to make them last longer.
I also found they could be handled easily by small hands, as this game is out of my daughter's age range I was keeping an extra close eye on all the cards to make sure they weren't going to fall apart if she put them in her mouth.
Each card has a bright coloured background that co-ordinates with its matching pair, and all the cards in the set share the same designed background in different colours.
The aim of the game for a four year old plus is to place all the cards face down on a flat surface and take it in turns to turn over two cards until you find a matching pair. The player at the end of the game with the most pairs is declared the winner. The game really is as simple as that, and can be played with two or more players
Our adaptation of the game for a toddler and over age is to place all the cards face up on a flat surface and ask our daughter where a certain animal is. We find that once she is shown something once or twice then she will be able to recognise the picture and be able to pick it out herself the next time.
The pair's aspect comes into play when we then ask her to try and find another of the animal she is holding. Occasionally this works and sometimes not, it depends on what mood she is in.
I think Galt have seriously limited themselves by marketing this game suitable for four year olds and over. There are no small parts to the game so with supervision a toddler can easily play it. There are so many different ways you can play this game with children of all ages from matching the pairs, to finding animals, to discussing where animals live and what sounds they make.
We have found this game invaluable to our daily routine and learning is fun and whilst Abby wants to play with these cards which believe me is a daily occurrence, then I am happy to encourage it and we play something different each time with the cards to avoid boredom.
54 picture cards to match.