Product Type: ELC Outdoor Toy
Newest Review: ... that I really enjoyed playing in my childhood. This game of Boules was very inexpensive at £2.50 for the game, which I thought was a bar... more
A great set of boules for family fun
ELC Set of Boules
Member Name: jillycat
ELC Set of Boules
Advantages: Well made easy to play fun for all the family age range fits well
Disadvantages: Bit for keepign score to small to be of much use
This outdoor game from the Early learning centre is a current favourite in our household. We bought the set for £5 at the start of the nice summer weather to play in the garden and it has been played with most weeks so far.
This boules set comprises of a black carrier which the boules sit nicely in they can only be placed in the holder one way as the hole for them is too small on one side to fit the balls into. The other side has plastic curved shaped holders that move slightly as the balls are pressed in and out of the holder. My son actually enjoys this part of the game too as he pushes them in and out rather like a shape sorter. In the holder there are also two small bits that can be pressed out so that can then sit in holes along each side to keep count of how many games you are wining. We have actually left these in place as the pieces are quite small and I think they would be easily lost so though this is a nice idea for the carrier I don't think it works in practice. The carrier also has a small handle which means it is easily transported places when out and about and we have taken this one to the beach and local park and my son has always enjoyed carrying it so far before it becomes then my responsibility.
The set comes with 6 large balls and the small black jack ball. The balls are three different colours meaning I believe from my understanding of the game that it can be played with up to three players. The balls unlike traditional metallic French Boules are made from brightly coloured plastic. The colours we have are red, green and yellow. The balls have a bit of cut away design to them so they are not totally smooth spheres. Whilst this makes them easier for small hands to hold it does mean the balls can get bits of mud caught in them which can then make them not run straight so often have to give them a wipe down with a cloth if they have landed in the muddy garden by some over enthusiastic throws and rolls. The small jack ball is totally smooth so doesn't need this treatment.
The way we play boules is for the youngest player (generally my son) to roll the jack and then everyone to roll their balls in turn to try to get close to the jack. The person who gets the closet is the winner and at times this can leave a bit of humming and haring as we look at the distance between the balls and often we use a stick to take measurements. If you were keen you could get a tape measure out and as my son gets a bit older and sued to measuring things I am sure we will as it will be great practice for him. As this is a simple game it means that it is very easy to understand and my 3 year old has no problems with understanding the objective of the game and who has won or lost. Equally we have played this with younger children who have visited and 2 year olds definitely understand the game too. The age recommendation on this I believe is from 18 months ands I personally see no problems with this age recommendation.
The bit that my son doesn't understand about the game currently and accuses people of cheating if they do it is to knock your opponent's balls out of the way to get your ball closer. This I am sure is just a development thing and as he gets older and starts to understand about strategy he will start to do this more. When the boules knock against one another when we do try this manoeuvre they do make a lovely thwack noise which I find quite satisfying. The boules themselves cope well with these knock and there have been no dints or marks on our set over the few months worth of play they have had so far.
I would definitely recommend this boules set form the ELC it is well made and copes well with knocks and bumps. The game is simple to play and loved by both children and adults in our house. I can't see it currently on their website but I had spotted it on offer at £2.50 in their shop last week (August 5th 2011) so it is still available.
Summary: A well made family fun game