• By Amanda Blackburn.

Orchard Toys New Games 2018

This month I was sent two great children’s educational games from Orchard Toys.

My little group of toy testers couldn’t wait to get playing the new games. First up for review was the new Jungle Heads & Tails Game.

Jungle Heads & Tails is a jungle themed first matching activity that is suitable for children as young as 18 months. The game is £7.75 and is available from Orchard Toys.

First to review was a boy who is 24 months old and a little girl of 21 months. Both children don’t usually sit still for any length of time so I made sure to read the simple instructions first and set up the game. I took them into the playroom with no other distractions. Setting up only took a minute.

I didn’t use all the cards only half to begin with. I made sure I picked out the correct heads and tails and turned them picture side down on the table. I asked the little boy to turn over a card first. He turned a crocodile head. His face lit up when he saw the colourful friendly animal head. I then said,"can you find his tail by turning another card over?" He turned over another card and it was a parrots tail. I showed him how to put the tail on the head to see if it looked correct. He could tell it didn’t look correct and thought it was funny. I then encouraged the little girl to turn over another card to see if she could find the crocodiles tail, she found a tigers tail and said, “rah”.

Both the children were able to identify the lovely jungle animal images and although I changed the gameplay a little bit to teach them how to play it, after a few games on other days they were both able to pick up the object of the game.

This game can help teach younger children how to take turns, memory, listen and observe. The game has also helped the children with their hand-eye coordination by picking up the cards, turning them over and pairing them together. I’ve also been using the cards by placing different animals face up and asking them to find the tiger head, then his tail, asking what the card is and what sound does that animal make? This has helped the children with their speech.

Playing games with younger children can help in so many ways. I’ve seen them grow in confidence and ability, in just a week. They can now use the cards in a simple game of pairs, developing their memory.

The game also includes a fun elephant finger puppet play piece which we use for our elephant nursery rhyme song. Also inside the strong cardboard box are 24 chunky bright colourful animal heads and tail cards and 1 instruction leaflet. I also played the harder version game that is included in the instructions with the older children and they loved it.

I would certainly recommend this game for parents, teachers and children’s workers. The game encourages observation and discussion, develops hand-eye coordination, matching and memory skills and helps children with social skills.

Giraffes in Scarves Game was next up for review. This game is designed for children ages 4-7 costs £7.75 and is available from Orchard toys.

The three children aged 4, 4 and 5 couldn’t wait to play. Again I made sure I read the instructions before they were with me and I asked them to help set the game up with me. I explained the rules to them all, and they love playing games so they listened carefully.

How to play;

Each player chooses a giraffe body and places it in front of them. The other bodies and their matching heads left over are not included in the game. Make sure to include the correct heads of the chosen giraffe body in gameplay.

All the cards except the leftover giraffe heads and bodies are then placed on the table picture side down so that the colour dot is showing on the card.

The dice is then rolled by the player who goes first. The colour dot on the dice is the colour card they will need to turn over. There are a few of a certain colour to choose from.

The aim of the game is to see how many scarves can be collected before the matching giraffes head to the chosen body is turned over.

The children really loved this game and didn’t struggle to understand the rules. They were able to count the scarves and could match and recognise the basic colours. We have been playing the game all week and it’s been holding their attention each time.

The quirky beautifully illustrated giraffe character cards are made from strong cardboard that is perfect for little hands and is made to last. The game can be played by up to 6 players.

Inside the box strong cardboard box are, 24 neck cards, 6 head cards, 6 baseboards, 1 colour dice and 1 instruction leaflet. The game is not suitable for children under 3 years due to small parts.

Again this game is perfect for teaching children educational skills in a fun way. The game encourages observation, colour recognition, develops matching and memory skills, number and counting.

Playing games with children helps them to learn how to take turns and communicate with each other. We all love the games from Orchard Toys and would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to review their games.

We were sent the games to review, as usual all thoughts and opinions remain our own.


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