Tag Archives: games

Learning Through Play With Orchard Toys

Orchard Toys games have always been a permanent fixture in our house since Oscar was 2 years old. Our games draw in the playroom is full of them, some are almost 6 or 7 years old that I saved from Oscar for Archie to now play with. When Archie gets a party invitation 9 times out of 10 the present we give is always a Orchard Toys game as they are educational and super fun to play at the same time, which is definitely a win win from a parents point of view!

A few weeks ago we were kindly asked to review some of their new games which I knew the boys would love and get hours and hours of play out of. We love to play games as a family and every Sunday when they see their grandparents we try to always take over a game to all sit and play together.

My most favourite thing about the games and puzzles are that they really promote learning through play. Archie is almost 5 and is really enjoying learning is letters and numbers at the moment and being the little Brother is eager to catch up to Oscar. Oscar is 9 and even though most of the games are for a slightly younger age group he has enjoyed playing them with Archie and you can see a great sense of pride when he helps Archie to learn new things.

Archie loves doing jigsaw puzzles and we were kindly gifted two from their range; Number Street and the Giant Road. Number Street has lovely chunky pieces which are perfect for little hands and is aimed at ages 2-5. You have to piece together the number line, recognising the numbers and then counting the correct number of animals to play above the number. This is great for number recognition as well as counting objects aloud. Obviously for 2 year old’s its great for recognising and naming colours and animals too. Now Archie is 5 and secure with 1-10 we tried maths, for example how many more butterflies are there than the giraffes. We had so much fun with this puzzle!

The Giant Road was a big hit as Archie is car crazy. He loves playing with cars and makes huge traffic jam lines. The Giant Road is a huge interchangeable floor puzzle where you can create lots of different road maps to drive your toy cars on. You can also purchase expansion packs to make your road as big as you would like it. I have actually purchased this to go in Archie’s stocking for Christmas. There are other similar jigsaws available like the Giant Town and the Giant Railway.

Archie’s favourite of the bits we were gifted has been Little Bus Lotto. He has played this literally everyday since it arrived. Its for up to 4 players so we have each had a bus and he has loved it. Its a game of memory and matching and over the last week he has become so good at it. It is easy for him to understand which is great and something the boys who have a 5 year age gap can play together and both get really involved. It is amazing how competitive they get!

Llamas in Pyjamas is a matching game from the mini games range. Each player starts with a pyjama bottom card. The aim of the game is to be the player with the most matching Llamas In Pyjamas. It can be quite a fast game when the players get competitive and the boys got really excited playing. The Mini Games range is fantastic, we have a few now and the boxes are small enough to put in your bag when travelling or to take to a friend’s house to play. At only £5 each they make great birthday party gifts and are the perfect price point for Christmas stocking fillers.

Giraffes In Scarves is a great game to boost colour matching skills and counting too. This was probably the first game for Archie using a dice, which admittedly took a couple of attempts for him to not turn it onto the colour he wanted, haha! Once he got it the actual game is really simple, you have to roll the dice, pick a card and build your giraffes neck taller and taller. The winner who is whoever collects the most scarves. This is for ages 4-7 so is perfect for Archie and his learning age. It is great to take around to his grandparents to play is for 2-6 players.

The Knights and Dragons game is again a game of collecting cards and matching them. There are 40 cards; 20 Knight tops and 20 bottoms and you need to match and collect as many as you can. Archie thoroughly enjoyed this game and loved the brightly coloured pieces. You have to watch out for the Dragon in the pack of cards and he found it very funny when someone else got them. These games are only £8 and are so well made, they are really chunky pieces that don’t bend or break easily. Once again the price point is perfect for a birthday or Christmas gift. The games really do last for years.

There is a great first games selection for children of 18 months and over. At this age children are super inquisitive and are learning all the time from everything around them. They also reach lots of different milestones between 18 months and 3 years and absorb so much information. This range from Orchard Toys is great way to introduce gameplay, turn-taking and other early learning skills with chunky, wipe-clean pieces which are ideal for little hands. We were sent Mummy and Baby and Farmyard Heads and Tails which are both 2 piece games. Mummy and Baby is a two piece puzzle, with 6 different puzzles in the box. They are all different animals and the perfect set of first puzzles. The two pieces slot together easily and are great for hand-eye coordination. Farmyard Heads and Tails is a matching activity games, matching the different halves of animals, a tractor and the farmer. There are 12 pairs to match and you can also use cards to play a game of pairs. As Archie is older he preferred to play this version of the game.

A brand new game from Orchard Toys is Rainbow Unicorns. This is for age 3-5 and for 2-4 players. It is one game but with two ways to play, so there is hours of fun! It is a fun and colourful matching game where players must gallop over the rainbow, match the Unicorn heads and tails along the way to reach the pot of gold at the end. Each player has a coloured Unicorn player piece and if you come across a sad cloud card the play passes to the next person. You can also go on the Orchard Toys where they have lots of free downloadable activities from crafts to recipes. To match this game you can download a Unicorn colouring sheet.

Talking of fun activities, their colouring and activity books are fantastic. Archie loves to sit down and colour and draw and these books have also been a must for us when travelling, they provide hours of entertainment on a plane. We have the Jungle sticker colouring book and the More Things To Do sticker activity book. The More Things To Do sticker activity book is full of colouring, puzzles, odd ones out, wordsearches, dot to dot’s, crosswords and much more. The books are £3 each.

Match and Spell is a great game for Archie at the moment as he is learning to read and is always sounding out his letters to blend them together to make the correct word. Match and Spell is a spelling and reading game. It helps Archie to recognise his letters and Orchard Toys also have the next level games available to really help along the reading learning journey. I really liked this game and without had so much fun without Archie even realising he was learning along the way. You can play the game in two different ways; you can either match the letter cards to the letters shown on their board in the correct order to build a word or in the more challenging version of the game, players can use the blank side of their boards and use the letter cards to build the word of the picture shown which really helps with spellings.

Last but not least and the biggest game of all with 300 hilarious challenges is What A Performance! The aim of the game is to be the first person or team around the board to win. Along the way there are tasks like making animal sounds, different actions and fun activities. Oscar and Archie loved the magic decoder which gives out hidden forfeits too. This is great for a family fun game for all ages so everyone can get involved. We will definitely be playing this on Christmas Day with the whole family!

Orchard Toys really do make amazing educational games that are full of fun! The Educational games, jigsaws and colouring books make the perfect Christmas gifts for children! I have brought a few mini games as stocking fillers and some of the games from their French range as Oscar and Archie both learn French in school.

 

*Disclaimer: We were gifted the above mentioned games and activities by Orchard Toys. All opinions are honest and my own and we love the brand and have used them ourselves for many years.

 

Our Parents vs Kids Little Tikes Family Games Night

To celebrate the launch of the brand new Little Tikes Board Game collection we were kindly sent the ultimate game package to have the best Parents vs Kids Family games night. The boys were really excited when I told them we were having a games night complete with brand new Little Tikes games, a movie and a take away.

We live in rather a competitive household so there was fighting talk even before the games began! We were sent two games out of the new range; Crazy Blender and Hot Hoops.

The Crazy Blender game is so much fun! You simply shuffle the cards and give each player three each and then turn the blender on that swirls around and around. Archie went first and he called out the fruit on his card and then threw it into the crazy blender, the next player then has to follow on with the last fruit the last player called and if they don’t have a card with that fruit on it they take on from the card pile. If they still don’t have the fruit you move onto the next player. As the game goes on it gets harder to throw your cards into the Crazy Blender and some fly out which the next player has to then have. The player with no cards left is the winner. It is such an easy game to play and even Archie who is 3, 4 in a couple of months played along easily too.

This is a great family game and so much fun, when the cards were flying around Oscar and Archie found it hilarious. Having quite a wide age gap of five years it is sometimes difficult to find games we can all play together, but the Crazy Blender is perfect and we really enjoyed playing it. The game itself is aimed at children aged 5+ but like I said Archie played along easily. It has an RRP of £16.99 and would make the perfect Christmas gift and the perfect family game to play on Christmas Day! It is available now at Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon.

We were also sent a chalkboard to keep track of the scores. At the end of playing rounds of Crazy Blender the boys had taken the lead.

Our second game is called Hot Hoops. This was so easy to set up, you simply have to add a few sticker decals but then you are ready to play. This is a two player game so we went head to head, Parents vs Kids. You can also play the game on your own, practising like Archie has been doing ever since we opened it. He loves this game!

You simply have to aim your basketball into the hoop, each player starts with two balls and when you get the ball in the hoop it goes through a tube to your opponents side of the game. The player will no balls on there side of the court wins. This games is so much fun, the competitiveness really came out in the boys and the adrenaline was pumping when they couldn’t score and they were rushing to try and score again before we did. There little faces were so funny!

This is also a great game that you can take with you to play at family and friends houses as it folds up neatly, has storage underneath for the balls and a carry handle. It is each to store in the playroom cupboard too.

Hot Hoops has an RRP of £19.99 and is sold at Argos, Smyths Toys and on Amazon. I can see this being a supper popular game for Christmas as it is perfect for the whole family as well as being a one player game you can play on your own with too.

At the end of the evening the boys won!

We then sat down to watch a film on Netflix and ordered a Chinese of the Just Eat app.

We had such a fun family games night thanks to Little Tikes and it is something we all really enjoyed as a family and will be making it a weekly weekend fixture from now on.

Thank you Little Tikes!

This post is in collaboration with Little Tikes UK.

My Top Toys & Games To Take On Your Travels

With the holidays in full swing and only a couple of months until the Summer holidays I thought I wad write about the top toys and games that the boys love to take on our travels. From a long car journey in the UK for a few nights away or a flight abroad, when you have children keeping them entertained is crucial to a peaceful journey.

Archie is three so keeping him entertained is obviously a little harder at the moment then Oscar who is eight. So here are my top 10 toys and games to take on your travels……

Both the boys love arts and crafts and the Crayola Colour Wonder colouring books are great. They are completely mess free so great for in the car or on an aeroplane so they don’t accidentally get any pen anywhere. I also take them into restaurants on holiday for entertaining them at the table whilst waiting for our meals. Smyths Toys stock the books that come complete with the ‘magic’ pens and have an RRP of £6.49. I always keep a few of the books in the cupboard so I always have one when needed.

An obvious one is Lego. I always buy a couple of little boxes of Lego and Duplo before we go away. They are great for getting the boys to sit quietly in the shade for half an hour and build something.

Great-Nanny brought Archie a Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet which is fantastic. The tablet is £129.99 and comes with a 2-year worry-free guarantee, 1 year of Fire For Kids Unlimited app download and a Kid-Proof Case, available in Blue, Pink and Yellow. For the money its a great deal and we have downloaded so many different apps. On my profile on it I have also downloaded Netfilx and some movies for Archie on Amazon Video. He loves it and plays little educational games on it, watches episodes of his favourite programmes and he likes having something like that of his own when Oscar is playing on his Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch is a great gaming console. We got it for Oscar for Christmas. It can be used at home in the playroom TV using the docking/charging station or as a handheld when out and about. The controls also detach from the device and using the inbuilt stand you can play against a friend using the device as a screen. He absolutely loves it and as he has never been into using an Ipad or a tablet likes to use his ‘screen’ time playing games like Mario Kart and Super Mario. The Switch is £279.99 and the games are around £40 each.

For an Easter gift Archie got the Masha and the Bear playhouse playset. He loves the programme and watches it on Netflix and we saw a TV advert for the playhouse and Archie really wanted it. He never asks for anything so we got it for him. Why it is on this list is because its nice and small and all fits inside it self and closes so you can take it on your travels. I didn’t know this when I ordered it but its brilliant and fits in my handbag!

Last year I brought some fantastic car road tape from We Are Kidly and stuck some on the aeroplane tray so Archie could play with his cars. I also used it on the sun lounger and on our hotel room floor. It comes off easily leaving no marks behind and the air hostess on the plane couldn’t believe how long it kept Archie entertained and what a genius idea it was. It is £11 for a roll and as well as road they also do a train track tape.

We love Orchard Toys and have tons of their games but they also sell different mini travel games for toddlers which are great. Archie loves playing games and doing puzzles so have mini versions to take away with you is a great idea. Oscar will join in too even if it is a bit easy/young for him.

Orchard Toys Animal Match Mini/Travel Game Orchard Toys Llamas in Pyjamas Mini / Travel GameOrchard Toys Little Bug Bingo Mini / Travel Game

When it comes to games Oscar loves Cluedo and Monopoly and games like that. But recently he has fallen in love with Top Trumps. We have a few sets of cards now, sports cars, predators and dinosaurs. They are the perfect size to fit in your bag and we take them to Nanny and Grandad’s on the weekend so they can play too. It is the perfect family travel game.

I hope you have found this useful and it’s given you a few ideas of how to keep your children entertained whilst traveling! Happy holidays!

UFO Alarm & Aladdin’s Flying Carpet Games Review From University Games

A few weeks ago we were sent a couple of games to review from University Games. We love University Games and have quite the collection now. Oscar loves to play games and gets extremely competitive although we don’t always let him win as I think it is good to let children learn to win and loose when playing.

Oscar was really excited when he saw his new games and he chose to play The UFO Alarm game first. On the weekends we see our parents and Oscar loves to play games with them too. When my Mum and Dad came over we played the UFO Alarm. It is a really fun game for 2-4 players and is aimed for children aged 6+. Oscar is nearly 6 and understood all the of rules easily.

The game is easy to set up and Oscar loved the UFO and that it actually sucked up the pieces if you got caught by an alien. You roll the dice and move around the board and if you land on the UFO on the dice you move the alien in his UFO closer or onto the space one of your opponents is on, sucking up their pieces as you go. The player left at the end with a counter still on the board wins. You can escape through trap doors or hide in the outside toilet cubicle. It is a fun and really different game and we love it. It would be make a great after dinner game on Christmas tree. We had plenty of laughs playing it. The UFO Alarm game has an RRP of £24.99 and you will have hours of fun!

   

The second game we received is perfect for the upcoming Christmas Panto season and is called Aladdin’s Flying Carpet. I set the game up and the flying carpet magically floats underneath the magnet, Oscar thought this was great and believed it was ‘real’ magic. The aim of the game is to take a piece of treasure out of the bag and carefully place it on to the flying carpet with out the carpet falling. If any treasure falls off when you are placing your piece on the carpet you have to then add another piece as a penalty. You can also make the game harder or easier by moving the flying carpet further away or nearer to the magnet holding it in place. The last person to add their treasure piece before someone makes it fall wins the game. Its a really simple but extremely fun game to play! Another amazing game from University Games. It has an RRP of £19.99 and is suitable for children aged 4+ and is for two or more players.

  

Both of these games are great fun and would make fantastic Christmas presents! You will have hours of fun!

         

 

Disclaimer: We were sent the above games for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

Minions Top Trumps Card Game

Oscar is five now and we started playing Top Trumps at the start of the year as they have them in different themes and characters that he liked and he liked looking at all the pictures on the cards. Recently we were kindly sent the Minions Top Trumps to review and we took them on holiday with us so over the fortnight I could teach Oscar how to play properly, plus they fitted in my bag so easily.

Top Trumps is a great card game where each card contains a list of numerical data and the aim of the game is to compare these values to try to trump and win an opponent’s card. Within the pack there are 30 themed cards which in the Minions Top Trump pack each highlight a different Minions Movie themed mission or characters. You join Kevin, Bob and Stuart on their greatest adventure so far! During the game with the different cards you will travel through the greatest eras in history, just like in the film. The Minions serve the ferocious T-Rex, the great Egyptian Pharoh and the forces of Napoleon in hopes one of them might become their evil master. FYI the film is hilarious! I was surprised how much Oscar knew about the different eras!


So as I said we took our pack on holiday with us and we had great fun playing Top Trumps over and over again. We played it on the plane and we played it everyday when I had applied Oscar’s sun cream and was waiting for it to dry in, to keep Oscar in the shade we would sit and play a game of Minions Top Trumps while we waited. It only took a few games and Oscar had completely got the idea and how to play. I also noticed that it is a great way of getting Oscar to recognise higher numbers and be able to read the words on the cards too which was great as there is an element of learning as well as fun when playing the game.

  

The Minions Top Trumps retail for £4.99 and is available online or in all good toy stores.

Disclaimer: We were sent the Minions Top Trumps for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

We Are A University Games Blogger Ambassador

I Am A University Games Ambassador

You may of seen our shiny new University Games blogger ambassador badge on my blog recently. I was thrilled when we were asked to be a brand ambassador for them as they make great games and activities for children. Some of which we saw first hand at the Toy Fair last year.


We love playing games with Oscar as it teaches him to play fair and be patient and I think it’s important for children to learn from an early age that they don’t always win. Board games are also a great way of doing something educational yet fun.


University Games sell a large range of games suitable for all ages for example: 


Question games include Pointless, Smart Ass and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Pink. Educational yet fun!


Arts and crafts ranges include My Studio Girl, Kooky Kritters and Alien Slime Jumpers. These will be great to keep your little ones entertained during the school Summer holidays.

Funny active games include Chicken Charades, Bunny Jump and Don’t Rock The Boat. We saw Bunny Jump and Don’t Rock The Boat at the Toy Fair and Oscar loved the look of them, so he was over the moon yesterday when he received them in the post!

Front Porch Classics range include Bowling Zombies, Boneyard Dominoes and Liar’s Dice.

Mini Travel games include Who What Where Jr, Totally Gross, Man Bites Dog and so much more. Perfect for taking away with you to have some family game fun on holiday.

Great Explorations range include Glowing Stars kit, 3-D Solar System, 3-D planets and more. These not only look great in your child’s room but will help your little ones learn about the Solar System.
So as an ambassador I will be bringing you lot’s of great reviews on their current and upcoming games and activities and we are really thrilled to have been chosen! Look out for my first review of Don’t Rock The Boat on Monday.

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Review: Orchard Toys Colour Match And Catch And Count Game

At the start of the week we received two new games from Orchard Toys for us (Oscar) to review. The two games are Colour Match and the Catch and Count game.



 The Colour Match game is a great game that promotes colour recognition and taught Oscar to arrange colours and objects into groups and piece them together. It has also helped him recognise the actual colour words as well. The game is aimed at children aged 3-7 and is part of the first puzzles range. The aim is to piece together the familiar objects to make 12 colour themed, self-corrective, 5 piece jigsaws. As well as the normal colours there is also a multicoloured one to match as well to make it a bit difficult. Oscar enjoyed this puzzle and was really proud of himself for being able to sit down and complete it all on his own. An educational yet fun puzzle means a big thumbs up from me!




The Catch and Count Game is for children aged 3-9 and is for 2-4 players. You have to spin the Octopus counter then you have to see how many fish you can catch whilst trying to avoid turning over the shark. I like playing games like this with Oscar as it teaches him to wait to take his turn and also that he can’t always win. This helps when he is playing games at school with his friends. The game also links with Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum Maths Key stage 1.


Both of these games are great fun and we have enjoyed playing them and will have plenty of fun playing them in the future!



Disclaimer: This product was sent to us for the purposes of reviewing, however all opinions were independently formed by Laura at Mummy’s Zone.


Orchard Toys Pigs In Pants and Rockets and Comets Games Review

A couple of weeks ago we received two games from Orchard Toys. The first game we played is Pigs In Pants. This is a game aimed at children aged 4-12. It is a fun and lively matching game! Be the player with the most pants on your pig, but beware of other players pinching them! Oscar loved this game and found the whole pigs in pants concept hilarious. He is very competitive and managed to ‘win’ each time we played. He has also been making funny pictures on his own out of the pig boards and pants. 



Oscar’s birthday was only a couple of weeks ago and we have always loved Orchard Toy’s games but it proved to me that it was a popular brand with the other parents as Oscar received five other Orchard Toy’s games as gifts.



Oscars Games he got for his birthday





Playing the Pigs In Pants game can also help with:



  • Encourages observational and strategic thinking.
  • Develops social communication and turn taking.
  • Develops matching and colour recognition.

The second game we received with has proved to be one of Oscar’s favourite games is the Rockets and Comets game. He had great fun over the weekend playing this with his Nanny’s and Grandad’s. It really teaches children to wait there turn and the easy to follow instructions meant Oscar picked up the game really quickly! The game is aimed at children aged 4-10. You Zoom up rockets, slide down comets and get sucked into black holes as you travel to the moon in this fun, space themed Snakes and Ladders game. It is also great for teaching children to add up numbers and to teach them the higher numbers. The educational benefits are:

  • Develops number and counting skills
  • Encourages social interaction – playing the game with others and taking turns
  • Teaches how to follow instructions


I am defiantly a fan of Orchard Toy Games for Oscar as they are really educational and great fun at the same time. They have a huge range of great games on their website and they are all at fantastic prices.

Disclaimer: These products were sent to us for the purposes of reviewing, however all opinions were independently formed by Laura and Oscar at Mummy’s Zone.

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