Tag Archives: children’s toys

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

My son is six now and does seem to enjoy doing maths at school and at home. I’m keen to encourage this, especially as I was always terrible at maths myself. I’m a great believer in making learning fun, so when we were sent the Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game I thought he would like it, and I was right!

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game is for ages 5-7 and helps to teach and reinforce addition, subtraction and multiplication. Designed for 2-4 players this is a game my son really, really loves and makes us play every night after dinner.

The game play is really easy to get your head around. Each player chooses one of the four wizard boards, you spread the magic sum cards face down and star up on the table. You also have a selection of spell ingredient cards, deal each player six of these cards, these have a number on one side and a gruesome spell ingredient on the other.

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

To play you turn over a magic sum card and do the sum on the card eg 5+2= if you have the number 7 on any of your spell ingredient cards, shout abracadabra and put your gruesome spell ingredient onto your wizard board. If you need to check your answer is correct, rub the star on the back of the magic sum card and this will magically reveal the answer.

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

If there’s no match or you answer the sum incorrectly then the other players have a chance to win that card if they get the sum right and have a spell ingredient card to match. The winner is the first layer to fill their wizard board with all six spell ingredients. It’s actually much easier than it sounds.

The horrible spell ingredients include worm-infested cupcakes, brains and bogies. For my son the eye of newt and wing of bat element is something he particularly enjoys.

The game has been designed specifically for KS1 maths in collaboration with teachers and educational professionals. It incorporates a broad range of sums including addition, subtraction and multiplication to offer a challenging game.

The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game helps to develop the following areas of learning –

  • Develops Number and Counting Skills
  • Supports first multiplication, addition and subtraction
  • Encourages Observational Skills
  • Develops Personal and Social Skills

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

I know from playing the game with my son that he is very engaged with it, he enjoys creating the spells and the challenge of doing the maths to get enough of the cards to win the game. For my money, this is probably one of the best Orchard Toys games we’ve had and is perfectly pitched for my 6 year old.

If you do get this game, can I offer a small tip. The magic sum cards are in sets for addition, subtraction and multiplication. I know my son is pretty confident with addition and subtraction; so for a while we just played with these cards to bolster his confidence. Over time we have introduced the harder sums, the multiplication cards etc and he has found those easier to do and has approached them with greater confidence.

I didn’t think it was possible, but this game really makes maths fun for us all!

The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game is available from a wide range of retailers and costs around £12. For more information, visit the Orchard Toys website.

Review: Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game

Note: We were sent the Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Orchard Toys What’s the Time Mr Wolf?

This month the small boy started Year 1 and his learning has definitely stepped up a level. One thing his class are starting to look at is learning to tell the time. We’ve been talking about the time all year and trying to figure out what the time is on our kitchen clock, but Orchard Toys have just brought out a new game – What’s the Time Mr Wolf? to help 5-9 year olds learn to tell the time. We were sent one to put to the test, so what did the small boy think?

Orchard Toys What's the Time Mr Wolf?

What’s the Time Mr Wolf? is based on the popular playground game and is for 2 – 6 players, aged 5 to 9. It contains a jigsaw game board, character pieces and stands, time cards (with analogue and digital times on them), a slot together wolf and a large clock face with movable hands.

The game has been designed to help children to learn to tell the time and it is also fun and easy to play. Like many of the Orchard Toys games, it can be played at different levels. First play and learn to tell the time on a clock, once that skill has been mastered you can move onto learning to tell the time on a digital clock.

Orchard Toys What's the Time Mr Wolf?

When you open the box and get the game out, there are a lot of different elements, so it might look more complex than it is. The first version of the game (which is what we are playing, as the small boy is only 5) is pretty simple.

Choose a character counter (I was badger, he was hedgehog), go to the start and roll the dice. Move however many squares and if you land on a question mark you pick up a card from the stack of time cards. Then you read out the time, for example “ten minutes past ten” and without looking at the clock face on the back you move the hands on the big clock to that time. If they match then you can add your card to your collection board (with the matching character on it). The first one to fill their board wins.

If you don’t get the time right, then you have to return the card to the pile and the next player has a go. If you land on the wolf you shout “dinner time” and you must take a card from your collection board and feed it to the wolf. The small boy especially liked the shouting part, but I guess shouting is optional.

What's the Time Mr Wolf?

We played after school and the small boy couldn’t wait for his dad to come home from work to play it with him too. It’s great that the What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game is so enjoyable for him, it really helps with his learning. He’s got the game out most days after school which is really encouraging for me. I do have to watch him, I’m not saying he cheats, but I am saying that cheats never prosper!

I can’t really comment on the other version of the game for older players, as we’re not there yet and we’ve not played it, but it does help to teach older kids how to tell the time on a digital clock.

The What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game from Orchard Toys is made with sturdy recycled board and has a wipe-clean finish. All Orchard Toys games and puzzles are really robust and we’ve still got some which are four years old and have been played to death. 

What’s the Time Mr Wolf? is another cracking educational game from Orchard Toys. If you can make learning fun, then it doesn’t feel like learning at all.

To find out more about the What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game, visit the Orchard Toys website.

We were sent the Orchard Toys What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game fore review purposes. All Images and opinions are our own. 

Review: Orchard Toys Shopping List Game

One of the most popular games we have at home is the Orchard Toys Shopping List game which we’ve had for about a year now.  It’s been all over the place with us and has kept us entertained during family meals out or quiet afternoons at home. The Orchard Toys Shopping List game was probably the best money we’ve ever spent on a game. 

We first discovered it in the school nursery, where the children played with it with the teachers to help develop a range of skills including matching and memory, personal and social skills as well as observational skills. I think it’s also really good for language development, as we always use it to talk about going shopping and what we are putting in our basket or trolley.

orchard toys shopping list game

I was really pleased to see that Orchard Toys have recently released an updated version of the game,the rules are the same as ever,  but there are a few different items to put in your trolley and some different, modern shopping list options. It’s not vastly different, but it’s different enough, so much so that we all got excited about the new game. 

Orchard Toys shopping list game

As you can see from the photo above the Orchard Toys Shopping List game has had a bit of an update – I love the shopping list on the smartphone, because that’s how I shop!

Orchard Toys Shopping List game

Playing the game is really easy. You just select a shopping list and a trolley or basket, turn all the shopping cards over so you can’t see what they are (each one has something from the shopping lists). Then you take it in turns to pick a card and see if it’s on your list, if it is you put it in your trolley, if it isn’t you put it back and whoever does have it has to try really hard to remember where you put it when it’s their go. Everyone takes it is turns to turn over a card and whoever fills their basket or trolley first is the winner!

We couldn’t wait to get the box open and get playing, Grandad joined in too and we played three games in quick succession and have played it every day since! The Orchard Toys Shopping List game is as good as, if not better than it ever was! We love it!

To find out more about this brilliant game, visit the Orchard Toys website.

Review: Big Alphabet Puzzle from Orchard Toys

A month or so ago I found out that I’d been selected to be an Orchard Toys Toy Tester (check out the lovely badge in my sidebar). I was so excited about this as we’ve been very keen on Orchard Toys puzzles and games since the small boy was nought but a tot. My local toy shop Giddy Goat Toys stock a brilliant range of them, so he’s grown from doing the chunky 2 piece puzzles to conquering huge 40 piece jigsaws from Orchard Toys. We were sent the brand new Big Alphabet Puzzle to try out. 

Big Alphabet Puzzle

The Big Alphabet Puzzle predictably has 26 pieces, each with a letter from the alphabet on and a colourful picture. The puzzle is printed on good thick board so it’s hard to damage and scuff them, the pieces are also a good size to be easily picked up and placed by little hands.

Big Alphabet Puzzle

The Big Alphabet Puzzle also comes with a matching poster which we’ve stuck on his wall. The Big Alphabet Puzzle is suitable for ages 3-6 and is made in the UK. We already have the giant alphabet puzzle, so I was pleased to see that they were very different from each other.

Big Alphabet Puzzle

The small boy (aged 4) was very excited to get his hands on a new puzzle, so much so that every picture I tried to take of him doing it was really blurred. We sat down and did it together. He took the lead and I just helped him when he needed me.

The Big Alphabet Puzzle helps to improve hand eye co-ordination, encourages observational skills and helps to improve his literacy. As we did the puzzle we talked about words that began with each letter, not just the word pictured, and we tried to remember what the next letter in the alphabet was.

Big Alphabet Puzzle

Since we received the puzzle he’s gone back and tackled it by himself, and with our help most days. He enjoys the challenge of a jigsaw puzzle and he likes doing them with us, especially talking about the pictures and what he’s doing. I know he’ll enjoy doing this puzzle for a long while yet.

He’s just moving to reception at school, so this kind of puzzle is perfect for cementing his learning and helping to extend and develop his existing skills and knowledge. It’s everything I would expect from a company like Orchard Toys – interesting, engaging and well made.

The Big Alphabet Puzzle from Orchard Toys is widely available online and in good toy shops.

Note: We are Orchard Toys Toy Testers and we were sent this product free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.