Tag Archives: Orchard Toys

Review: Orchard Toys What a Performance Game

This week we’ve been playing a new board game from Orchard Toys – What a Performance! It’s kind of like charades, but with a lot more going on. We properly laughed when we played this game and it would be a great game for small-ish groups of people or families.

Review: Orchard Toys What a Performance Game

What a Performance is great to get the whole family laughing and playing together. Race your way around the performance board to be the first player or team to reach the finish. Along the way you’ll have to act out a scene, make lots of fun noises, do funny actions and activities along the way. Can you pretend to be a monkey, make a noise like a firework or wiggle your ears? If you can’t, use the magic decoder and reveal your hidden forfeit on the back of the cards!

There are over 300 fun challenges to perform, so there’s never a dull moment.

Review: Orchard Toys What a Performance Game

The box contains a jigsaw game board, 100 activity cards, a spinner, a sand timer; a card holder, a performance star, four character stands; four playing pieces, a magic decoder, a dice and an instruction leaflet.

The game is fairly simple to set up. You put the jigsaw board together, this comes in four pieces and takes seconds to do. You choose which colour you will be, red, green, yellow or blue and take your playing pieces and put them at the start.

The youngest player starts by rolling the dice and moving along the board accordingly. When you land on a square Say/Act/Do you take a card and read the corresponding instruction. If the instructions has “Guess” written on it, the other players have to set the timer and guess what you’re doing within the time. There are other squares, Spin means you spin the spinner which will choose your challenge. Landing on the ? square means you take a card and using the magic decoder, you follow the hidden instructions on the back of the card.

Review: Orchard Toys What a Performance Game

It’s all very simple and really lots of fun. The game had us doing monkey and dinosaur impressions, sit ups, touching our toes, it had us wiggling our ears and talking in silly voices. It was tremendous fun and just the kind of thing to bring out the silly in anyone.

As with all Orchard Toys games, What a Performance does have some educational benefits. It promotes imaginative play, encourages personal and social skills and can encourage group play. I think one of the biggest things we noticed with it, was it was really great for getting him to think about how to follow the instructions. This gave him more confidence to stand up and be silly, which is an essential life skill, or it is in my book.

What a Performance is a properly fun game. It’s just the thing for building a bit of confidence whilst having a whole lot of fun!

What a Performance is suitable for ages 5 to adult and for 2 or more players. It costs £16.50 and is widely available.

Review: Orchard Toys What a Performance Game

Disclosure: We were sent the What a Performance game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

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: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

When we go out for a meal, a day trip or a break away from home I always pack a bag of activities to keep my son entertained. When we go out we try to encourage him to work through an activity book or play a small game. We think it’s better for him and a more inclusive activity than just giving him our phones to play with. 

We were sent the new Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys to try out. These travel sized games tick all the boxes when it comes to packing our activities travel bag.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Spiders and Spouts is an update on the traditional snakes and ladders game, featuring characters from the Insey Winsey Spider nursery rhyme. Climb up the spouts to reach the finish line, but beware the rain clouds which will wash you back down again! The Spiders and Spouts travel game is suitable for children aged 4-7 and for 2-4 players.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

The Orchard Toys Spiders and Spouts mini game is a cleverly designed 6 piece jigsaw puzzle which you piece together to form your classic board game. The box also contains four counters (for up to four players) and a dice.

Even though it’s only 6 pieces, my son was keen to help out and put the board together. The design on the board is lively with lots going on. The illustrations are really cheery and the Insey Winsey Spider theme was fun. Although it’s printed thick board, this game still has the practicality of being able to break the board up and fit it into a small box. 

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Like the Orchard Toys games, the Sprouts & Spiders Mini Game has some educational and developmental benefits including –

  • Developing Personal and Social Skills
  • Encouraging Number and Counting Skills
  • Encourages Observational Skills

The Orchard Toys mini games cost around £4.99 and I think they are excellent value for money. They are light and compact, so I can just stick them in my bag and take them out with us. They’re brilliant for days out and holidays and are a fantastic travel game for children and families.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Note: Orchard Toys sent us the Spiders and Spouts Mini 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. 

Travel Toys: Jungle Snakes & Ladders Mini Game from Orchard Toys

One of the latest releases from Orchard Toys is their new range of Mini Games. The games are mini because they are small and very portable, making them ideal for travel or to slip into your bag for days out.

There are six new mini games to choose from –

  • Build a Beetle
  • Dinosaur Dominoes
  • Little Bus Lotto
  • Penguin Pairs
  • Jungle Snakes & Ladders
  • Crocodile Snap

The games vary, but generally they are for children aged 3+ and are based on classic games. We were sent the Jungle Snakes & Ladders game to play with, so I slipped it in my bag and took the boy out for a milkshake and a game or two.

mini games

The Orchard Toys Jungle Snakes & Ladders mini game rather cleverly is a 6 piece jigsaw puzzle which you put together and it forms your classic board game. The box also contains four counters (for up to four players) and a dice.

First of all the boy really enjoyed putting the puzzle pieces together. The board is lively with lots going on and he enjoyed following the numbers to ensure he was putting the pieces together correctly. He liked the monkeys and he’s re-christened the game “Monkeys, Snakes & Ladders” which seems factually accurate if nothing else.

The board is colourfully printed thick card, the usual thickness of Orchard Toys games, but with the practicality of being able to “break it up” and fit it into a small box. The game is really colourful and well illustrated in a way which wouldn’t put off older children or adults so much.

Like the Orchard Toys games, the Jungle Snakes & Ladders mini game has some very helpful educational benefits including –

  • Developing Personal and Social Skills
  • Encouraging Number and Counting Skills

And that has certainly been evident every time we’ve played the game. As well as reinforcing turn-taking in game play, we also have used it to practice counting and learn to deal with the disappointment of sliding down a snake. He may have also practiced his cheating and I practiced calling him out on that. Cheaters never prosper!

These mini games cost around £4.99 and are excellent value for money. They are light and compact, so I can just stick it in my bag and take it out with us. They’re brilliant for days out and holidays and are a fantastic travel game for children and families.

Note: Orchard Toys sent us this game for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own.

Review: Orchard Toys Activity Books

Working in a small independent toy shop I am lucky enough to get to hear about quite a lot of new toys, games, books and puzzles before they hit the shelves. I was super-giddy when I saw the new puzzles for this year from Orchard Toys, and several of them will be joining our collection at home at some point very soon. However I was especially interested in the new range of Orchard Toys Activity Books.

The small boy loves an activity book, he fell in love with them over Christmas and has been working his way through one a week ever since.

There are six Orchard Toys Activity Books available, they are –

  • Animals Sticker Colouring Book, ages 3+
  • Make Believe Sticker Colouring Book, ages 3+
  • ABC Sticker Colouring Book, ages 4+
  • Number Sticker Colouring Book, ages 4+
  • First Words Sticker Colouring Book, ages 4+
  • Things To Do Sticker Activity Book, ages 5+

Each of the Orchard Toys Activity Books is 24 pages long and contains stickers for them to stick on the pages as they go along. We chose three of the activity books;  the Things To Do Sticker Activity Book, the Number Sticker Colouring Book, and the First Words Sticker Colouring Book.

Orchard Toys Activity Books

The activity books have colourful covers and are black and white on the inside, with large drawings and shapes to colour in. Where there are words or numbers to copy and write, they are dotted lines to draw over and lots of space to practice.

The Number Sticker Colouring Book goes from 1 – 10 and includes practice writing the numbers, as well as counting activities, colouring in and sticking. All of which are great for encouraging the fine motor skills children of that age need to develop.

The First Words Sticker Colouring Book has 23 words to identify and write, as well as colouring in and stickers to stick. The words include cat, dog, drum, teddy and rocket. Again there are several chances to practice writing each word and extra space if you need it.

The Things To Do Sticker Activity Book is aimed at children aged 5+ and contains 20 pages of puzzles and things to do, including matching puzzles, word searches, dot to dots, mazes and simple sums.

I think activity books are great, we always have them out on the table to do a page or two when we get home from school. We don’t like to push him to do them, but he often asks to do a page of numbers or a dot to dot. They’re also great for taking out and about, an activity book and a couple of felt tips weigh virtually nothing.

Orchard Toys Activity Books

These Orchard Toys activity books are ideal for supporting the learning he is doing at school. We have been asked by his teacher to do more writing and pen holding at home, so even things like colouring in and learning to colour in the lines is great for his development.

  • Encourages Observational Skills
  • Encourages Number and Counting Skills
  • Encourages Discussion
  • Develops Shape and Matching Skills
  • Develops Hand Eye Coordination
  • Promotes Language and Literacy

For me, as equally important as supporting his learning and development at home is that he enjoys doing them and actively asks to do them with us, which he has done. We enjoy sitting with him and talking about what he’s doing and what’s happening on each page, we try not to make learning a chore.

These activity books are priced at £3.99 which I think is about average for an activity book like this (and I’ve bought lots and lots of them) and quite reasonable given the content and design. I think they’ve been well thought out and are a welcome addition to the Orchard Toys range.

You can find out more about the Orchard Toys Activity books on their website.

Note: We were sent these three activity books for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Win an Orchard Toys Giant Railway Puzzle

One of the small boy’s favourite puzzles has been the Giant Road Jigsaw from Orchard Toys, containing 20 pieces you can make different road layouts and race your cars around the track. Using his imagination he’s created whole villages and had hours of fun with him and his friends. It’s a classic. I was excited to see that they have just released the Orchard Toys Giant Railway Puzzle, which can be used with other puzzles from Orchard Toys, the Giant Road, Giant Town and Airport, Junctions and Stations expansion packs.

The Orchard Toys Giant Railway contains 26 large pieces of interchangeable railway themed jigsaw. You can build lots of different railway tracks, and the puzzle includes railway buffers as well as train and character play pieces. It’s a cracking puzzle and I can’t wait for my son to start playing with it, I’m certain he’ll love it just as much as he enjoys the Giant Road puzzle.

Orchard Toys Giant Railway Puzzle

Orchard Toys puzzles are always designed with a child’s development in mind, the Giant Railway Puzzle from Orchard Toys is suitable for ages 3+ and…

  • Promotes Imaginative Play
  • Encourages Observational Skills
  • Encourages Discussion
  • Develops Hand Eye Coordination

Win an Orchard toys Giant Railway Puzzle 

I am delighted to be able to offer my lovely blog readers the chance to win an Orchard Toys Giant Railway Puzzle. To be in with a chance to win just complete the rafflecopter widget below. Thank you.

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3. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget above. Please ensure you leave some contact details or I will not be able to contact you if you win.
4. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries. The winner will receive an Orchard Toys Giant Railway Puzzle.
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6. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
7. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winners, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
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Review: Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises

It’s only been a few days since the small boy turned five, but as soon as the last of his wrapping paper goes in the bin, thoughts turn to Christmas which is only about 6 weeks away now (eek!). To get us in the mood we like to watch DVDs and play games, not least because the tree doesn’t go up until almost the last minute. Over the weekend we all went for a pub lunch, and to entertain the small boy and his cousin I took the Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises game we’d been sent to play.

Aimed at children aged 3-6 years, the grown ups still joined in and enjoyed the game play. The game has enough double sided boards for 2-4 players. There are two different games you can play, the shape game and the colour game. The box contains 4 double sided boards, 24 shaped presents, 24 coloured baubles, 1 shape dice and one colour dice.

The shape game you play with the Father Christmas board, turn all the different shapes over so you can’t see what the presents are, roll the shape dice and pick the corresponding shape, it’s a bit like shape bingo, everyone takes a turn and the first one to fill Santa’s sack with presents wins, then everyone gets to turn over their shapes and see what Santa has brought them.

The colour game is similar and you play with the Christmas tree board. The bauble shapes are colour side up, each player rolls the dice and they collect the corresponding bauble colour, the first one to decorate the tree wins.

Christmas Surprises

The boys loved both games, with one preferring the colour and the other preferring the shape game – lucky there are two games to choose from! This is a nice matching game, where small children can get the hang of standard game conventions such as taking turns and rolling the dice, and importantly, not winning every time.

The Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises game encourages social skills and observations, improves manual dexterity and is linked with early learning goals.

It was certainly a lot of fun, kept us all entertained while we waited for our lunch and sparked several conversations about Christmas. I can see us playing this a lot up until the big day (and probably beyond). Another great game from Orchard Toys!

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!

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.