I am a massive fan of Orchard Toys; I think that they are one of the best toy companies around with fun, bright, attractive and educational games and puzzles for little ones. I've often seen their games in the nursery and infant departments in school, and the children are always having fun with them. I covetted them for many years before having The Boy, and since having him I have been desperate to get to the stage where he can play with them. Now he is, and we're so lucky because in last month's parcel from Toys R Us there was another Orchard Toys game to review.
Alphabet Lotto is one of their excellent bingo style games but this is one has a differentiated twist to it with four different ways to play. In the sturdy box are five lotto boards, each one a different colour, and double-sided with six spaces. One side has pictures with the object's name written underneath (the letter or phoneme is highlighted more prominently) while the other side has the corresponding letters. This piqued my teacher interest straight away, how very clever of them to have written the word underneath, but highlighting the first letter/phoneme is really genius and allows for a lot of expansion and teaching through this game.
The third and fourth ways of playing this lotto game come through the lotto cards. There are two sets: one of letters and one of pictures, each have thirty cards in the set. Yes I know there are 26 letters in the alphabet but I did mention phonemes didn't I? They have chosen four of the most common ones and have cards for 'th', 'sh', 'wh' and 'ch'. The lotto cards are not double-sided, I don't know if that was a conscious decision or not, it might have helped to connect the sound with the image more easily, but on the other hand it provides another use for them as the children can then match the sound up with the pictures which creates a fifth game! I've put the letter cards in a plastic wallet out of the way for the moment, because obviously at two years old The Boy is too young to use them.
We don't play lotto yet in a conventional way yet, he's just that bit too young to understand about taking turns although we will soon be working on it with him and this is an excellent way to promote it. Instead, he helps mummy and daddy to find the (face-up) cards on their boards. This is an excellent way to help develop his matching skills (pre-maths skills) and the recognition of images is so important (pre-reading skills). He loves it and finds it great fun!
I would thoroughly recommend Alphabet Lotto for any child who is approaching nursery or reception to help develop their understanding of letters and sounds. I would also thoroughly recommend this for anyone who just wants to have fun with their child!
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