Search Results for: orchard toys

Orchard Toys: Football Game (Review & Giveaway)

There comes a time in a child's life when it's a good idea to start introducing them to positive current affairs, to show they that there's a wider world beyond their little cocoon. A sporting event like the Olympics is always a good way to start, as it shows healthy competition and promotes exercise. This year there are two major sporting events which are perfect to ignite children's interest; the Commonwealth games, and the FIFA World Cup.

Orchard Toys have recognised the popularity and have produced the fabulous Football Game to encourage this.

Football Game by Orchard Toys [Read more…]

Orchard Toys: Monster Bingo (Review)

One of the first games I reviewed with Orchard Toys was Red Dog, Blue Dog which is a simple bingo game for 2-5 year old children. It was a great introduction to colours and really helped to consolidate the skill of recognising and matching shapes and colours. The Boy still loves playing with it, but as he's now reaching the upper age group for it I felt that he needed another level of bingo, something that would challenge him a little more.

Orchard Toys sent me the next step up to try out with him; Monster Bingo. This is a shape and colour matching bingo game with the appealing aspect of the shapes designed as friendly monsters.

The game comprises of:

  • 4 double sided bingo boards, each with 16 spaces
  • a colour dice and a shape dice
  • 36 coloured shape cards
  • 64 slime cards

Orchard Toys Monster Bingo

There are two ways to play this game;

  1. For younger players:
    1. Each player chooses a board, the colour shape cards are placed face down on the table and the slime cards are placed within each reach of the players.
    2. Players take it in turns to turn over a colour shape card and everyone checks to see if it matches on their own board, covering it with a slime card if it does. The colour shape card it left on the table face up (to show it's already been played; we actually placed these to the side so as not to confuse matters).
    3. The winner is the first person to get four in a row, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
  2. For older players:
    1. Each players chooses a board, the colour shape cards are placed face up on the table so they can be seen (we actually placed them in a grid so all the same colour cards went along a column, and all the same shapes cards went along a row; it made it easier to locate them), the slime cards are left in a pile in easy reach of all players.
    2. Each player takes it in turn to roll the two dice and locate the right card (matching it to the dice) and then everyone can cover it on their board if they have it.
    3. Again the winner is the first person to get four in a row, as above.

The first style of game was more straightforward for The Boy to play, it also had the element of surprise from turning the cards over and not knowing what would be picked up. This way could be used to extend the game by each player having to wait their turn before they can place a slime card on their board, it would bring in the element of a memory game then.

The second style of game was more of a challenge for The Boy, and it lasted slightly longer as well. We all enjoyed playing this one, and it was a good learning opportunity. My husband and I were bantering about his pronounciation of the word 'diamond' and The Boy interjected to tell us it could also be called a rhombus and that it was his turn!

Of course at the end of the game, the winner must shout 'Monster Bingo' in true bingo style, with as much enthusiasm as they can muster!

Orchard Toys Monster Bingo

As usual, Orchard Toys publishes an educational guide to show the learning potential of their products. Monster Bingo is good for:

  • developing colour and shape matching skills (mathematical development);
  • encouraging social interaction;
  • developing observational skills (pre-reading development);
  • links with Early Learning Goals.

Monster Bingo is available from Orchard Toys and all good high-street toy shops for £9.50.

We were sent this product for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.

Orchard Toys: Greedy Gorilla (Review)

It's no secret that we are two of Orchard Toys' biggest fans; I've got more of their games and puzzles than the local toy shop and we play a different one each day. One of The Boy's favourite Orchard Toys' games is Crazy Chefs which he likes because of both the 'cooking' aspect and the 'chance' factor. Therefore when we were sent Greedy Gorilla to review, I knew that this one would go down really well with The Boy.

Orchard Toys: Greedy Gorilla

Greedy Gorilla is a game designed to encourage healthy eating in a fun way. The game involves collecting healthy ingredients to make a nutritious meal while identifying the junk food and disposing of it in the gorilla's mouth. The game consists of:

  • 4 playing boards including chicken, beef, fish and vegetarian meals,
  • 24 healthy food cards (e.g. tomatoes, salmon steak, carrots, mushrooms, apple juice, water, milk, etc)
  • 8 junk food cards (e.g. burger, ice-cream, pizza, fries, etc.)
  • 1 gorilla posting box (requires 3AAA batteries which are included)

Orchard Toys: Greedy Gorilla

The idea of the game is very simple:

  1. Each person chooses a playing board which has six ingredients listed on it;
  2. The 32 healthy food and junk food cards are placed down in the middle of the playing area face down;
  3. Starting with the youngest player, each person chooses a card and turns it over to see if it is on their board;
    1. If it is a junk food card then it is placed in the gorilla's mouth, who will then burp and all the players must put their hand over their mouth and say 'pardon me';
    2. If it is a healthy food card then they can place it on their board if it matches or return it to the centre of the table;
  4. The player to complete their board first is the winner.

Orchard Toys: Greedy Gorilla

As with all Orchard Toys games, Greedy Gorilla is educational and fun. However, the educational element this time comes in the form of educating children about the type of food that is healthy and those which are 'sometimes' foods; treats and not to be eaten very often at all. The Boy is starting to learn about this in school at the moment so it's great consolidation for him and really helps reinforce the importance of eating healthily.

The game can be extended further by discussing the need for a balance diet through combining the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and dairy alongside fruit and vegetables. The game is aimed at 4-8 year olds and I can definitely see how the game can suit this age range. I also think that they could be used as recipe cards and a meal planner to help create healthy meals for families throughout the week!

Greedy Gorilla is available for £11.75  from Orchard Toys directly amongst a plethora of other toy shops online and on the high street.

I was sent this product for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.

Win an Orchard Toys Prize Bundle (Blogoversary Giveaway #5)

I'm incredibly proud of my long-standing relationship with Orchard Toys; the games and puzzles suit us well as a family, and I enjoy sharing the word about both the educational and fun aspects of the brilliant range. Orchard Toys sponsored me for Britmums 2013 (and I've got an exciting announcement coming up regarding this) and were more than happy to provide a bundle of prizes to help celebrate my three year anniversary!

The prize package consists of:

Orchard Toys competition

To be in with a chance of winning these wonderful prizes from Orchard Toys, fill in the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Orchard Toys: Christmas Surprises (Review)

christmas banner small

Orchard Toys have released another winning game which will be perfect to play to help build up the excitement in the run-up to Christmas. And the best thing is that there are two games in one box!

Orchard Toys: Christmas Surprises

The two games in Christmas Surprises use the same game boards and are of the simple dice and collect a counter style; easy and inclusive for all family members over the festive periods. The box includes four double-sided game boards, a set of 24 shaped coloured bauble pieces, a set of 24 shaped (and double-sided) present pieces, a coloured dice, and a shaped dice.

Christmas Surprises is aimed at children from 3-6 years, although I think this could be extended either side depending upon your child's ability level and enjoyment (although as it contains small parts it is technically not suitable for younger children, so they should play it under close supervision), and focuses in two parts on both colour and shape recognition.

Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises: 'Colour Matching Game'

Orchard Toys: 'Christmas Surprises' Coloured Baubles

Very simply in this game, the coloured 'baubles' are laid out in the central playing area face up, with a game board in front of each player (2-4 players recommended). Players take it in turns to roll the coloured dice and collect the corresponding coloured bauble, placing it on their game board. Not only is this good practise for matching the colours between the dice and the baubles, but in theory it's good practise between the baubles and the board.

And I say in theory because unfortunately this is where I need to point out the only slight criticism I have ever made of any Orchard Toys product. The blue on the dice is the same shade as on the bauble counter, but unfortunately on the Christmas tree it is more of a purple shade. And a similar problem arises with the purple; the shade on the game board and the bauble counter is identical, but it's a slightly darker shade on the dice. Essentially the purple on the dice is nearly the same shade as the blue on the game board.

It is a minor issue, and once I explained to The Boy we haven't had any problems at all. But it could be a little confusing for younger children, so something to ensure is explained properly when playing. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed playing this game as it is simple, quick and very attractively designed.

Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises: 'Shape Matching Game'

Orchard Toys: Christmas Surprises - Christmas Presents

The shape-matching game is a little more complicated than the colour-matching one, and therefore would be suitable for the older age in the range.

One the reverse of the game board is a picture of Father Christmas holding a sack with shaped spaces in it. The 24 shaped present counters are laid down on the central playing area with the picture side down and the wrapping paper side facing up. Players take it in turn to roll the shaped dice, identify the shape and select a shape counter to put on their board, each shape counter has a different 'present' on the back so it really is a surprise what Santa will have brought! The counters mustn't be peeked at but placed wrapping paper side up on the board. The winner is the first person to complete their board, and when all players have finished then the 'presents' can be turned over and revealed.

This is the aspect of the game that The Boy found most fun, we even had a little swapping of presents between contestants as he preferred the remote controlled car to the pull-along duck, and Mr. TBaM was most amused to see there was even a Shopping List game as one of the presents. Nice touch Orchard Toys!

The shape-matching game was far more fun to play with The Boy, it has a little more challenge to it than the colour-matching game and the whole concept of finding out the presents from Father Christmas was very enticing. We extended the game by referring to the diamond as a rhombus, and the rectangle as an oblong (did you know that 'rectangle' is the shape family name, and oblong is the specific shape? And that also a square is a rectangle? Trust me, I'm a teacher!)

The educational guide suggests the games develop:

  • social and observational skills
  • memory dexterity
  • and link with Early Learning Goals.

I'd add to this:

  • mathematical skills (colour recognition is first stage pre-school maths)
  • language development (oracy through discussion of the presents)
  • and it can also lead to Religious development (discussion of the ways different faiths celebrate major festivals, what is Christmas?)

Both of these games were so fun and simple to play with that they are the new favourite in our house at the moment. When I ask The Boy which he prefers he points to both. I try again and ask him to choose which he would play if he could only play one; he points to one first and then the other straight after. To him they are just as fun as each other, and surely that's the point of any educational game? If the child isn't enjoying them, then they aren't gaining anything from it.

Orchard Toys: Christmas Surprises is available exclusively through Tesco (not the OT site) for the price of £9.50. Excellent value for two games in one! (And don't forget to collect clubcard points on it too!)

I was sent this product for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.

Orchard Toys: Pigs In Pants (Review & Giveaway)

We've been sent one of the new Orchard Toys games to review,  Pigs In Pants. It is one of those fabulous games that really appeals to children, mostly because they get to shout things like "I'm going to pinch your pants!" or "I'm going to nick your knickers!"

Pigs In Pants 1

Using a similar set up to 'Where's My Cupcake?', players have a board each in the shape of a cute pig who looks rather abashed at having no pants on, and the object of the game is to collect the most pants on your pig board by matching them in your hand with the other cards in play.

Orchard Toys: Pigs In Pants

  • Each player (2-4 players) starts with a pig board and they are then dealt two of the cards each, which they hold in their hands and can see.
  • Four pant cards are placed face up in a line in the centre and the remaining cards are placed face down in a pile next to them.
  • The youngest player starts by checking to see if they can match a card in their hand to one of four in the line. If they can, or if it matches one on another player's board, they collect those cards and place them on their pig board along with the matching pants card from their hand. (When collecting from another player though, the whole pile is taken from the pig board and the 'taker' must shout, "I'm going to pinch your pants!")
  • If the cards in their hand don't match any in play, then they shout, "No knickers!" and place that card in the line-up of four.

Orchard Toys: Pigs In Pants

  • At the end of their turn, players must make their hand back up to two cards each time by taking from the face-down pile.
  • The game ends when no-one is able to match any further cards, and the winner is the person with the most pants on their pig board.

The Boy absolutely loved this game, I'm sure it was the element of playing with pants and shouting about knickers which made him chuckle the most, but it is a really fun game to play with the lead position switching between players right until the very end! It's also an excellent game for promoting observational and matching skills, as identified in Orchard Toys Educational Guide, along with strategic thinking.

Pigs In Pants is available to buy from all good toy shops and directly from Orchard Toys online, with a RRP of £7.50.

However, the wonderful folk at Orchard Toys are giving away one to one lucky reader of TheBoyandMe. Simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below for the chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was sent this product for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.

Orchard Toys: Yo Ho Ho (Review & Giveaway)

Pirates seem to be a little bit of a fascination for The Boy at the moment, and so I was pleased to receive this pirate memory game from Orchard Toys to try out with him.

Orchard Toys: Yo Ho Ho

Yo Ho Ho is a very simple and traditional memory game, along the lines of 'pairs', with players turning over two face-down cards at a time to try and match a 'pair'. Designed for 2-4 players and for children aged 4-8 years, but I'd say that children younger than four could play it easily, and likewise older children. The added twist to the game which can be included for older players is that if a pirate flag is turned over, then that player can do a dastardly deed and pilfer the cards from another player's treasure pile.

At present we haven't added this rule into the game, but we do have great fun playing it as a simple pairs game. There are actually four cards of each design, which helps increase the chances of younger children finding a pair. The illustrations are trademark Orchard Toys; bright and colourful, fun characterisations of familiar figures.

Orchard Toys: Yo Ho Ho

The educational guide states that Yo Ho Ho has been designed to:

  • encourage observation, memory and language skills
  • develop personal and social skills
  • link with Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum Key Stage 1

In addition to the above, I'd say it is also great for:

  • oracy – it encourages discussion, and can even lead to storytelling if they are used in the same way that story stones are;
  • drama – role play either with small world toys or with costumes and re-enacting the scene;
  • geography – looking at pirate maps as an extension activity.

Yo Ho Ho is available to buy from Orchard Toys directly for £7.50. A fantastic, traditional and quick game for all ages.

However, the very lovely folk there are offering a copy of this game to one reader of TheBoyandMe. Simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below to be in with a chance of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was sent this product for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.

Orchard Toys: Who's In Space? (Review & Giveaway)

'Who's In Space?' is without a doubt one of my favourite Orchard Toys products produced in the last year or so. And I am a big fan and we have a lot of their games and puzzles, so that statement is not made lightly.

The 25 piece jigsaw puzzle is aimed at children aged 3+, and depicts a scene of three astronauts (mixed gender and race, as with all Orchard Toys illustrations) on the moon completing some research. In the background are five of the planets in our solar system, the International Space Station, a comet, and a small green alien in a purple spaceship. Because after all this is a puzzle for children!

[Read more…]

My Britmums Live! Sponsor: Orchard Toys

Today I'll be attending the Britmums Live! blogging conference in London, very kindly sponsored by Orchard Toys.

For those who regularly read my blog, or for those who occasionally saunter over here, you'll have noticed that I review a lot of puzzles and games from Orchard Toys. And every single one of those reviews is glowing, for three reasons:

  • they're bright and colourful, fun and engaging;
  • there is always an educational aspect which doesn't overshadow the fun factor;
  • The Boy loves them.

Now when I say I have a lot of them; I'm not actually joking:


This collection has been built up over several years from review products, those scavenged at nearly new sales, and bought for The Boy's birthday and Christmas presents. We play one a day at least and The Boy alternates between them as to which his favourite is; at the moment it's 'What's Rubbish?', last week it was 'Baa Baa', and we're taking 'Shopping List' with us this weekend to Britmums Live! Even we have favourites; mine is 'Round and Round' and Mr. TBaM is 'What a Performance'.

My 'love affair' with Orchard Toys started many years ago, long before I had The Boy. I was visiting an ex-colleague and her two year old daughter who wanted me to play a game with her which involved rolling a dice to collect up different ingredients to make an ice-cream sundae. That was an Orchard Toys game (long since retired) and I made a mental note of the company for use with my own child. Little did I realised I'd be trying to collect every game they make, ten years later!

So who are Orchard Toys?

Orchard Toys are a British company located in Norfolk with a purpose built factory and office complex; meaning a low-carbon foot print and employment stays within the country. In addition, they also create new products from their own ideas using its team of in-house designers. Manufacture of components is subcontracted to a UK supplier base, some of whom have supplied the company throughout its history. They are also made from 75% recycled materials.

A leading manufacturer of educational puzzles and games for children aged between 18 months and 10 years, Orchard Toys has a reputation for excellence of design, manufacture and service. I'd be very surprised if most homes don't have at least one of their games or puzzles! Established in 1971 by Keith Harvey (who remains a director today), the company has stayed in the family passing down to the next generation.

Orchard Toys award-winning products are all designed with the ethos of “learning made fun” and combine bright, innovative design, durability and quality with sound educational principles. They completely support the Foundation Phase ethos of learning through play, and that's why as a teacher as well as a mum, I know how much they benefit The Boy's learning.

This is why I'm so very proud to be sponsored by Orchard Toys to attend Britmums Live!

If you could spare two minutes to nip over to the Loved By Parents awards site, Orchard Toys have been shortlisted in the Best Activity Toy 3-6 yrs category and the Best Board Game or Jigsaw category for the fabulous 'Old Macdonald Lotto' and they'd love a vote from you please!

Orchard Toys: "Baa Baa" (Review & Giveaway)

I'm very fortunate that I have a fabulous sponsor for Britmums Live! in Orchard Toys, and as a result we've had a chance to review some of their amazing games and puzzles this year. Their latest game, entitled 'Baa Baa', is another excellent resource, and as always is incredibly fun.

Orchard Toys Baa Baa

[Read more…]

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