Reviewed by Debbie Talbot
My 7-year-old twins are like sponges. They love learning new things and ask so many questions these days on all sorts of subjects. One of my twins is showing a big interest in anything STEM related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), so when we were offered the OjO Which Way? Coding Board Game to review we jumped at the opportunity.
Coding is a now a skill that all children learn in school. Computing programming and coding have been taught in schools since 2014 at all levels (5-16 years), with the UK the first country in the world to make it a compulsory subject. You can read more about the skills and benefits of coding on OjO’s blog here.
On arrival, the box looks great, making it very clear as to what is in the box and what the game is about. As well as being informative it looks appealing to young children, especially as it features Messy from the CBeebies show Messy Goes to OKIDO. The box tells you that the Which Way? Game is a coding board game for early years. As a parent, I am a fan of any game which helps with my children’s development. This game has been designed to help with cognitive thinking, problem solving, STEM learning and is suitable for ages 4-8. At 7 years old my twins fit perfectly within the suitable age range. The little blue character (Messy) on the front of the game’s box looks so cheeky and fun too, so this adds the overall appeal of the game and children will recognise it from CBeebies. We could not wait to get started.
The contents of the box are as follows:
- Magnetic gameboard
- 16 magnetic tiles of various designs (straights, curses, bends, crossroads)
- A magic car – (this was my favourite item)
- A mission wheel
- A screwdriver
- 4 LR44 batteries (plus 4 replacement batteries)
The idea of the game is help Messy visit all his friends all across the map by planning the fastest route to get to them, constructing the route on the map (game board) and then using the magic car to see it the routes work.
I can find instructions for games daunting but I need not have worried, they were very straightforward and easy enough for us all to understand. Here are the steps we took to play the game:
- Step 1 – we spun the wheel and picked our mission.
- Step 2 – we planned the fastest route which would get us to our destination.
- Step 3 – we then carefully constructed the right route by placing the magnetic tiles onto the magnetic gameboard. This is the coding part of the task.
- Step 4 – we used the magic car to scan the path (follows the black lines on the tiles). The winner was the person who reached all the destinations.
The box informed me of the following benefits of coding:
- It improves performance in maths, writing, creativity and confidence.
- Soft skills in focus, resilience and communication are built.
- This then paves the path to future empowerment, life skills and career preparation.
I think that the above benefits are all important life skills. This game had my twins gripped from start to finish. The anticipation of waiting to see if the car reached the destination/s was so exciting, and then trying to think about and solve the problem if it wasn’t quite right. Learning the fundamentals of programming is so important for any child and this game teaches this skill without your child even knowing that they are learning. We played this game for ages which is the biggest testament to what a fantastic product it is. I will definitely be looking out for more games from OjO.
This week (25 November 2019 to 1 December 2019) OjO are promoting their new games on Amazon with a special offer of 20% off. For more information click here.
I give this product a well-deserved rating of 5/5. It’s good value at £24.99, even without the discount mentioned above but even better value with it. It is a fantastic educational and fun game which would be suitable as a Christmas gift idea for a child in your life.
OjO also have a Kickstarter campaign running for their latest games, for more information visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/ojo/educational-board-games-by-ojo