Reviewed by Sian Manning
These games are always a winner in my house, their bright attractive boxes, playing pieces and boards really attract little people to want to learn through play. Orchard toys is a brand started over 40 years ago and they are still going strong, they are based in Wymondham in Norfolk and all of the games and puzzles are made in the UK and shipped all over the world, to spread the joy of learning through play with a very wide audience.
This game is aimed at 5-8 year olds and 2-4 players, continuing the educational theme of their games and puzzles this one is to practice addition and subtraction in a fun prehistoric based game.
Inside the box you get the game board, 30 cards, a bone number line, 4 cave people playing pieces with stands, 4 two piece mammoths, a dice, feather card, magic torch and the instruction leaflet.
The game itself is super easy to set up – although for your first play do allow an extra 10 minutes to pop all of the pieces out, get the game set up and read through the instructions.
The game is really easy to get set up and my children can do this on their own, the board goes together like a little puzzle, mammoths need their legs attached and cave people need their stands and you are good to go.
The really nice thing about this game is that it is educational, it is helping to cement in the key principles of addition and subtraction, but it is also fun and because of that the little people don’t realise they are still learning and doing ‘work’. There are 2 levels of difficulty to this game as well so the older children can easily play with the younger and be equally as challenged. The use of the bone counting card is really helpful and exactly as they learn in school, so having something they know and recognise as part of maths and as a parent knowing you are teaching them correctly means you are more than happy for them to play and learn. The addition of the torch to read the answers also adds a little bit extra into the game, it enables them to check their answers and be confident in reading and understanding numbers. The feather to tickle the trunk (don’t forget to say atchoo) also adds a some fun, there is no guarantee that just because it looks like you are about to win that you are going to, it can all change in a matter of seconds and a tickle of a trunk.
The game is really simple to play and can be made longer or shorter depending on what time you have available, you just deal out more or less stone cards to each player. The game is a simple roll the dice and take your turn, moving along the spaces, you get to add, subtract and tickle each others trunks, the winner is the person who has all of their stones on the mammoths trunk and manages to get back to the cave.
This game is aimed at 5-7 year olds and 2-4 players, continuing the educational theme of their games and puzzles this one is to practice addition, subtraction and this time simple multiplication too (key stage 1 maths) in a fun magic theme, making magic potions as you go.
Inside this box you get, 4 wizard game boards, 30 spell ingredient cards, 30 magical mathematic sum cards and the all important instruction book.
This game is really simple to set up (again though before your first game, do make sure you have a spare 10 minutes to pop all of the playing cards out) after that you all take a wizard, all have 6 ingredient cards and the sum cards go into the middle where everyone can reach them.
This game although rated 5-7 I would say is a little trickier for the younger players as there isn’t a number line to help with the adding and subtraction, therefore you either need to be on hand to give a few little clues or having an abacus or counting aide nearby would be helpful.
The game play is simple and everyone takes their turn to solve a maths question before checking their answer using magic! My children actually believe this is magic which is just the cutest thing to watch. You also get the chance to answer each others questions and shout abracadabra, always a fun thing to do. The winner is the first person to fill up their potion card by getting the answers to the sums correct and placing their gruesome potion contents into the 6 spaces. The favourites in our house are the wormy cupcake and of course the poo!
These games come in nice sturdy boxes with carry handles, the pieces are all strong and tough and the games are made to last, they are also incredibly reasonably priced.
These games are really helping with our current situation, the home learning and place we now find ourselves in is really hard, as a single parent family with 3 children aged between 8 and 4, getting all 3 of them to do some work, all needing different help with different things is really stressful, to find something we can all do together is brilliant, they are all learning or cementing in what has already been learnt, they are all happy and having fun and they all want to play again. For anyone home schooling either by choice or not, these are a perfect addition (no pun intended), they really do make maths a little bit more accessible to everyone and definitely much more fun.
RRP: £13.25 each