Are you looking for some games to play that are fun and educational? Orchard games are fantastic for the home environment. If your child is learning their letters, colours or learning how to count there is a game for them! While I don't use these games to teach a concept they are a really good way to reinforce learning or to practice what the child may have learnt at school. Here are a few Orchard games we like:
Farmyard Heads and Tails (Australia) - Visual discrimination, animal names, and body parts, matching. Suitable from 18 months.
All of the Orchard game boards and packaging are made from 100% recycled and recyclable products. Our speech pathologist plays a different game with the boys each week during their therapy sessions and she has often brought along an Orchard game. I noticed that Carrie has Bus Stop and Shopping List on her games shelves! Nicole also has Shopping List on her list of games for toddlers.
Lately, we have been enjoying the Bus Stop Game. The Bus Stop Game has lots of counting, addition, and subtraction. Each player starts at the Bus Station with an empty bus. The players take turns rolling the dice. Each player moves their bus the number of places on the dice, then they spin the counter. If they land on a '+' the number of passengers shown on the spinner get on the bus. If it is a '-' the number of passengers shown on the spinner get off the bus. So the child is adding and subtracting passengers from their bus. When the buses get around the board and back to the Bus Station, the bus with the greatest number of passengers on board wins. There are lots of different passengers that get on and off the bus and we often enjoy taking about who they are or where they might be going. It provides the opportunity for some discussion on community, culture and neighborhood activities.
We haven't used this game to teach Otis addition and subtraction but to provide the opportunity for the recall of simple sums, for him to know the answer without counting. The more we play the quicker Otis can provide the answer. If he has three people on his bus and three more get on, he will have six people on his bus. He has ten people on the bus and two people get off, he has eight people on his bus. This game is totally suitable for younger children who are learning to count and/or just starting with addition and subtraction. It doesn't feel like maths or work, it just feels like we are having fun and playing together!!
Please feel free to share your favourite Orchard game!