The days are getting shorter and colder and with the holidays just around the corner I've been looking for educational toys and games that my children can play with together. I've found a couple of gems! Our number one favourite right now is this giant road. It is versatile and toddler friendly! Perfect for my puzzle lovers.
All of these games can be adapted to how your child or toddler like to play them. So we can use a lotto game as a simple matching game. We often don't take turns and it's not competitive. We can also store and present these games in a Montessori way, it's easy to pop the pieces into a basket or tray and keep on the child's shelves.
This is worth it's weight in gold! If you have a child who looovvves posting, this is for you. I thought my toddler was out of the posting stage but he could do this for hours.
There are four coloured 3D post boxes and the child can post the coloured letters in the matching coloured post box. We use it single player but you could take turns. It encourages colour matching and recognition skills and helps to develop hand-eye coordination. An older child can also begin to read the addresses or recognise numbers on the letters. We've used it for language development too.
Ages: 2 years+. (I suggest it may be suitable from 18 months+).
This is another posting game that we love! It is a Noah's Ark style matching game. The child needs to match two animals and then 'post' them into the ark. Again we use it single player but could be used by multiple children. It could also be used as a memory game if you turn the animals face down. This is good for language development in younger children as there are a few unfamiliar animals (armadillo, chameleon). The ark comes fully assembled.
Ages: 2 to 4 years.
This is a fabulous matching game. It's a lotto game with a farm yard theme. We have a couple of other animal lotto games but this one is used more because of the farm scenes. My kids love make the animals sounds and acting like the animals. Each child takes a board and fills their board with the corresponding tiles. This is good for my toddler as the board has the images below the scene, so it's easy to match. This is also easy to play with one player, the child simply uses it as a matching game, you can introduce lots of language too, about the animals and the farm yard and you can incorporate counting too, "how many sheep are in the field", "how many pigs can you see?".
All of the Orchard brand games we have are great quality, the cardboard is sturdy, the colours are amazing and they are all affordable. They make great gifts for friends and family.
Ages: 2 to 6 years.
This is a simplified variation of the classic "Orchard" game adapted to suit players ages 2years+. This is one game we really need two to three players to make it more fun. It is cooperative so you work as a team. You need to roll the dice (our toddler's first dice game!) and pick the fruit from the tree (that are pictured on the dice) before the ravenous raven reaches the orchard. If the players succeed in harvesting all the fruit before the raven reaches the orchard, they win together! If the raven gets there first, they lose together against the quick, ravenous raven.
This cooperative game is designed to foster social skills and understanding of game rules, develop colour recognition skills and teach counting. My toddler can now count to five, so this is really useful practice, we say "how many red apples left", "how many pieces of fruit are in the basket".
Ages: 2 years+.
I also like the Lunchbox Game. It's another matching/lotto style of game. The age guide suggests from three years, and I would agree with this. It's a fantastic game but my two year old isn't ready for it. I love the focus on healthy food choices.
I haven't been able to find it in the UK but I love the look of Acorn Soup, let me know if you've tried it and if it's worth ordering from overseas. If you have a 3 to 4 year old+ also have a look at Hoot Owl Hoot it's one of our family favourites.
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