Timeless Educational Fun from Orchard Toys

A little while ago  I was thrilled to be sent two Orchard Toy products to test and review. I have to take a minute to explain here that it is a toss-up between the kids and Roy and I for who is most excited when a new Orchard Toy product is released. As a parent I love the practicality of the toys (no floppy jigsaw pieces or easy to break parts here), the bright colours and the concepts which merge learning and fun.

The first I received was the newly released Post Box game.

Education and learning merged

I asked my 2yr old’s (quite frankly wonderful) childminder to test this game out with Taylor and her other charges and her feedback is as follows…

What a simple but very enjoyable game, it’s great that you can play 3 different games. Everything seems pretty strong and durable. We played all 3 games and Taylor enjoyed the simple pick up letter and the “post in right colour box” version best as well as then shouting the colours out. X liked having his own post box and trying to find correct letter. X also liked reading who the letters were going to as well. All in all a hit at my setting and I  would definitely recommend to others“.

What else can you say? Clearly another roaring success from Orchard Toys.

The second product we were sent to review (aren’t we lucky!) was the Big Police Car jigsaw.

Orchard Toys

This jigsaw is for children aged 3+ however Taylor, who is 2yrs and 3 months old enjoyed it and put 80% of it together himself (with a little help). He found the sturdy shaped pieces easy to handle and thoroughly enjoyed pointed out images of interest in the finished puzzle. He also enjoyed whizzing around the dining room for twenty minutes pretending to be a “Neee naaaaw police car!” at full volume 🙂

For me this is yet another quality puzzle. Kieran is nearly 7 now (so too grown up for a 3yr old’s jigsaw) yet still enjoyed helping his brother put it together.

I am yet to find an Orchard Toy item that hasn’t had the wow factor and been loved by all in my house. Perfect for your own family and to give as gifts, I choose Orchard Toys every time.

Learning Through Play – Featuring Special Agent Kieran

Kieran teaching his baby brother, Taylor, how to play "properly"!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through the Learning Through Play posts on the Tots100 site. It’s opened my eyes up to the huge amount of play-led learning opportunities around for us to take advantage of!

I am a huge advocate for learning through play. Kieran is now four and a half years old, he is so young – yet knows so much (he really does – four going on forty!). He is a very hands on boy and everything is an opportunity for learning,

  • cookery (weighing, measuring, following a recipe),
  • craft (practical skills, motor skills, colour and shapes etc)
  • imaginative play (social skills, comprehension),
  • the computer for IT skills,
  • board games (for learning, sharing and more),
  • building toys (for motor skills, building on imagination)

– there is so much scope using everyday objects and toys and turning these into instruments of learning in fun & imaginative ways.

For us a recent walk out where we were “Special Agent Kieran & Palm-pilot Mummy” (Damn TV!) provided a perfect opportunity for learning (and fun!).

Our town has a series of boards in key areas pointing out different features and what they are/were for ie a wooden castle site, a bull-ring in the market place, a mill. Lesson - History.
Exploring, looking for different birds, trees and flowers - nature studies/observation
A trip to the library, libraries aren't all "shhh!" nowadays but great fun, there is organised storytimes, bean bags and cushions and even a few toys in the kid's section. We always choose story books, a learning book (ie this week was "Planet Earth" and a project book - this week was craft, next week - Kieran wants a sewing/type book
Special Agent Kieran is fascinated by signs - we had a sign hunt, talking about what the signs meant and looking for really unusual ones.
Loads of local attractions to visit! We rounded our day out with a trip to the Herriot Centre, lots of interactive fun and learning!
Home for a family game of Pop To The Shops, (Orchard Toys). Great for learning about money etc, and we have also learned that we are not sure Daddy understands the role of banker. Hmm

So you see, for us learning through play makes up our days, we all have great fun and learn so much and often don’t even realise it. Getting the creative juices flowing, building, making, exploring and investigating is the only way to go!

How do your little ones learn through play? I’d love to hear, and the more ideas, the more fun!

**For more great posts on Learning Through Play – get yourself over to the Tots 100 March Blog – Hop! **

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