One thing that we always pack when we’re setting off on a road trip, is a new game or two, to keep the children happy in those quieter moments. We’ll be driving off to France for three weeks over the summer holidays, so we were delighted when Learning Resources invited us to try out some of their outdoor games.
We’ve tried out quite a few Learning Resources playthings over the years, and I’ve always been impressed by how they help children learn without even realising it. I’ve put some links to my other reviews at the bottom of this post, if you’d like to see what we thought of the other items.
Grill-and-Go Camp Stove
The Grill-and-Go Camp Stove is a handy piece of kit for helping along imaginative play. A forest-green carry case converts into a cooking stove, with two hobs that light up and make noises (which were a bit like a cross between a bubbling kettle and a crackling campfire). The stove came with a frying pan, kettle, two plates and cups and a few utensils. There’s no toy food, so it’s worth getting hold of some if you want to make the experience more authentic. This toy stove will be good for keeping little ones occupied while dinner is made on the real camp stove.
Age range: 3-7 years
Alpha Catch Phonics Game
This was our favourite of the three outdoor games. The Alpha Catch Phonics Game is a simple set of four felt baseball mitts, with 26 soft balls that have a capital and regular version of each letter of the alphabet on them. The instruction manual suggests different ways to play depending on the age and skill level of the child. Older children, for instance, could throw balls to each other to spell out words. With my four year old daughter and six year old son, I started off by throwing a ball to my daughter, who had to say what the phonic sound of its letter was. She then threw it to my son, who had to say a word with that letter in the middle. My daughter then progressed onto naming words that began with the letters on the balls.
All the throwing and catching inolved in this game kept us on our toes, and made it more of a giggle than a regular phonics game. Because the balls have velcro on them, they’re pretty easy to catch in the mitts, but it’s still a good way to practice ball skills.
Make a Splash 120 Maths Floor Mat Game
We’re still working our way through the Make a Splash 120 Maths Floor Mat Game. It comes with a large set of suggestions for different games, and the first couple we tried had my son fully engaged.
The mat itself is a fun, sea-themed plastic sheet which would work well on a beach or by the poolside. It comes with three inflatable dice, and counters for the different games. In one, for instance, you roll a die for the tens (eg 8), another for the units (eg 6). You place a counter on the number (86), and then roll the orange die, to find out whether you need to add or subtract. If, say, you throw a -10, you have to place a counter on the correct number (76, in this case). This is only one example of the many maths games you could play, some of which are easier, and some more difficult.
Learning Resources toys and games are a tiny bit more expensive than some others on the market, but you get good value for money. They are durable, and cleverly pitched so that you can bring them out again and again. We still play with all the previous items we’ve been sent:
We were sent Learning Resources outdoor games for the purpose of this post. All views are my own.