For kids who are fans of Planes will like playing the classic matching game of concentration. Put the cards face down and take turns turning over two to find a pair of matching planes. True, it may be an old game, but an important one for building memory skills. These cards with distinctive bright backgrounds make the task somewhat easier. 3 & up
Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
For five-year old dog lovers, Diggity Dogs is an ideal way to sharpen visual and social skills. Players each get a dog card at the start of the game that indicates three things this dog needs. Each player then takes two "go fish" style cards that show objects the various dogs need, such as a bone, ball, bed, a dish, etc. Players take turns collecting cards from the slush pile or barking and asking one of the other players if he has a needed card. When a player get all three objects pictured on her dog card she gets to adopt the dog and collect another dog. The player with the most dogs at the end of the game is the winner. A fun matching game for 2-4 players. For cat lovers, take a look at Kitten Caboodle, same idea but with kittens.
Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Imagine a game that combines aspects of Battleship (but you're looking for charms), Memory (you're supposed to remember where characters are located) and a wild card (pure guessing to win a charm). The actual set up of the game is quite clever. There is the Royal Prep Academy Building with lots of windows that are covered with moving shutters. One player puts on a plastic charm bracelet and has to try to collect charms by guessing where the other player has placed them behind the shutters. Much more fun to be Sofia the First and wear the bracelet than being the "hidder." The idea is that you take turns. We have a feeling that a lot of parents will end up playing hidder more often, although our 4 year old tester equally enjoyed being the hidder! Marked 3 & up, but will be enjoyed more by 4-6 crowd.
Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
24 matching pairs of animal face cards are fun to take along in their neat little box with a sliding tray. Unlike their wildlife cards, these dressed-up critters look like they stepped out of a storybook. Play this as a concentration game with 2 or more players or it can be played solo. 5 & up.
Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
A matching game with a twist, or should we say with a log where skunks may hide! Players try to be the first to fill a bingo card. On your turn you spin and take as many playing cards as the spinner says. You put each card into the plastic log, through a narrow slot. As cards are added, cards come out the other end of the log. Player can place the expelled cards on their playing board. If the space with the matching animal is filled, the card can be taken by another player. But watch out! If a skunk card is pushed out of the log all the other cards go back into the playing pile. This is a matching game for preschoolers although playing each round can take quite a long time. 3 & up.
Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013.
There are so many concentration style matching games and many of them have beautiful art work. This game is one of the winning choices. Bob Barber, an illustrator did this handsome set with pen, ink, watercolors, cut and torn paper and his computer. The result is a charming collection and each card is labeled with the names of the 36 animals. Though the animals are not realistically drawn they are easy to identify and good for developing language as well as matching skills.
Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2011.
Thanks to the lively circus illustrations by famed illustrator, Saxton Freymann, the old game of concentration is given a fresh new look. Players turn over two of the colorful cards trying to find a matching pair. The winner is the one with the most matches. But these are no ordinary cards. Use them for encouraging players to talk about what is happening in the pictures. Doing that will build language skills, as well as encouraging beginners to "read" the small details in each picture. Alternative play: Have kids take turns drawing a card and adding a piece of a story about a pretend visit to the circus as seen in their cards. For more complicated challenges have them use a color word, a number word, and an action word in their descriptions. 5 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
There are several variations to this colorful set of cards with multiple images on each card. The fact is, there will always be at least one matching image on two cards, although the image may not be the same size. In game one, each player flips a card and first to spot the matching image on his and the other player's card gets to keep the cards. Game 2 is played with three stacks. One for the table, one for each player. Player who is the 1st to see a match between his card and the one on the table, puts his card on top and play continues. The object is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. There are two more game variations. A good take-along game. Calls for visual discrimination and skimming quickly to spot the match. 6 & up.
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Deal the cards and place on card in the Barnyard flipper. First player hits the flipper and that reveals half an animal. Players look at their cards. One player will have the other half of the animal and place it on the barn. Now, that player flips the card and reveals the next animal half. Play continues until one player uses up all of his cards. This can be played by 2-6 players. The name of the animal is printed on both halves for another form of matching. But this is a game that can be played by pre-readers and helps them see part whole relationships as well as learning to take turns. It's fast enough so that players get lots of chances to win a round. Testers liked the action of the card flipper, although sometimes the cards need a little straightening. 4 & up.
Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.
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