It is hard to go wrong with an Orchard Toys board game - they are firm favourites in our house. Orchard Toys wanted to get Lara and Holly into the magical halloween mood by sending us their Magic Cauldron game - a board and counter game packed with spooky spell ingredients and yet which tests their maths skills at the same time!
The Magic Cauldron is suitable for 2-4 players and is recommended for children aged 5-8 years old. I think it is perfectly suited to Lara who is aged 6 and currently in Year 2 at school. Holly finds it fun, but very tricky and always needs our help but it is still a brilliant opportunity for us to help her learn about numbers, addition and subtraction.
Each player takes a cauldron-shaped board featuring a witch or a wizard. The aim of the game is to fill your cauldron with spooky ingredients to make a spell. Each ingredient corresponds to a number and you have to identify a sum which results in that number. Most of the sums are very simple addition or subtraction with numbers upto 10 and it is a brilliant exercise for Lara to remember her number bonds. There are also a handful of very first multiplications and some additions which require three numbers.
From eyeballs to stinky cheese, and bats to poison... each ingredient requires your child to search for a new sum. Holly uses it as a chance for her to recognise her numbers upto 10. We play with the girls and look to Lara to confirm that we have chosen the right sum to match the number but there is also another magical way that you can check that you have the right result... the ghost.
Each maths puzzle has a ghost on the back. Rub the ghost very quickly with a warm finger to reveal the answer to the sum so that you can check it is correct. The girls both find this hard to do and will always ask us to do it - it does require a fairly vigorous rub!
We have found The Magic Cauldron game to be a big test of concentration and observation for both girls. Lara is more than capable of the sums but with them all laid out in front of you, it does take a lot of concentration to spot the one you want. Despite this, the girls have come back to the game several times and I'm sure we will play it a lot more in the run up to Halloween.
At £11.75 this board game from Orchard Toys is a bargain - lots of family time spent together having fun and (secretly) learning. Awesome stuff.