Working with children, I come across many different toys and we put them out in front of many different children and of different ages. I would have to say that this is one of the most versatile toys I (sorry, they) have enjoyed!
Whilst the toy is for ages 3+, as soon as your little one is trustworthy with the pieces (we had them out under supervision with our 12 month old), they will provide hours of entertainment. And thus, there are many different ways you can play with the game! (Oh and the appeal of them coming out of an egg carton makes them even more enticing!).
Memory – Just like the traditional ‘memory’ game, you hide each animal half under a haystack. Kids take turns to uncover two haystacks to see if they have a match and then push the two halves together. For the young ones, you can start with just two animals (four halves) and build into using all ten of the animals. Good for turn-taking, matching, learning same/different. Of course, this might just turn into their own ‘rules’ which is fine too 🙂
The mismatches – It won’t be long before the kids are making crazy animals. How easily can they come up with their names – the moo-meow, the neigh-oink.. You can practice how these neo-animals might walk, eat or talk!
Line up please!
Lining up – it’s like these animals are just begging to be lined up! This is a good one to ‘act out’ lining up time at daycare or school. Here, rabbit is the ‘teacher’ calling out ‘line up everyone!’ and the cow is ‘pushing in’. It is a good non-invasive way to talk to your child about how a line ‘works’, where to go and even what you can do in a line (eg. talk to the person in front or behind, listen to the teacher).
Nothing!! – this game evolved with Master 3 and 1 turning over haystacks and naming what was under each. They were turning them over so quickly, I started turning haystacks over with nothing underneath them, just to keep up. So then the game was trying to find ones with ‘nothing’ underneath. Master 1 now knows the word ‘nothing!’ (well in this context at least), just from this game!
And of course, there is the ‘keep your eye on it’ trick. Show your child which haystack (of three), you are putting an animal under. Move the haystacks around slowly and see if your child can point to which one the animal will be under!
Pros for ‘Farm 3D memory match-up’
- improves fine motor skills – having to use their fingers to push the halves together and having races to pick up haystacks/hide animals underneath
- good for language – talking about the different animals’ characteristics or use the animals as props for songs – for example, ‘Old MacDonald’, have your child explain the rules to someone else, get your little little one to do actions with them – for example, cow sleep, pig run, cat eat
- work on social skills – turn taking and dealing with winning/losing, using the animals for role play – for example, lining up at daycare, asking to join in play or add them to another toy like a toy bus or farm house
Cons for ‘Farm 3D memory match-up’
- the name is a mouthful! It’s easier to pick something like ‘animal memory’ or ‘the haystacks’
- it’s more expensive than other toys (but yet one of those ones that pays itself back over and over). $23.28 currently on eBay is the cheapest I can find
- rare as hen’s teeth!
- it used to come in a plastic egg carton but now is in a more life-like carton (nice but certainly wears much quicker)
- the animal halves sometimes became loose after a lot of wear (this happened to the one at my work and it had PLENTY of use)
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