Counting Caterpillars is another new game for Autumn from Orchard Toys. Aimed at 2-4 players aged 3+ the gameplay is very simple and it's the act of putting the numbers into the right place on the caterpillar that is the tricky bit.
All players have their own 'board' which is a fairly large jigsaw with a 4 piece frame and 10 caterpillar parts which each have their own number.
For younger children the numbered caterpillar segments each have their own colour, which matches the caterpillars feet, so the numbers can be put into the right space even when they aren't in direct order yet.
Counting Caterpillars is an absolutely fabulous game for children who are learning numbers to ten, whether verbal or written. All children can learn to say the numbers from 1 to 10 in the same way as they can learn the words to Incy Wincy Spider, but it doesn't make them able to count and associate those words with items. Once they progress to reading and writing they need to learn to recognise all of the numbers, and this game is also brilliant for that.
Players take it in turns to take an upturned segment from the table and see if it matches a space on their caterpillar. If they already have that number/colour then they put it back on the table and their turn is over. If they need that piece for their caterpillar then they take it and put it into the right space.
At 3 1/2 and 5 my boys are the perfect age for this game. My younger one is not quite confident with counting to ten - although playing this has meant he's not far off now - and my older son is not quite confident with all of his written numbers - again, he's really getting there now that we've been playing Counting Caterpillars over half term.
Counting Caterpillars is not only brilliant for teaching and reinforcing numbers, it also has 10 different colours to learn. Because of the jigsaw layout it is brilliant for hand-eye co-ordination and problem-solving. It is a good game for teaching turn-taking and gameplay, and getting children used to winning and losing. Gameplay is quick, it only takes about 10 minutes for a game, so children don't wander off or lose interest. Because you have to remember where the segments you need are, it promotes memory skills and concentration.
Like all Orchard Toys games and puzzles this is bright and modern and designed and manufactured in the UK from thick, high quality 100% recycled board. It's built to be played with and will last to be passed on when your child has finished with it.
Counting Caterpillars currently retails at £9.50 and is available from all good toy stockists or online direct from the Orchard Toys website. My boys really enjoy it and get a real feeling of accomplishment when they finish their caterpillar whether they're first or not, everyone goes away happy. We give this one 5/5.
We were sent Counting Caterpillars by Orchard Toys for the review.