Christmas Game Ideas For Children from Orchard Toys

(AD Gifted) Orchard Toys have long been one of my favourite brands for introducing children to board games and jigsaws because they have a huge range of games suitable for children from 18 months and upwards. We have been sent a bundle of games for ages 3 to 6 which would make perfect Christmas presents and stocking fillers. 

a child doing colouring in from the Orchard Toys Christmas Eve box
The Christmas Eve Box from Orchard Toys has activities and game and a jigsaw

Christmas Present Ideas from Orchard Toys

Christmas Eve Box

Giving your children a gift on Christmas Eve is a lovely tradition which is growing in popularity. Whether it's just one thing or a basket with new PJs, hot chocolate, a game and reindeer food it gives you the opportunity to really get in to the Christmas spirit. For a Christmas Eve Box made simple Orchard Toys have brought back their offering updated for 2022. 

The Orchard Toys Christmas Eve Box contains a game, jigsaw and activity book which are all Christmas themed making it perfect for an advent or Christmas Eve gift. One of the lovely thing about these boxes is they are different one each year so you can buy them annually while your children are in the age range (3 to 6). This year the box contains: a Christmas Chefs Game, a 30 piece Santa’s Workshop Jigsaw and a notepad with colouring and simple activities in. As an extra bonus if you purchase one during November Orchard Toys will donate one to the NSPCC.

My only criticism is that every thing is jumbled together inside the box so once you have taken the game pieces out of the cardboard surround it takes longer to play when setting up. However it does save on space and packaging and you can always stick the jigsaw in a paper bag or envelope to keep them separate. The jigsaw pieces are all red on the back and the game has a blue back so if you turn them all upside down your children can easily help put them in piles.

The Activity Book is roughly A5 with 10 pages joined together at the top so they can be separated for multiple children to do activities at the same time. There are several colouring pages which all ages will enjoy as well as a word search and and pen control patterns for slightly older ones. At the back there is a recipe for Christmas biscuits.

The Santa’s Workshop Jigsaw Puzzle has 30 chunky pieces. When assembled it shows a busy colourful scene of Santa’s workshop. The Instruction leaflet gives suggestions of questions you can ask to encourage observation, play and counting once assembled.

The Christmas Chefs game sees up to 4 players race to make a Christmas themed dessert. You can be an elf making gingerbread, a snowman making mince pies, Mrs Claus making a trifle or Santa making a Yule Log.  The game starts in a similar way to lots of other Orchard Toys games including Crazy Chefs and the Shopping List games in that the players take turns to pick an upside down card. If it matches a picture on your chef board you put it in the matching space, if not you put it back down. 

On the next turn after your board is full you use the spinner and aim to collect a tray, once you have your tray you use the spinner to try and land on an elf to get the dessert to go on your tray. First one to have a finished dessert wins. The two stages of the game adds a greater element of chance to the matching game and can slow down players that zoom ahead making the game feel more balanced. 

Siblings completing an Orchard Toys Christmas jigsaw together
Santa's Workshop jigsaw puzzle in the Orchard Toys Christmas Eve Box

Mini Games

Orchard Toys do a great range of mini games which are the perfect size and price for a small present or stocking filler. Two of the mini games are Christmas ones: Snowman Snap and Pigs in Blankets.

Snowman Snap is a slightly simplified version of the snap card game you are probably familiar with. The cards are made from the normal thickness Orchard Toys cardboard which makes them easier for children to hold and slightly more resistant to destruction than a standard pack of cards. The other variation is you put the cards down into separate piles to make it easier to see when 2 of the same cards have been put down in a row (ie you don’t need to remember the card placed before like in normal snap).

Suitable for 2 to 4 players and children age 3 to 6.

Pigs In Blankets is a matching game where you place all the pig cards upside down on the table and take it in turns to find pairs by turning 2 over at a time. If you find a pair you get another go. A modification suggested for younger players is having less cards out. There are 16 pairs in total so for younger children try starting with 8 pairs.

Suitable for 2 to 4 players and age 3 to 7.

Playing pigs in blankets pairs game in Christmas Pyjamas
Pigs In Blankets is a Christmassy themed pairs game

Goose on the Loose!

Goose on the Loose! is a fun board game where each player is a farmer and gets a collection board with 6 coloured spaces. As you move around the board by rolling the dice you get to collect geese which match the colour of the space you land on. 

What we love about the game is that all the pieces are 3D, the dice is a larger than standard chunky size and you get to shout things out during the game. You have to shout “Honk” when you put the goose on your dot or “Goose on the loose!” when you return a goose. You can also steal geese from other people if you land on a multi-coloured space.

The winner is whoever has the most geese when all players have been round the whole path. It’s a game of luck and is good at teaching children that luck can be up and down as you can lose pieces as well as gain them.

Goose on the Loose! is suitable for 2 to 4 players and age 4 plus.

A family playing the Orchard Toys Goose on the Loose! board game
We love the Goose On The Loose! board game

Giraffes In Scarves

The Giraffes In Scarves game is suitable for up to 6 players which is great for slightly bigger families, recommended for ages 4 to 7.  At the start each player chooses a card with a giraffe body on. The giraffe are all pretty silly eg there is one where the giraffe is wearing wellies and another where it is doing ballet. During the game you roll the dice and get to pick up a card with a dot the same colour as you have rolled on the dice. It will either be a neck card (with between 0 and 3 scarfs on) or a head card. The aim is to get as many neck cards as possible before you get your matching head. 

Play continues until all player’s giraffes have a head. Whoever has the giraffe with the most scarfs wins.  

Shopping List

We have owned the Shopping List game for years and it has been well played with. Each player gets a shopping list and a basket or trolley. There are then various food cards which are placed upside down in the middle. Each player takes it in turn to pick a card and if the item is on their shopping list they get to put it in their basket. Whoever gets everything on their list first wins.

Recommend for 2 to 4 players age 3 to 7.

At The Museum Jigsaw Puzzle

Orchard Toys have jigsaw puzzles starting with just 2 pieces, but At The Museum is a new puzzle with 150 pieces so recommended for the older age range of 5 to 10. The finished jigsaw is 88 x 61cm and it includes a 16 page fact book. The museum seems to be a combination of the British Museum and Natural History Museum with a range of exhibition areas covering history, biology, space and dinosaurs. 

The puzzle pieces are large and the normal Orchard Toys chunky cardboard. I think my eldest would have found the style a little young for her at 10, but she would have probably still done the jigsaw and she would definitely have enjoyed reading the fact book. For my nearly 7 year old this is a really good jigsaw puzzle: the style makes it feel doable, but the number of pieces make it enough of a challenge so she can focus on it for a while. The facts are explained at a level she can understand and she can read the words with a little help. 

Disclosure: we received these games for review.

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