REVIEW: Money Match Cafe by Orchard Toys

With the popularity of contactless cards and phone payments in our digital age, it’s vital that children have practical, hands-on experience of handling money.

Playing money games with parents, teachers and older siblings/friends is a good way to learn good financial habits, along with all the other benefits playing games have to offer. Money games are excellent teaching tools which, among other benefits, show children what money is, help them recognise coinage, how it is used and its values. Playing these types of games with children makes learning fun and encourages asking questions about money. Teaching children about money needs, of course, to be translated into real life, so build on the skills developed by taking your children shopping and encouraging them to choose suitable items, price them and even compare value.

It’s an on-going process which can be constantly developed. Of course, there are the many other benefits of playing games too, including social skills, verbal communication, sharing, observation, taking turns and enjoying interacting with others. Orchard Toys produce a fantastic range of games to support all these objectives. “Orchard Toys products are made in Britain from durable, recycled board and have a wipe-clean finish, meaning they will stand the test of time against constant playing, wear and tear and messy hands! Our range is developed, designed and illustrated by our talented in-house team with education in mind. Working in conjunction with teachers, nursery professionals and children themselves, we ensure that every product maintains the perfect balance between educational benefits and play value…making learning fun!”

We live in a society which increasingly makes less use of cash, but it’s still essential for children to experience handling money – and games are a great way to do this. Money Match Cafe is the perfect educational game for 5-8 year olds, developing skills in addition and money handling…with lots of imaginative play added into the mix. Ideally, to enjoy the game to its best, children will already have some knowledge of money.

There are two different levels of play, which extends the value of the game, allowing different ages to enjoy it together. The game is played by creating a cafe scene, for which children use their own teddies, dolls and other toys. Then it’s time to use their addition skills to add up the coins to match the price of a meal and their roleplay skills to ensure they serve the meal to the right customer. The player who serves all his or her meals first (and correctly, of course) wins!

I love the way the game extends to include children’s other toys – it really does add so much value to the game. It also encourages collaborative play – I can see plenty of ways to use the game in a class setting. They might find some clothes for themselves in the dressing up box too – even just an apron or head covering will add enjoyment and realism. The box includes four 3D tables, a spinner, a till board, a tray board to deliver the meals, 16 meal/beverage/snack cards (attractively illustrated) and 32 money cards (16 easy cards, 16 hard cards). Children can be encouraged to use the game alongside their collections of play food to extend the play value and learning opportunities. The combination of pretend play and a fun game is a real winner and the educational benefits are many. Best of all, children really enjoy it! Buy from Orchard Toys.

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