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September 10, 2012 / the speech monster

Orchard Toys: These are a few of my favorite games

I haven’t been posting as regularly as I had hoped to, but am still aiming for one post per week. This week, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite game manufacturers: Orchard Toys, out of the UK, which has consistently produced educational games and puzzles that I love and, more importantly, my therapy kids enjoy.

The graphics/illustrations and colors used in these games are captivating and delightful. Most of their games are also very simple to play and allow for variations. Best of all, they come in very compact size boxes, which, as a traveling Speechie, I appreciate as they fit nicely in my suitcase when rolling from one school to another.

Shopping List” is probably the most famous member of the Orchard Toys family. I have worked in various places here in Victoria and I think almost every place owns at least one copy of this game. Most Speechies I’ve encountered would have also owned a personal copy of this simple game.

How to play: 

Players each have a their own shopping list with 8 items to remember, then have to race against each other to fill their trolleys with the items on their list. So simple but the kids LOVE it and often ask to play it over and over again. There are also booster packs you can purchase with other kinds of shopping lists and items.

Variations of the game: 

Instead of a memory game, I use it as an ice breaker; with younger kids who I already know have memory difficulties, I simply let them use the list to fill their trolleys. To make it a game, I’ll often compete with them to see quickly they can find the pieces and how they play the game.

Alternatively, I have the kids place all the tiles face down on the table, and then try to search for items on their shopping list by turning the tiles up one at a time on their turn.

This game can also be adapted in different ways in therapy:

I also use it as a vocabulary building exercise, and have the kids pick 3-4 items in their trolley to name and describe the items using a visual prompting chart for describing.

Best of all, with kids with limited language or ASD, I also get the kids to use carrier phrases “I have a_____” or “I see a _____” whenever they pick a tile. This game is excellent when working on requests. So, I will hold the item tiles (I usually tell the kids “I’m the shopkeeper, tell me what you want.” And the kid will have to ask for the items that are on their list: “I want a_____ please.” Every good request will get them a tile to put in their trolley.

For articulation kids, I sometimes pair the pictures from the shopping list game with picture cards of sounds we are working on, and have them create a silly sentence so they get to practice their target sounds.

 My other Orchard Toy favorite is “Greedy Gorilla.” Where you have picture tiles that you “feed” to the gorilla. Upon doing so, the gorilla makes a “burp” sound which is guaranteed to trigger giggles even in the most stoic child.

How I use this game in therapy: 

Again, I love to use this game as part of my vocabulary therapy. The pictures are colorful. The game is about food, which is a category we will most likely all work on in vocabulary therapy. The kids with ASD – of all spectrums – seem to take to this toy and will always make great requests to get the tiles to ‘feed’ this greedy gorilla and hear him burp!

Other Orchard Toys games I recommend:

– Insey Winsey Spider

– Bus Stop

– Crazy Chefs

Some of the parents who have attended my therapy sessions with their kids have also purchased Orchard Toys games and report having lots of fun at home with them. Most of their toys range between about 15AUD – 40AUD, and can be found in lots of toy/game stores across Australia. However, Orchard Toys seems to be less readily available in the US than in Australia/the UK. I did a simple Google search and if you are in the USA, they can be purchased online through The Original Toy Company .

PS: I am in no way affiliated to Orchard Toys or any of the Orchard Toys distributors anywhere in the world. I am simply a fan hoping to get more peeps on board! 

Have you used Orchard Toys games or puzzles in therapy? Let me know what you think and what are your favorites!


Leave a Comment
  1. Janelle / Sep 12 2012 1:37 am

    I have a bunch of Orchard products & love them! I mainly use them for vocab or a reinforcement during speech practice. I love your idea for using it to work on requesting and basic sentence formulation!

    I live in Canada, & they are readily available at places that sell educational games (e.g., Scholar’s Choice).

    • the speech monster / Sep 13 2012 4:53 am

      Hi there! Thanks for your comment, and sharing where you might find them in Canada. I did remember seeing a few toy stores selling them in Vancouver!

  2. speechieLO / Sep 12 2012 11:47 am

    I’m sad that they no longer make the Washing Machine Game!
    It’s my go-to game for clothing vocabulary, adj-noun (clean/dirty + clothing item), answering where questions… parents/colleagues ask me if they can buy it, and I have to explain that they don’t make it anymore (and guard mine!).

    The Shopping List game is also useful for pronouns- give each shopping list to a doll/cut out picture, and you have “he needs a _____”, or “she has a ________” etc.
    I like to work on sorting the pictures- into categories, or by size, or shape, or…. (without the trolleys).
    The pictures can also be used for the game I know as “My Grandmother went to market”- where each player adds to the phrase “My Grandmother went to the market, and she got a ______, a __________, and a _________”, which can be useful for kids who need to practice remembering things.

    • the speech monster / Sep 13 2012 5:00 am

      What, they don’t make the Washing Machine Game anymore???!!! 😦 😦 😦 The clinic I used to work at had it and I loved it!!!
      Thanks for sharing how you use the other games. Love the sorting out pictures one – I have a couple of vocab groups that I could do this with. Also love the cut out dolls idea – I have a kiddo working on pronouns at the moment and will try that with him! These are great suggestions. Thanks, Lauren!!

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