[GIFTED] Review: Eye Spy With My Little Eye

One of the things that really grabbed my attention at BlogOn Toys last month was a board game called 'Eye Spy With My Little Eye'. The boys love playing their own version of eye spy on the school run every morning so I thought it seemed like the perfect way to introduce them both to the idea of playing board games.

The game is made by Cheatwell (which is a pretty perfect name for a brand that makes puzzles, toys and board games!) who were keen to put this theory to the test and kindly sent us a copy to see what Finley and Jacob made of it.

The boys couldn't wait to get started and excitedly opened up the box to find four double-sided playing boards, a deck of cards with letters on them, a sheet full of colourful tokens and a leaflet explaining the rules of the game.

All of the pieces that come with Eye Spy With My Little Eye are big, bold and brightly coloured, making them visually appealing and easy for young children to handle. The boys were able to recognise what each part was for straight away and began helping me to set up the board for them.

Once we'd worked out where everything needed to go, it didn't take us long at all to get the game ready. The four square boards line up to form a large playing board (and each one is reversible, so no two games are ever the same!) The letter cards are shuffled and placed in a pile next to the board, then each player chooses a set of coloured tokens (Finley went for red and Jacob went for green!)

Next up, we needed to get our heads around the rules. These are printed clearly in a booklet alongside cheery, colourful pictures from the game. There were only a few short chunks of text to read so we soon had a clear idea of how to play Eye Spy.

So how does it work?

Well the aim of the game is simple: to be the first player to place all of their coloured tokens on the board.

To get to that point, each of the boys had to take it in turns to pick a letter card from the pile, read it out and place it face up in the middle of the board.

They then had to look for a picture beginning with that letter. The first one to put their token on the picture and call out what they'd found ended the turn and the whole process began again until one of them had all eight of their tokens on the board (making them the winner!)

It sounds quite straightforward but we soon found that some letters were a lot harder to match up than others! In fact it became even trickier as the boys got into the swing of the game and started thinking more creatively about the pictures. For example, the picture of a present could just be 'P' for present, but it could also be 'G' for gift or even 'B' for birthday depending on their level of understanding.

Being slightly older meant that Finley had the upper hand here, but it just goes to show that Eye Spy With My Little Eye is fantastic for children of all ages as it appeals to them on so many different levels.

For younger children like Jacob, the game can easily be adapted into a more basic version using colours until they're ready to start adding in letters. Once we'd finished the first game (which we decided was a draw, just to keep both boys happy!) I set Jacob up with a colour matching activity using one of the picture boards and some tokens. It was quite a basic task but it made him SO happy! In hindsight, perhaps I should've done this before he played the game because it was such a great way to familiarise him with the pictures.

Eye Spy With My Little Eye is actually aimed at ages 5+ so it's no surprise that Jacob needed a little bit of help to get started. Obviously Finley is used to structured play at school but, at the age of 2, Jacob is still learning. The biggest challenge was getting him to sit still for long enough to concentrate but since the game is quite fast-paced (and since he's so desperate to be like his big brother!) he didn't take much persuasion.

The boys have never really played a board game together before because there are so few out there that are suitable for both of their age groups. Eye Spy bridges that gap perfectly though and it's been great to finally find a game that they understand well enough to enjoy together. It's the sort of thing that they'll enjoy more and more as they get older so it'll be interesting to see how their understanding of the game develops over time.

For now though, the boys will be able to learn a lot from Eye Spy without even realising it. As well as improving their knowledge of the alphabet, it's also a great game for teaching social skills such as concentrating and turn taking.

These are all skills that will be put into practice when the boys are ready to include more players. Eye Spy With My Little Eye is designed for up to six people, so we can all play together as a family or even get friends to join in the fun when the boys have play dates.

I've always loved the idea of having family game nights so once the boys have really got the hang of Eye Spy, I'm hoping I can start introducing them to a whole host of other board games. In the meantime, with so many cold and rainy days on the horizon, I've got a feeling we'll be spending a lot of time snuggled up inside playing Eye Spy together!

Eye Spy With My Little Eye costs just £14.99 (RRP) and is on sale now through a range of independent and high street retailers such as The Entertainer, The Range, Waterstones and WHSmith, as well as online via Amazon. For more information about where to buy your copy of the game, just head to the Cheatwell Games website.

Disclaimer: Product(s) in this post were gifted to us in exchange for an honest blog review and social media coverage. All views expressed within this post and across social media are our own.

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