Review of Match and Spell by Orchard Toys

As I have said before, I believe learning through play is the best way to teach a young child a new skill.  When I learnt to read, phonics were not invented.  You just had to learn to recognise the word.  When my older two children learnt to read, phonics were like a foreign language to me.  A number of years on and now Little J is learning to read and spell, phonics flow much more easily.  I’ve been able to teach them to him from an early age – some might say too early, he’s been able to spell his eight letter name phonically since he was 21 months old!

The game Match and Spell by Orchard Toys looked like a fun way to explore reading and spelling.  I think someone else might have thought the same!

Match & Spell by Orchard Toys

Match and Spell with Little J

You’ve probably guessed by the photo that Little J got to Match & Spell before I could take the obligatory photograph.  Little J is very keen to learn and play.  It’s very easy to engage him in most activities.  Match and Spell was no exception.

Orchard Toys describe Match & Spell as a game which “encourages letter recognition, teaches basic phonetic word building and promotes matching of pictures and words.”

It claims to help develop observation, matching and memory skills, promotes language and literacy and encourages discussion.  There are two ways to play Match and Spell, designed for both guided and independent word building – perfect for a rising 5 who has just started in Reception.

In the box are enough letter cards to fill all of the word boards – we tested it.  The word boards are colourful and double sided.  One side with the picture and the word.  The other side with a picture and blank spaces for the letter tiles.

Match and Spell
Picture from Orchard Toys

The object of the game is to either match the letter cards to spell the word on the board, or if the child is more proficient with their phonics, they could have a go at spelling the words out themselves on the blank side of the board.  To build confidence, Little J began by matching the letters whilst telling me the sound of the letter and saying the word.


After doing this a few times, he decided he had the confidence to flip the board over and attempt to spell the word himself.  He chose ‘web’ to begin with.  The grumpy face was because he tried to pick it up to show the camera 🙂


To my surprise he then attempted crab.  He said the word slowly (and unprompted) a few times, then gave it a go.


His celebrations are becoming more elaborate!

I think this game is brilliant for children who are starting to learn how the phonetic alphabet can make up the sounds in words they use every day.  It’s simple, yet extremely effective design is likely to build a child’s confidence quickly and encourage them to try sounding out and spelling words they see in their reading books.

Another “double thumbs up” from Little J.

Match and Spell can be purchased directly from Orchard Toys website for £7.50

Please note: I was sent this game by Orchard Toys (through Mum’s Club) to publish a fair and honest review.

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