We’ve been having a lot of fun this week playing Oaka Books’ Predators and Producers board game*. Designed to help reinforce and revise the KS2 Science Topic ‘Living Things’, this board game is a brilliant, educational take on the classic Snakes and Ladders.
If you’ve not come across Oaka Books before, have a read of our previous reviews here. They create fantastic revision materials for KS1-KS3 and Common Entrance Exams- designed with children with Special Educational Needs in mind. Their colourful, fun revision packs cover topics from a whole range of subjects from KS1 to KS3, including French, History, Geography, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Find out more on their website here.
How do you play?
It’s an exciting game that involves children taking turns to roll the dice and move across the board. If a child lands on a predator they have to ‘fall down’ the spaces (like they would do if they landed on a snake, in snakes and ladders). If they land on a producer, they go up it (again like a ladder, in snakes and ladders). Making the game even more engaging and educational, along the way there are cocoa beans and bananas to collect as well as differentiated, topic questions to answer. The ultimate goal of the game (apart from to consolidate their understanding of this topic!) is to rescue Rainforest Rob at the other side of the rainforest with the biggest cocoa beans/bananas collection!
What do we like about it?
- Beautiful!- The illustrations, colours and overall styling of the Predators and Producers board game are absolutely stunning. What’s great about this is it really helps the children get into the game, like they’ve been thrown into the tropical rainforest itself! The board game, box and counters are all made to a very high standard.
- Fun & Competitive– For some children a bit of healthy competition can really help to encourage them further in a game, especially when revising a topic. The children loved competing against one another to try and answer as many questions as they could correctly to earn cocoa beans and bananas. You also can’t beat the classic rules of ‘snakes and ladders’ based games, the children were giggling and groaning when sliding down the predators and very happy to be climbing the producers! It’s lovely to find a fun and novel way to revise a topic.
- Develops Scientific Vocabulary– As a former secondary science teacher, one of the biggest areas of weakness I observed children starting secondary school facing, was a limited scientific vocabulary. Science in KS3 and KS4 relies heavily on children using and understanding key scientific terms correctly. For some children it can often feel like they are learning a new language! Therefore, I was absolutely delighted to see how this game reinforces the use of correct key scientific terminology. I’m a firm believer that the sooner young children use the correct language the less misconceptions and confusion it causes later on. Not only do the question cards rely on children being able to use the correct key words but by having the ‘snakes and ladders’ being ‘predator’ and ‘producer’ you are ensuring these two (very key terms!) become part of normal language whilst playing the game!
- The Questions– I particularly loved the care that has clearly been taken by Oaka Books to create very well worded and well thought out questions for the ‘Question Cards’. What’s great is they have cleverly and discreetly differentiated the game by providing two levels of questions: “easy” or “hard”. This not only allows teachers and parents to choose which question cards to give to which child based on their ability (supporting less able students and stretching the more able) but it also enables children of differing abilities to play the game together on a level playing field. Because the easier question cards are just a different shade of colour, it also means children are likely to not even realise that they are having different cards, reducing any stigma attached to ‘easier’ questions.
- Develops Numeracy Skills– Oaka Books’ Predators and Producers board game doesn’t just help develop a child’s science skills but I noticed many opportunities to develop numeracy skills throughout the game. For example, when children answer the question cards correctly they earn Cocoa Beans/ Banana points- children therefore have to use their counting and addition skills to keep track of their score. To further stretch a child’s numeracy skills, you could also appoint them in charge of the Cocoa Beans and Banana points- providing them with even more opportunities to be using numbers, giving other children their points. Other numeracy opportunities include counting the numbers of the dice, moving the correct number of spaces and comparing scores.
*Please note this post is sponsored and we received a sample board game for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are our own.