Board games are a great way to explore and reinforce reading skills. And although Scrabble and Boggle are wonderful word games for ages 8 and up, Scrabble Junior and Boggle Junior are less-than-stellar alternatives for the budding readers in our lives. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternative, lesser-known board games to keep your kids learning and having fun!
Here are five best board games that bring out the wordplay for beginning and early readers:
In What’s GNU?, players flip up letter tiles and race to create 3-letter words. This is great for kids just gaining confidence in their reading.
Toot and Otto
This is another fabulous choice for beginners. It’s a four-in-a-row game where one player tries to spell TOOT while the other tries to make the same letters spell OTTO. It’s more of a strategy game than a word game, but still good for getting kids to think about letters and how they can be arranged to form words.
Cariboo is a game that includes matching up letters and sounds. Note that it is one of those rare games for really young kids (age 3 and up) that doesn’t just involve moving a piece from start to finish over and over again. It does employ the use of question cards, but comes with two sets (beginner and advanced), so the whole family can play at their own pace!
A to Z Junior
Like Scrabble and Boggle, A to Z has a junior counterpart, which has been a big favorite in my house for several years running. Players pick categories such as ice cream flavors and try to come up with answers that begin with as many different letters as they can.
Rubberneckers Jr. is a scavenger hunt card game to be played while riding in the car. It’s solid entertainment for long car rides. And searching for words, like bump and stop on road signs, is a GREAT reading exercise. In fact, I know a lot of people who tell me that “stop” was the very first word their child learned to read.
Finally, for more advanced readers, consider Bananagrams. It’s a fast-paced challenge where two or more players arrange a great big collection of letters into a crossword. Some word game fans will recognize this as the traditional game sometimes called Speed Scrabble. Hey! This version comes packaged inside a banana!