Family Games to Support Learning
As the holiday season is approaching, below are some board games that are not only great for family bonding, but will also boost your child’s language skills. The ideas below were adapted from the article The 7 Best Literacy Boosting Board Games.
Tall Tales: The Game of Infinite Storytelling
There are several ways to play this storytelling game, one is the tell-a-group-story method. Players randomly select a few of the playing pieces and then one scene card is turned over. Each player takes a turn adding to the story, integrating one of their playing pieces into the story each time. The stories get very creative and silly.
Tip: Use the game pieces to create a writing experience. Have your child randomly select three icon pieces and turn over one scenery card. Then, have your child write a story based on the objects and scenes selected.
This game is part strategy and part letter sound identification. Players have to match pictures of objects with beginning letter sound cards. For example, if you have a “V” card, you cover the volcano picture with a chip. The goal is to cover five spaces in a row to win.
Tip: Challenge your children to think of other words that begin with each letter sound. See how many words can be named in 30 seconds; each player scores points for each correct word. This allows for two winners in each game.
Hedbanz is a game that will generate lots of laughs. Each player wears a card on their headband and asks yes/no questions to determine the pictured object. The key is to guess the answer in as few questions as possible.
Tip: This is a great game to use with kids who have speech and language challenges. They will work on formulating questions and picking specific vocabulary.
Shake the letters and see how many words can be found in a short of amount of time. The real challenge is finding words that other players don’t spot. Shake and repeat.
Tip: Challenge your family to learn two new words each game. It might be fun to focus on words with the same prefix or suffix and talk about how the words are related.
This word-building game also builds math skills. Players strategize high point letter tiles to use on the board in just the right places.
Tip: Try Bananagrams, Wordical, or Quiddler which are all spinoffs of the classic Scrabble game.
Read My List!
Read My List! is another game that has multiple variations. You can play a round where you list as many words you can think of to fit into a certain category. Another variation is to listen to a list of things and then guess the category. Finally, players can do a lightning round where they compete back and forth to name items in a category until someone gets stumped.
Tip: To include younger children, play without racing each other. The lightning round and list rounds would be appropriate for children over age four.
Apples to Apples Junior
There are two stacks of cards. The green set contains descriptive words such as kind, cool, and bold. The red set contains people, places, things, and events. Each round, players choose the best red card from their hand to compliment the green card word. The judge selects the favorite played card as the winner of the round.
Tip: Use the blank cards that come with the game to add vocabulary words your kids are currently studying.
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