Playing games with children enables them to not only improve social skills (like cooperation, sportsmanship, sharing, and taking turns), but also skills in many different subject areas. In the TwinCities.com article I mentioned in a recent post, three games were mentioned that really allow a child to build upon all aspects of literacy. I had to laugh when I read which ones they were because it was as if someone had read my mind. We have all three of the games and play them often! I would like to add a few more games into the mix, though!
- Boggle is a game which requires you to find as many words as you can within a certain time frame. It requires you to connect letters horizontally, vertically, and diagonally to find words with at least 3 letters. It's not only great for word recognition, but also for spatial perception.
- Scrabble is a classic word game. You not only have to piece together words letter by letter, but you also have to try to use the letters with the highest point values in the spaces which will double or triple their point value. It's a game of strategy and problem solving, as well as word recognition. Adults are not supposed to use the dictionary for this game (unless someone challenges another player to prove it's not really a word), but if you let younger children use the dictionary, it helps them to not only build confidence, but also their vocabulary as well!
- Apples to Apples is an award-winning game of comparisons. You'll use humor and imagination to make all kinds of analogies, which really gets you thinking "outside the box!"
- Password is a great game of word association. You're given a clue, and then you have to figure out the word your partner is trying to get you to say.
- Apples to Apples Kids is a great (also award winning) introduction to the original version, and will inspire your budding reader to make all kinds of comparisons.
- Bananagrams is a simple version of Scrabble. Players link words (any way they choose) like a crossword puzzle, but there is no board, paper, or pencil to use. It's a portable game that you can take with you anywhere and play in a short amount of time. You just need a table or a flat surface.
There's also a game called Quiddler, which I have never played, but that is getting rave reviews on Amazon. It sounds to me like a card game similar to Rummy, but you have to make words with letters instead. The recommended age is 10 and up, but people seem to think that even younger readers can play it as well. If you've played it, please let us know what you think!
You can also play association games on car trips. For example, you can start with the letter "a" and keep naming things in a category (like foods or names) in the order of the alphabet. There are many variations, and it helps to pass the time in the car!
Oh, and of course games where you have to read cards, like Trivial Pursuit (which has a lot of versions), will also help to build upon reading skills. You don't even have to use the board! Just take the cards with you in the car, or keep them at the dinner table!
Please note that you can find more game suggestions within my recent list of Top Five Rainy Day Activities.
Would you like to comment on any of these games, or add any that help children to develop literacy skills? Feel free to share!