Would you like to spend more time together with your family? Do you want your kids to build their literacy skills? You can actually achieve both goals with these family board games.
1. Tall Tales: The Game of Infinite Storytelling
There are several ways to play this storytelling game. My family likes 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 scene selected.
2. Sequence Letters
Ages: 4+ (best for kids who need to work on letter sounds and beginning sounds)
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 kids 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.
Ages: 7+ (younger verbal kids too)
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.
Playing Boggle takes me back to my childhood. I vividly remember the sound of letter cubes shaking around in the plastic box. If your kids like word searches, then Boggle is their game. 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 same prefix or suffix and talk about how the words are related.
For most, the first word game that comes to mind is Scrabble. The game has been around since the 1940s. The neat thing about this word-building game is that it 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.
6. 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.
7. Apples to Apples Junior
Ages: 9+ (younger strong readers could also play)
My personal favorite on this list is 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.
Have fun building literacy skills and enjoying time with your family with one of these games.