We're going bananas for My First Bananagrams. This new game aimed at children aged 4+ is a variation of Bananagrams, so it's perfect for primary school children, from Reception onwards, who start to develop their reading and writing skills.
The original Bananagrams game comes in a yellow, i.e. ripe pouch. My First Bananagrams' case is green - to underline the young age of its target audience.
The actual set is a mixture of brightly coloured plastic letter tiles including 80 single letters and 13 combo-letter tiles. The tiles are small and light, and are easy to handle.
Last year, when Eddie was in Year 1, they were beginning to study digraphs. This game will be a handy tool
for new learners of word families.
Pre-schoolers may start with very easy tasks of spelling their names or putting the ABCs in an alphabetic order.
The goal for a preschooler is to recognise letters.
An early reader is encouraged to build words.
An (advanced) reader is expected to intersect words with other words to make simple grids.
The instructions leaflet which comes in the pouch gives ideas and instructions on how to play.
The setup is easy - you need 1 to 4 players. Place all 80 single letter tiles face down on the playing surface. Each player takes 15 tiles.
Your object is to use all the letters in a connected word grid without making spelling mistakes. You are not supposed to make proper nouns either, but we have relaxed the rule.
When you have used all the letters in a connected grid, call Bananas! The first player who completes the grid without mistakes is declared a Top Banana.
Once you have mastered the art of single tiles, you move onto an advanced level and combo-letters.
There are 10 different mini games based on the curriculum. They are educational and entertaining. Children will enjoy the game without realising they are learning. It's a fun way to reinforce early reading skills without getting bored.
It's amazing just how many school books for young readers are excruciatingly boring written by talentless writers and illustrated by artists who are not very good at what they are doing. I volunteer once a week at school and help with the reading programme, so have seen my share of rather dull reading material in the last couple of years. You can see why some kids are not enthusiastic. I'd be bored to tears if I had to read some of those books on a daily basis.
Games like My First Bananagrams could encourage young readers and teach them that spelling and word games could be great fun.
Disclosure: I received a set of My First Bananagrams for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine. None of my links are affiliate.