The original Bananagrams game has been a family favourite here for quite some time. Bananagrams gets players to compete against each other to be the quickest to combine a random selection of letters into words. It’s a great game that you can play nearly anywhere, is simple to understand and suits a wide range of ages. They also make Bananagrams Wild Tiles and Bananagrams Party for some extra tactical play.
The only drawback for us has been that it is still a bit tricky for T (who is 5) to keep up with his brother which is a shame as we’ve seen his phonics awareness improve recently and he really wants to join in. The new My First Bananagrams set seemed the perfect way to bridge the gap so we were very happy to receive a set to try out.
The aim of the game essentially remains the same, arrange all your letters into intersecting words in the quickest possible time, but they have made some simple changes that make it easier for emerging readers in that 4-6 age group. As well as the case being a cute ‘unripe’ green banana the set has slightly chunkier tiles that are wonderfully tactile. The letters are colour coded into groups to make it easier to find what you’re looking for and a raised ridge at the bottom of the tile prevents confusion between ds and ps etc. The biggest change is the addition of some sets of digraphs as joined double tiles, common combinations like ‘th’ ‘ee’ and ‘at’ which help nudge players towards possible words without making it too easy for them.
T took to it straight away. The changes really helped him but haven’t compromised the game play for older kids so this one gets a definite thumbs up here! One unexpected result of having the new set around in the living room is that T and I have found ourselves using them in all sorts of other ways too. They are so lovely and colourful and nice to handle that T really enjoys finding excuses to use them so I thought I’d share some of the other activities we’ve been doing.
5 Learning Activities with My First Bananagrams
- What do you spy? Pick an object in the room just like I Spy and then start forming the word a letter at a time and saying the sounds until your child guesses it. Then let him pick the word for you to guess.
- Word families Select one of the digraphs (or make a new one yourself with two separate letters) and see how many words you can make that include it. Take the opportunity to talk about rhyming.
- Syllables Spell out a multi-syllable word then say it together, clapping out the syllables. Ask your child to split up the tiles to show the syllables.
- Alphabetical order Sing the alphabet song together slowly trying to find the letters as you say them and putting them into order. Once you have a complete set sing it through at normal speed pointing to the letters as you go.
- Spelling homework While practicing your weekly spellings (not the most fun part of our week normally!) build each word as you go. Take them apart and put them back together or swap some letters and ask your child to spot the mistake.
I’m sure you’ll find lots of other fun ways to use the set too. It’s really very versatile.
Win a set of My First Bananagrams
If you’d like to try out My First Bananagrams you can enter to win a set by using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will run until Thursday 17th November 2016 and is open to UK residents only.
Don’t forget to check out all our #EarlyAdvent giveaways. There will be a new one every day in November.