Happy Anniversary Bananagrams: Why We Love Word Games

Posted on January 12, 2016

Words are all the rage for every age! During early childhood, the focus is on introducing different sounds for babies to vocalize. Elementary school age branches out to spelling small words such as C-A-T or M-O-M. But as kids develop and advance into adulthood, writing and words become ingrained pillars of our lives, whether it is writing papers, sending emails, reading books, or completing a crossword puzzle. There is one category of games that exists around this pillar, and it is a category diverse and versatile enough to be played at every age. It is the aptly named category of word games, and for them: words are everything.

Ten years ago, one such game with a bunch of lettered tiles in a banana shaped bag made its debut at the London Toy Fair, and it has taken the world by storm. This game is called Bananagrams, and the gameplay is simple: be the first player to take all the letter tiles and create words that link together in a word grid. If you have not heard of Bananagrams, it is definitely worth a look!

Word games take many shapes and forms, whether they are spoken, written, or of the tabletop variety. Kids and adults alike love them because they are exciting and engaging, and they provide many benefits for child development. Here are a few of those benefits:

Vocabulary

The more words we know, the better we can express ourselves. This is why expanding our vocabulary is so important. With these social word games, children are exposed to words that other players use, some of which they may not be familiar with. Children can see that the more words you know, means that you can be better at these games, so they may try and learn as many words as they can. With fast paced gameplay, children can then absorb and incorporate these words into future rounds of the game as well as their daily lives.

Spelling

With games like Bananagrams, spelling is important to complete your word grid, and word games illustrate the importance of this skill. With the game at stake, the importance of spelling is explained to children in a way they can understand. Better spelling makes you better at the games, and these games provide visual aids in learning to spell as children are often pulling from collections of letters, as opposed to drawing them from memory.

A word game is still a puzzle

As children look at the letters in front of them and find a way to fit them all together, they are engaging their brain in new ways. These word and letter based puzzles can lead to marked improvements in children’s spelling and reading abilities, as well as opening up children to looking at problems in new ways for new solutions. This problem solving ability can show its benefits in resolving situations in life, as well as answering questions in school.

Makes learning fun

As with all games and play, it makes learning fun because children can learn at their own level. This is not a lesson plan in a classroom, it is children engaging in learning with their peers, in a way that they are motivated to succeed for their own reasons. It is self-motivated learning. Using these games in addition to lessons learned in a classroom and at home can be great ways to reinforce the lessons, and the games can show children how learning new words in school can help outside of the classroom.

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