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Using Bananagrams to Build Language Skills

Go Bananas with Bananagrams!

How quickly can you take a handful of letters and create an intersecting grid of words? It’s a fun challenge!

Bananagrams game pieces

Bananagrams is a lively spelling game for ages 7 to 107 that will have your family and friends racing to spell as quickly as they can! You can build words horizontally and vertically, and you can shuffle them up anytime you need to—just make sure each word connects to at least one other word. You’ll have to be quick-thinking and fast-fingered if you want to be the first player to yell, “Bananas!”

The game comes with 144 letter tiles and is recommended for up to eight players to ensure that everyone gets sufficient tiles. But if you have more than eight eager players, Double Bananagrams has 288 tiles that allows for even more Bananagrams fun.

How to Play

Let’s get started!

The number of tiles each player begins with depends on the number of players. If you only have four players, then everyone takes 21 tiles from the “Bunch.” When everyone has their tiles ready and waiting face down in front of them, someone begins the game by calling out, “Split!” This is the signal to turn your tiles face up and get going!

Let’s take a look at your tiles.

bananagrams letter tiles

It may not look like there’s any words in there at first, but don’t worry. Just grab the first one you see and lay it out. You could spell the word build.

bananagrams word build

But wait…you can add a suffix and spell building.

bananagrams word building

Did you notice you have a J in your bunch? Js can be hard to use, but there’s a way you can use it right away and spell jog. Hmmm…not so fast! You have an S too. You can add it to jog and turn it into jogs. Now you’re getting the hang of it!

bananagrams add s

Keep adding words until you have used all your tiles.

bananagrams anagram

Look at that! You’re the first to finish. Quick, call out, “Peel!” That means you’ve finished and it’s time for all the players (including you) to grab another tile from the Bunch.

You drew an M!

Sometimes you have to rearrange your tiles as you draw new letters…but not this time. You can add your M to the end of see and make the word seem.

bananagrams add M

Time for another “Peel!”

Uh-oh—this time you drew a Q. What can you do with a Q?

Well, since Q is always followed by the letter U, you’ll have to use the U in building. Just take the EAK off of beak and make the word quake.

bananagrams using a Q

Way to go!

The game is over when there are no more fresh tiles in the Bunch. When that happens, the first player to use up all his or her tiles yells, “Banana!” and you have a winner!

Here’s our biggest tip: be prepared to rearrange your tiles into completely different words when you draw new letters. By the end of the game, your board might look like this:

bananagrams final anagram

See how many different words you can make with the same letters?

Download your Bananagrams Game Sheet

4 Ways to Build Language Skills with Bananagrams

  1. Broaden vocabulary. A strong command of the English language is a fantastic asset if you want to become a real Bananagrams champion. The more words you know, the easier it will be to win! The game introduces kids to new words and encourages them to expand their vocabularies as they search for words in their tiles.
  2. Reinforce spelling skills. If you have a child who would benefit from a fun way to practice spelling, this game is a terrific option! Not only is it super-engaging, it makes spelling practice practically painless. Kids will definitely love being able to shout “Rotten Banana!” when they spot a misspelled word in another player’s grid.
  3. Learn about anagrams. This game is called Bananagrams for a reason! An anagram is a word formed with letters found in another word. Because players may have to rearrange their letters multiple times throughout a game, it gives kids the perfect chance to explore the vast number of words that can be made with the letters they’re given.
  4. Gain familiarity with word parts. Bananagrams requires careful strategy; while it sometimes pays to just slap down whatever words you see, you can increase your chances of winning by paying attention to blends, consonant teams, vowel teams, prefixes, and suffixes. Kids will learn to keep an eye out for handy combinations like EN, ED, ES, TION, and ING, and they’ll get comfortable using them to create words.

Notes from Our Game Testers

  • This game is an absolute blast!
  • There are many options for adjusting the game to make it different and keep it exciting. The instructions included with the game offer suggestions for more ways to play, but don’t be afraid to invent your own. You might especially need to make adjustments when playing with younger children.
  • Unlike some games that take a while to set up (here’s looking at you, Monopoly), Bananagrams requires no scoring, pencils, paper, or other tools to play. All you need are the tiles and a few eager players!

Does your family have a favorite board game that is a fun and “sneaky” way to build language skills? Please share in the comments below!

All About Learning Press, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All proceeds from our partnership with Amazon.com will be donated to local libraries.

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Leave a Reply

Catherine

says:

We have Bananagrams but it is very under-utilised! Thanks for some great suggestions on how to use it more effectively 😁

Robin

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Catherine! Enjoy!

Leslie

says:

Looks like I’ll be buying this for Christmas! Sounds fun. I saw it before and wondered how it differs from Scrabble. I like how you can take the letters from a word to make a new one. I’m excited to play with my family.

Robin

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this blog reviewed helped you decide to go ahead and purchase this great game, Leslie! Enjoy!

Donald Knight

says:

This looks like a whole lot of fun!!

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thanks, Donald!

Louise

says:

I love this idea! We like playing bananagrams but I never thought of it as a language building activity.

Robin

says: Customer Service

Games are great activities for learning, Louise!

Adele Essakow

says:

Love this idea, definitely need to get some bananagrams!

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Adele!

Maria

says:

Thank you for all these ideas! I use the kids version of Banana gram with my younger students, as it has lower case letters.

Annika

says:

We love this game in our house and someone recently gave my 4 year old the junior version – my first bananagrams – and she is having a blast with it as she works through basic phonics. It has digraph tiles and coloured vowel tiles to help the budding speller.

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thank you for mentioning My First Bananagrams, Annika! It sounds like a great game for the youngest learners!

Elly

says:

I love using games-as-learning. Thanks for the reminder that Bananagrams is great for this even if it’s not marketed as “a learning game.”

Melissa

says:

We introduced bananagrams and my daughter loves it!

Chae

says:

This was great! I have a Banana Grams collecting dust but now I will feel more confident pulling it out.

Michaela Utengen

says:

I’ve heard such great things about this game! Quick question. If a young reader (4 years old) plays and misspells a word but the way they spelled it makes sense with the typical sounds the letter makes, would you correct them or just keep playing based on how they spelled the word?

Robin

says: Customer Service

Michaela,
It depends. I think I would be inclined to correct the spelling to help them spell it correctly, but not hold the incorrect spelling against the child. However, it would probably be fine to just allow it to stand the other way as well. It depends on the child and they would respond to the correct.

Elizabeth

says:

I never thought about using it for growing spelling skills! Just another excuse to pull out my letter games. ;)

Robin

says: Customer Service

There are so many reasons (excuses) to play games, Elizabeth! What other way can skills like spelling be reviewed while family is creating fun memories to last a lifetime?

Ashley

says:

We absolutely love Bananagrams for spelling practice! It’s the best!

Robin

says: Customer Service

We agree it’s a great game, Ashley!

Korrina

says:

What a fun way to reinforce spelling!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It is fun, Korrina!

Kelly Levesque

says:

I keep forgetting we have this game! Thanks for the reminder!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kelly!

Bertha Mason

says:

I love this idea, especially for kinesthetic learners!

Jessica

says:

What a fantastic idea! I know what is going under the Christmas tree this year!

Melanie

says:

It’s been a while since we played this one. Time to bring it out again!

Monica

says:

This is the second time I’ve seen this suggestion! Adding to stocking stuffer list right now!

Jessica Wernimont

says:

Wonderful idea!

Jessica Wernimont

says:

Wonderful idea!💞💞

Lisa Jenkins

says:

Love it ❤️

Rachel

says:

Love Bananagrams!

Sarah

says:

Looks like fun!

LH

says:

Looks like fun learning!

Amanda

says:

Such a fun game.

Heather

says:

I know this wouldn’t go over well for us, spelling causes anxiety..

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry to hear about your spelling anxiety, Heather. If you have questions or need help, please let us know.

Shelly Bergman

says:

We love this game and we would use it as a moveable alphabet before we could play!