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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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Gail Kedsch

says:

Love love love all these ideas. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I can tell you have a bundle of love for children. And so do I. I think that is why I enjoy your blog so much.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, Gail!

Rebecca

says:

We love to start our day with a game This will will make it a super start.

Lisa

says:

Bananagrams builds so many essential skills!

Merry

says: Customer Service

Yes! Helpful AND fun to play!

Kayla shertzer

says:

Thankful for these ideas!

Stacy

says:

I love this idea! Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try it.

Fun! Games make homeschooling SO much easier, kids think they’re just playing but they’re actually learning! Parenting WIN!

Erin W.

says:

This game worked wonders for my struggling 10 year old.

Carrie

says:

Great tips!

Gina

says:

All my three of my kids (14, 9 & 6) love Bananagrams!

Bethany

says:

Such a great idea to use games we already have!

Julie

says:

Love this game!

Rebecca

says:

I am very impressed with the quality and amount of resources available for parents.

Rebecca

says:

The materials that are available through All About Learning are impressive!

Shannon Alexander

says:

I was just looking at this game on amazon! Thanks for the indside view of it!

Kayla Wheeler

says:

My daughter will love this. I’ll definitely be doing it with her.

Jenny

says:

Looks like fun!

Jess

says:

We have the apple version of this game. So fun!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jess,
Do you mean the Apple app for iPhones and iPods or do you mean the Appleletters game by the makers of Bananagrams only the letter tiles come in an apple-shaped bag? Because both look to be very fun!

Donna

says:

I think it is called the bannanagrams app. Its available in the UK as of last summer. Not is the USA, yet.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Donna. I do hope it becomes available in the USA soon, as it sounds like a great app.

Shawna

says:

This is genius!

Conny Crappell

says:

My kids love this game. As well as Scrabble.

Carmen

says:

This game is on my want list for our homeschool!

Katie

says:

I really need to get this game. I bought the “my first Bananagrams” in the green banana but the letters are all lowercase which often confuse my son.

Carrie Bergherm

says:

This is a really fun game. I need to remember to get it out to play with my boys during the school year. I always forget about it. This and Scrabble need to be added to our school days, for sure.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carrie,
I like to make myself “appointments” on my Google calendar to remind me to use a resource for school that I think I might forget to use. Maybe that will help you to remember to have fun with Bananagrams and other games in this school year.

Carrie Bergherm

says:

Thanks for the tip. I have a “Morning Basket” where I put the readings we do together each morning. Adding the games to that basket will likely help me remember better – visual and kinesthetic reminders work better for me… :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ooo, I love the idea of putting games in your morning basket, Carrie!

Lia

says:

So amusing but educational at the same time

amy

says:

I like using the tiles to make a Boggle type square board. then my son can practice making 3 and 4 letter words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ooo, what a great additional way to play with the Bananagram tiles, Amy! We have a blog post on Using Boggle to Build Language Skills that may have some ideas to expand on your idea.

Liz

says:

I will definitely be using this game sheet with my students in the fall!!!

Shannon

says:

What fun ideas!!

Julie Murphy

says:

I love spelling games.

Amy Kampstra

says:

Wow! This looks great for homeschooling. I should put it on my girls’ Christmas lists!

Sheri Newell Anderson

says:

This game looks like a lot of fun for my children and grandchildren!

Keren

says:

Great idea! I’m excited to try this with my family.

Leticia Barnes

says:

My kids love tiles . They would enjoy this.

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