The Best Word & Spelling Games for Kids Rated in 2018

Kids who get an early start reading have a huge advantage over their peers in school. But did you know research has shown there are way more benefits than just higher grades early on? More exposure to pre-reading skills, like letter knowledge and vocabulary, correlates with better reading comprehension. Additionally, results of First grade reading tests can actually predict Eleventh grade exposure to print. In other words, your child’s reading skills in first grade can predict the amount he or she willng be reading ten years later. So get your kid started early!

Our Top 3 Picks

Bananagrams
  • Bananagrams
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Fun for the Whole Family
  • Price: See Here
Quiddler Card Game
  • Quiddler Card Game
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Educational Card Game
  • Price: See Here
Rory's Story Cubes
  • Rory's Story Cubes
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Promotes Creative Thinking
  • Price: See Here

But no one said reading and learning have to be boring. Learn and have fun with your kids with these best word games. Plus, some of these are just simple versions of adult classics, so when the kids master the junior version, they can sit at the adult table and show the grown ups how it’s done! Below you will find the absolute best word games for kids in 2018!

3

Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes

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SUMMARY

Every game of Rory's starts the same: "Once upon a timeā€¦" But that's about the only thing that will ever be the same. The game includes nine oversized dice, each with six unique images to spark your imagination into weaving a tale. Will the story end up all clunky and awkward? Or can you child pull off a short story that is as funny as it is original? The game comes with a handy guide to give some direction. Compete with one another or get everyone to join together and craft a classic you won't ever forget.

Ages 8+ 1 or More Players

BENEFITS

Ever feel like kids have too many rules to follow these days? Rory's awards creativity and sheer imagination over all else. With a roll of these story cubes, kids get a chance to build their own story instead of watching someone else's on the TV. In this game, nobody loses. It is a free space to have fun, enjoy, and be creative with one another as a social experience.

Pros

  • NO RULES! Well...hardly any rules.
  • Design your own experience.
  • Totally open ended
  • Super portable
  • Super easy to learn, just start playing!
Cons

  • You get what you put in

What We Like About It

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Word Games for Kids on Our List

Fun and educational are the primary criteria for all of these games. We want kids to learn, but we know it can get a bit boring and difficult. After that, we considered simplicity balanced out with the game’s longevity. Easy to learn is good but it isn’t perfect if the game is the same after the tenth playthrough.

Learning is such a breeze when kids are enjoying themselves and isn’t it just THE WORST when it is boring? All of these games are educational and they are fun. For instance, sight words are essential to learn for reading but they are just plain tough. Many are non-phonetic which means they cannot be sounded out in order to be spelled properly. Several games we found magically make these tricky terms fun to memorize.

While a few games here don’t have many, or any rules, others have a lot to make the gameplay rewarding. There is no wrong way to go here. We believe children need both open ended games to exercise those rambunctious imaginations and stricter rule sets to keep things fair in a competitive context. Games like Tapple and Bananagrams have a lot of replay value making them fun time and time again. But other games are really specific to early ages like preschoolers. Either way, people rave about kids loving all of these games from the simplest to most advanced.

You can’t beat simplicity. Even for adult games, a simpler game can often be the first choice among many possibilities. Junior games always do that work for you. Every great game balances luck and skill and we took those factors into consideration too. Rolling dice is simple, but it is not really skillful. Always look for a game’s age category and total play time. Most games print them right on the box.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this game going to be fun for my child?

A: The secret of making games fun for individuals is making new rules. A lot of game designers are happy about such game modifications. Sometimes they include different game modes in the rulebook. Other times, families and even kids themselves make up rules to keep things more balanced or moving quickly. Feel free to experiment! A boring game can become amazing with a few simple changes.

Q: How do I play this game? Are we playing it right?

A: Games come in many forms. Some simple toddler or pre-K word games don’t come with many rules. With these, the plan is to really tailor it to your child. It may take several tries before kids master the concept of turns, plays, points, or word orders. You may have to wait before your child reaches the appropriate maturity and try introducing it to them again. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s website, game blogs or online videos. Watching is always the easiest way to learn in our experience.

Q: What age level is this for? Is that a requirement?

A: Not at all. Almost all games include an age requirement because of the reading and math skills required to play. But those are just guidelines. Does your child read a year ahead of her age? Then she might be able to play it earlier.

Q: How many people can play at a time?

A: This really depends on the game. Some games are very strict about the number of players because it changes core mechanics of the game. For other games, it really doesn’t matter, that would include any that say 1+ without an upper limit. On rare occasions, the stated number of player can be overly optimistic. Things can get really unwieldy around the dinner table with more than six players.

Q: How long does this game last?

A: In terms of longevity of the pieces, that all depends on specifics for each game. But developers know kids are harder on games than adults. In terms of the number of playthroughs for a game, it depends on the what the game was designed for. Sight word games might only last kids a few years before they advance beyond them. You can always add more rules to keep it fresh. Many games include modified rules for changing things up. Beyond that check for game expansions packs or new sets.

Q: What do I buy next?

A: Besides buying expansions for the games you already have, adult word games are a booming industry. A lot of the best word games around are for anyone ages 8 or 9 and up. Check for the rules on adult games and see if they include different difficulty settings or handicaps to level the playing field for different ages.

Contributed/Written by Collin Pointon

Sources

  1. Kelly B. Cartwright, Insights From Cognitive Neuroscience: The Importance of Executive Function for Early Reading Development and Education, Scientific Study,
  2. Cunningham, Anne E. Stanovich, Keith E. , Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later. , Peer Reviewed Article,
  3. Muter, Valerie Hulme, Charles Snowling, Margaret J. Stevenson, Jim, Phonemes, Rimes, Vocabulary, and Grammatical Skills as Foundations of Early Reading Development: Evidence From a Longitudinal Study. , Scientific Study,
  4. Child Devlopment Staff, Types of Play, Informative Article ,
  5. Raising Children Network, Literacy activities for children, Informative Article,