About a year ago my sister-in-law gave me at set of Bananagrams for my kids. If you have never heard of Bananagrams before, they are the little tiles like you find in Scrabble, played the same way but without a board.
We never acctually learned how to play Bananagrams, the kids were only three at the time the set was given to us, but that didn’t stop us from playing with them anyhow!
At first my daughter mostly liked to line them up, either as a trail for one of her small animal figurines to follow or as a way to pick out her alphabet as she sang, “a….b…..c…..d……e….”. As for my son, he was happy to insert himself into his sister’s games.
Since the kids did infact enjoy playing with the letter tiles I kept my mind open for other opportunities to utilize them. This month, we have been participating in a “gameschooling” challenge with Cait from http://www.my-little-poppies.com, where each day we seek to play at least one table-top type game. I wondered how we could play with the Bananagrams together.
Lately, we have been reading books from the Biscuit “I Can Read” series and practicing some sight words. I decided to put out a handful of the sight words, phonics cards, one of the Biscuit phonics books, and the bag of Bananagrams on the table to see how the kids would engage with it all.
Right away, Everett found two “o”s to make the “oo” sound. We talked about some words with that sounds of “oo”, like “school”, “soon”, “book”, and “woof” (which Biscuit, the little dog in our books, says with frequency).
Ember began adding more letters to write “woof” and “Biscuit” as well as “This is”. The title of the book on the table was “This is Biscuit”.
Everett decided to place his letters directly on top of the sight word cards I had out, the ones that matched the title of the book “This is Biscuit”.
I was so excited for them to be forming words with the Bananagrams! Since they are still learning to recognize each letter individually as opposed to recognizing each letter only in alphabetical sequence, spelling with the letter tiles was a successful way to practice. (I was also happy to finally find a way to put the phonics cards into play!)