We are a game family. Both my husband and I grew up playing games in our families so we have continued the tradition with the girls. We also have a monthly game night at church and have so much fun just spending time with our church family. This is where I discovered Bananagrams. I had seen the oh-so-cute banana-shaped game in stores, but hadn’t had a chance to play it until one lovely game night when a friend brought it.
I have always enjoyed the typical tile-letter board game. While my husband was willing to play with me, he honestly didn’t have much fun. He considers himself a poor speller and since my major was in English I think he sort of felt like he never had a chance to begin with! I tried to convince him otherwise, but to no avail.
Wow! It’s fast paced, and isn’t about spelling long words, just spelling quickly. I loved the game and I was so happy when he had fun too! Basically you make your own crossword-style grid out of letter tiles. Everyone plays at the same time and you are working to be the last one to finish first. Fun! I thought after playing just one round how much fun my girls would have playing this game…when they were older.
The makers of Bananagrams created two new games with a younger audience in mind….Pairs in Pears and Appleletters!
I have been giddy ever since I found out I was going to get the opportunity to review these two wonderful games! I had no idea how to play either game, but I knew they would be fun. They come in adorable packaging that instantly drew my girls’ attention. Each came with instructions for multiple game variations and I couldn’t wait to try them all!
In this game each player is given a set number of tiles. There are four complete sets of the alphabet with four different designs. The first to make a set number of pairs of words crossed in the middle wins. The number of tiles and number of pairs changes depending on the number of players. For instance, in a two-player game each player is given 52 tiles and must make 4 pairs of words to win.
In addition to the directions for the original game there is a small booklet with a variety of variations and activities. The activity ideas are separated by levels including pre-readers, early-readers, and solid readers.
I loved Pairs-in-Pears for my youngest daughter who is three. She is learning her alphabet and really enjoyed sorting the tiles into letter sets. Another activity she enjoyed was sorting the four patterns. She sat in the floor for 45 minutes playing with these tiles! For a three-year-old, 45 minutes of focused, structured learning-play is almost unheard of. She frequently asks to play her fruit game which is a great way for her to stay focused and still be learning while I’m teaching her older sisters.
This game is a fun way reinforce spelling for students of all ages. In Appleletters each player starts with nine tiles. Players then take turns building words in the center of the table. The catch is that each word must begin or end with either the first or last letter of what is already on the table. In the end you have a word worm of sorts.
My older daughters really enjoyed this game. They played well together. I had to help Beth the most who is five. She is learning to spell through All About Spelling, but was struggling to see words with the letter tiles she had in front of her. She eventually caught on and was quickly making words on her own. Her sister, Rose, was a little quirky about this game. She would think of a word before she really looked at her letters. It took her a little while to figure out that she should look at her letters before she decided what word to use.
Remember the church game night I mentioned? I took Appleletters to game night and we had a great time playing with just the adults! I wasn’t sure how it would go over since it was created for a younger audience, but the four of us who played really had fun with our word building.
*I received Appleletters, Pairs in Pears, and Zip-It in exchange for an unbiased review. No other compensation was received.