Best word games for children

Word board games for children
Expand vocabulary, develop spelling skills, learn about homophones, anagrams and synonyms and compose huge numbers of silly sentences... all while having a great time. Whether your child is 3 or 13, our favourite word board games and literacy card games offer fast-paced fun for the whole family.

Scrabble Junior, £21.99

Scrabble is the world's favourite word game – the original set has sold over one million units. Scrabble Junior is a simplified introduction to the game for kids aged 6 (the "Words and Pictures" board) or around 10 (the "Rainbow Scrabble" board on the other side). Pocket, card and app versions are also available if your child turns out to be a Scrabble obsessive!

Story Cubes, £9.99

Nine dice and a bit of imagination are all you need to start playing this engaging and non-competitive story-telling game. Over a million combinations are possible every time you roll, so take a deep breath, start with "Once upon a time..." and have some fun! Other sets with special Voyages, Intergalactic, Enchanted and Actions cubes are avaialble to expand the basic one.

Articulate for Kids, £19.99

The aim of the game is to describe as many words as possible to your team mates, without giving ‘begins with’ or ‘sounds like’ clues. This version has been adapted to be suitable for children aged 6+ but can be played multi-generationally, too. A great way to help children learn to express themselves and to expand vocabulary.

Bananagrams, £14.99

You don't need a pencil, paper or a board for this fast-paced anagram game, and it's super-portable so ideal for family journeys. There's no waiting for turns, as everyone is playing all the time, which makes it particularly suitable for impatient kids (and adults!), and it's easy to adapt for different numbers of players and different ages. A super-sized Jumbo version is also available to help exercise bodies as well as minds!

Pass the Word, £9.50

A fast-moving word game designed to boost children's ability to recognise words and spell correctly. Players race against the timer to put together a word as fast as possible; when the time runs out, the letters have to be passed on to the next player. The winner is the player who has completed most words at the end of the game. Suitable for 2 to 4 players and aimed at ages 5-9.

Boggle, £12.99

How many words can you find in the grid? The longer they are, the higher your score... but you've only got three minutes to compile your list. Have lightning-fast matches almost anywhere; the set is very sturdy and fits well in a parental handbag or rucksack for anytime play. (A Boggle app is also available if you prefer phone-play to dice-play!)

Silly Story Laboratory, £14.99

Start with a silly story (or an even sillier story). Add nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives (there are 200 magnetic ones to choose from) and create an even more ridiculous tale. This Happy Puzzle Company best-seller helps children understand how words are used to build sentences and texts, but they'll be so busy laughing at their own silliness, they won't even notice...

My first Making words snap and Making words snap, £4 each

Card decks to play classic games Snap and Pairs with, with a language focus. The aim is to Snap cards that create a word (b-u-g for the 5+ version, for example, and gr- and -eat for the 7+ version). To play Pairs, each player must find matching cards, remembering where they are on the table when turned face down.

Learning Resources Super Sleuth Vocabulary Game, £16.99

Homophones, synonyms and antonyms are the focus of the Super Sleuth Vocabulary Game, and there are codes to crack and mysteries to solve before you can win the game. You'll have to use the special decoder to check the answer concealed in the fingerprint on the back of the card, too! A super-spy way to boost vocabulary: challenging but great fun, too.

Learning Resources Word Construction, £22

Build basic word building skills in Reception and Year 1 children with this early literacy game. The 'nut' pieces are printed with letters; join them together on the 'bolts' to create words, from simple CVC (consonant vowel consonant) ones to more advanced options. A hands-on way to develop word recognition and early spelling.

WordARound, £14

Each of the words on these circular cards is positioned in one continuous ring; the challenge is to figure out where the word starts and read it out load before your opponents manage it. Easier said than done! This circular wordsearch game really helps widen children's vocabulary and word recognition (at speed!), and is ideal to play as a family. Though the children may well beat the adults...

WordzPlay, £15

Make your fridge into an ever-changing word board with the magnetic cards in WordzPlay sets (aimed at 5-6, 9-12 and 13-16). Each set comes with a magnetic frame (so you can display a "word of the week"), 52 magnetic word cards and 48 ’Test & Play’ sentence cards. Display the word cards in the kitchen and challenge the whole family to expand their vocabulary!

Zingo Word Builder, £15.99

A great game for early readers who are learning to put letters together to form words. There are two levels of play, which makes this perfect for older siblings to play with younger ones, and the simple rules (you start with simple three-letter words with one mising letter and then move to creating complete words by adding multiple letters) mean it's a great literacy confidence-booster.

Tiggly Words, £39.99

Tiggly toys interact with apps on your tablet to teach kids phonics, word building, spelling and the basics of grammar (though they'll think they're playing doctor or exploring an underwater world in a submarine!). With no batteries or wifi required, once you've downloaded the apps you're ready to play; the letters are just the right size for small hands to use and large enough not to get lost at the back of the sofa. Suitable for children aged 4 to 8, the games are beautifully produced and very engaging (our tester didn't want to play anything else for days!). The best kind of stealth-learning fun.

Fletter Card Game, £7.99

A fast-paced word game for all the family: every player must spot words in the letters placed before them – before the other players do! It's pocket-sized, can be played on-the-go with a minimum of two players and can be adapted for younger players, so everyone can join in, no matter how basic their spelling knowledge. A great game to keep in your handbag!

FReNeTiC, £22.99

Create more than 10,000 words from the letters of the periodic table and give both your literacy and your numeracy skills (not to mention your periodic-table-elements recall) a work-out with this family board game. FReNeTiC is a fast-paced word race in which all the players compete at once (great for younger kids who hate waiting for their turn) to form as many words as possible. Combining the best elements of both Scrabble and Boggle and suitable from age 8, individuals or teams, it offers just the right mix of luck, skill and strategy.