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Product: My First Bananagrams
Age Range: 4 years+
Manufacturer’s Description: My First Bananagrams utilises lowercase letters and word-building, combo-letter tiles to help nurture your child’s love for wordplay and word games. With multiple activities and mini games, they’ll enjoy a play-progression towards the original Bananagrams experience!
Review: Now that Lydia is in reception she is making great strides with both her reading and writing – she loves to spot digraphs in words, and has started to try and read all the signs and different words she sees when we are out and about. Georgie used to delight in this too and has turned into a complete bookworm, so both girls love the chance to play with words and letters with games like this one.
My First Banagrams is a tile based game that comes in a zip up green banana shaped pouch. Inside the banana you get the instructions sheet, 80 single letter tiles, and 13 various combo-letter tiles including ‘vowel teams’, ‘word families’ and of course some of Lydia’s beloved digraphs. A;; of the vowel tiles are yellow, they all use lower case letters, with a small line underneath each letter to indicate which way up the letters go.
The game is a really handy size for travel, making it ideal to take on holidays to play when the weather isn’t behaving (which as we take holidays around he UK is fairly often).
The main game to play with My First Banagrams just uses the single tiles; you place them all face down in the middle of the table (or in our case a slightly grubby rug) in a ‘BUNCH’ and then each player takes 15 tiles. One player shouts ‘SPLIT!’ and everyone turns over their tiles and tries to make an interconnecting word grid. You can swap a tile at any time with one of the face down tiles in the middle, and the first person to use all their tiles up shouts out ‘BANANAS!’. For more advanced play, you can also use the combo letter tiles, with each player taking two of the combos along with their 15 single letter tiles.
Both the girls enjoyed the game, although Lydia needed a little extra help forming words – I was able to give her hints leading to the words, and she put the letters together herself though.
On the back of the instructions are various ways to play with the tiles for children at all reading levels; pre-schooler, early reader, and reader. These games range from spelling out your name or the alphabet with the single letter tiles, to combining the combo tiles and single tiles to create words.
Lydia & Georgie played a variation of these suggestions by picking out one of the various combo tiles at a time and then adding one or two6 single letter tiles to form words, which they then wrote down on paper. This had the added bonus of them both getting to practise their writing.
As you can tell, this game is great for helping young children with their word formation and spelling, as well as encouraging them to develop their puzzle solving abilities. We give My First Banangrams 5 stars.