Every once in a while, it’s nice to have an easy word game. Here’s one that starts easy, but gets surprisingly challenging. It works great in a small classroom or on a family road trip, and is appropriate for all ages.
How to Win: Be the last person to say a word.
How to Play:
The game starts with one person saying a word, then play progresses clockwise around the table, car, or classroom. On your turn, say a word that
- has the same number of letters as the previous word, AND
- starts with the letter that the previous word ended with, AND
- hasn’t been said before.
If you can’t come up with a word, you’re out and play passes to the next player. Don’t worry. No one stays out for long.
If the first word has no match, there is no winner and the next person starts a new game. For example “a” is impossbile to match. So is “I.”
Plural words are allowed, but you can make the game harder by eliminating both plurals and past tense.
Adapting for Younger Kids:
We allow every player to get one clue during the game. This gives everyone one chance to get past a word that is very tough.
Want to play hard core? Try to make every one of your words end with the same letter. After just a few turns, you’ll see the player who comes after you really start to sweat.
The first word is important, because every word after that will be the same length. Start with “the” and you’re headed for a short game. Start with a five-letter word to stretch things out. Surprisingly, seven and eight letter words also make for a good-length game.
When a player says a word, have them use it in a sentence. This both adds an opportunity for people to be funny, and an element of education.
More importantly, the game really gets kids thinking about suffixes, prefixes, and other word variations. Adding an “s” or “ing” is obvious. Putting words in past tense is a little more of a stretch, as is adding an “er” (which can add either one or two letters: bluer or yellower). What about adding “able,” as in “wearable”, or “ative”, as in “creative”?
In addition to being the editor and web guy for Games for Educators, Patrick Matthews is the author of Dragon Run. He also designs games and builds web sites. Stop by DaddyTales for a quick laugh, or check out Live Oak Games to see some of his award-winning games.