By Molly Bruner, CF/SLP
Zingo! (2-9 players, age 4+) In this variation on Bingo, kids match pictures and words as they try to fill their card and be the first to shout “Zingo!” The game can help kids improve vocabulary and reading skills, matching, and memory.
What’s Gnu? (2-6 players, age 5-8) This is a fun game for new readers, and a great confidence builder. Kids create words using the letter cards and build reading, word recognition, vocabulary, and spelling skills.
Guess Who? Traditional game that now has many different versions. This game focuses on formulating questions, vocabulary, problem solving and describing.
Clue Jr.(2-5 players, age 5+) Traditional game just for younger players!. This game provides ample opportunity for question and answering and problem-solving.
Where is the Sock Monkey? (ages 4+) A cross between Twenty Questions and Clue, this game gives wiggly preschoolers and young grade-schoolers a lesson in deductive reasoning and a chance to race around the house, Your preschooler or kindergartner won’t be able to read the questions, but she can figure them out from the illustration—a decoding strategy that will come in handy when she learns to read. The game also gives her practice in asking questions, listening for the answers, following directions and putting clues together—all crucial skills for the classroom.
I Spy Ready to Read Game, (1-6 players, ages 4+) This is another matching game that helps kids practice their visual skills and letter recognition. But even better, this game is based on rhymes, which help your child become more aware of language structure by hearing the syllables in each word and sentence.
Animal Mastermind Towers Making (ages 5-7) Because your child must remember her opponent’s answers, Animal Mastermind Towers helps boost memory as well as deductive skills (“If the penguin isn’t below the hippo but above the giraffe, maybe the order is giraffe, penguin, hippo, lion!”). Making up a code teaches strategy, a useful skill for helping your child decide how to tackle any situation, in the classroom or on the playground.
Rory’s Story Cubes This is an open-ended games that don’t involve winning. This game has the added benefit of getting your child ready to write more complex stories. It’s recommended for kids 8 and up, but younger ones can play too. The sketches on the cubes are abstract enough that your child can interpret them any way she wants, which is great for spurring her imagination. She’ll also learn to create stories with beginnings, middles and endings, turn something abstract into something more concrete and how to spin an entertaining story.