Recently I wrote about Word Games to Play With Kids. Today I want to expand that list to include digital word games suitable for children to play with supervision, some online and others for iPad. The latter include links to my reviews, where possible. If you're interested in discovering new iPad apps for kids, do take a moment to check out my Pinterest board of all the apps I've reviewed.
Word Games Online
ABCya Letter Blocks: This is a good way for kids to practice spelling. They form words of between 3 and 8 letters by clicking on adjacent letters to make words.
ABCya Make Word Search Puzzle: This is a neat tool where kids can create their own word search puzzles. It's a great way to practice spelling words as children can enter whatever words they like, and choose to print or play online.
Wordshake: This is one of the games at the British Council's Learn English Kids website. There are 16 letters on a grid and players must attempt to make words with them. Kids are encouraged to try again to beat their own scores.
PBS Word World: This PBS site has games like Dog's Letter Pit, where kids need to make simple words by having a dog catch the letters. Older kids might enjoy Prankster Planet where there are many missions involving words for kids to complete.
Free Rice: The Free Rice website offers more than word games. There are quiz type games in Math, Geography, Languages, Chemistry, English, and Humanities. The word game is under the category: English/Vocabulary. Basically, kids choose the meaning of a given word from four possible examples. Even if children are young, they can ask Mom or Dad, and use a dictionary for help. The game will present missed words again until players get them right.
For each question a player gets right, the site donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Program to help end hunger. So children are not just playing, and testing their own vocabulary, but playing for the greater good of humanity. The game keeps score, recording the total rice grains a player has donated.
Merriam-Webster Games: Older kids and parents can challenge each other in games like crosswords, quizzes, and other word puzzles. It's a great way to build vocabulary, compete over words, and have fun.
Word Game Apps for iPad
Word Mover: The free Word Mover app is by ReadWriteThink. This is a digital version of word magnets, enabling kids to create poetry or sentences. They can use words from a bank or add their own, making it quite versatile.
Whirly Word: This is an app that focuses on one thing and does it well. You try to make words from letter supplied on a wheel, competing against yourself. It's free for a limited number of games. Many words are disallowed as the app developers seem to have filtered them out so as not to offend.
Wee Kids: This is a fairly simple app with several word games -- from find-a-words and memory matching through to crosswords. It caters for a range of ages/abilities. Not free.
Anagram Twist: In this word game, text needs to be unscrambled to create words. The interface is clear and simple. The game is free but you pay to unlock more puzzles.
Whether we play with concrete materials, in real life or online, our children benefit most by a parent or caregiver playing along too. Even if we're busy, it's important for our kids to see that we're interested in what they're doing and that we value word play as an educational and fun activity. With digital games, whether online or other apps, I believe it's imperative for parents to supervise their children.
What digital word games do you and your kids play? Let us know on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.