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Board games to help improve literacy skills in young children

Board games have come to play an essential role in early childhood development and it has been proven that a “play to learn” approach is highly effective. Board games aren’t only there to teach kids how to play fair lose with grace either. Their value surpasses far beyond just social development.

There are thousands of board games on the market aimed at helping kids learn from an early age by developing many foundation level skills. Games involve colors, shapes, numeracy, literacy, logic, and more. Here is a look at the best board games to help improve literacy skills in young children while letting them have fun along the way.

Tall Tales: The Game of Infinite Storytelling

Everyone knows it is important to foster a love for reading with young children, but the art of storytelling is often neglected. Kids need to be encouraged to tap into their creative side and create their own wonderful stories and Tall Tales is the perfect way to get their creative juices flowing.

The game has 50 charming 3D game pieces and 24 story cards, leaving you with an infinite number of stories to be told. This game encourages kids to put down their phones and tablets and get back to the grassroots of fantasy. For children who are old enough to write, it is a great idea to get them to write their stories down. Who knows, you could even create a family fairytale novel!


This is one of the most basic educational games that has been around since the early 70s. Shake the letter cubes to randomize them and see how many words you can spot in the given time. This game is fun for the whole family and the added time pressure makes it highly competitive too.

As you identify words, kids can broaden their vocabulary by learning opposites, tenses, and affixes. See how many new words you can learn per game or set a target for the number of words you need to reach before the game can be over. This game is great for promoting abstract thinking as the words aren’t linear and require some imagination.

Apples to Apples: Junior

This family game night staple is regularly featured on board game reviews as one of the best literacy games for kids. The green set contains cards with descriptive words (adjectives) on them and the red stack is filled with places, people, events, and things (nouns). Each player gets to play a red card that they think can be compared to the judge’s green card and must be able to defend their choice.

Standing your ground by using reason and logic is a key component to winning this game. Kids will learn how to think independently and creatively, critical skills to improve literacy. There is basic reading involved so it is best suited for kids from 7 and up, or who have basic reading skills.


Literacy games can sometimes be exhausting on young minds so it is a good idea to have games that can be played quickly and easily. Bananagrams is the perfect in-between game to add to a game night or even at the end of a homework session.

Mix the bag of lettered tiles and place them face down in the center of the table. Race to turn over the tiles you have been dealt and place them in a crossword formation as you create words. Kinesthetic learners greatly benefit from this way of playing as they can manipulate the tiles and see the words grow.

It comes in a fun banana shaped pouch and can be carried along wherever you go, turning almost any surface into a game board. It lacks the structure given by scrabble, but it helps younger players think out of the box and get a chance to create words of their own level.

There are board games for kids as young as 2 or three years old, all of which are designed to help develop the cognitive abilities of young minds. Nurture their love for learning and playing from an early age to see your children blossom into literary loving individuals! We’ve got a design your own board game activity they might love too.

We hope you like these ideas for board games to improve literacy skills in kids, why not check out some of the other literacy skills ideas that we have on the site?

Literacy ideas on KiddyCharts

Here are some of the resources that we have on KiddyCharts to help improve kids literacy, including some writing prompts for them.

And some writing prompt ideas from off site too:

Writing prompt ideas from the internet

Some more ideas for writing prompts to help with literacy from the internet and fellow children's sites.

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This is a collaborative post.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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