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Scrabble for Younger Kids

Games kids love: Scrabble


There are few board games that my kids enjoy long before they learn how to play using the proper rules, and Scrabble is one of them! The great thing about games like this is that they grow with your child – and they tend to remain interesting throughout adulthood, since the rules change as you grow! Today I’m sharing some easy ways  to adapt Scrabble for younger kids, just like we simplified Monopoly.

I link to Scrabble as well as a few related products in this post. This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

Adapting Scrabble for Kids

We adapt our Scrabble play based on our kids’ ages. All of my kids adore travel Scrabble because the pieces lock into place so neatly. They have played it at my sister’s house; for now we only have traditional Scrabble (with pieces that slide around on the board), but we may invest in the travel version as a family gift this Christmas.

For two-year-old Anna, this is a (supervised, since the pieces are so small) fine motor game. Anna really has to focus to get the pieces into the squares! She has an easier time with the travel version of this game, since she can count on the pieces staying in place.

Five-year-old Lily mostly plays with the different letters, placing them randomly around the board. Lily is starting kindergarten this fall, and playing with the Scrabble pieces is a great way for her to get more familiar with the letters of the alphabet, and to see them as being fun to manipulate.

Six-year-old Johnny (starting first grade this month) enjoys spelling as many words as he can with the Scrabble tiles. He does not usually get the words all lined up perfectly, but he does enjoy swapping tiles out to spell new words. I think Johnny would really love Upwords, but it doesn’t seem to be made any more – pity, because Mike and I both remember loving it as kids!

Eight-year-old Emma really enjoys playing Scrabble properly. Emma loves words, and she is even learning how to use the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary!

Does your family play Scrabble? Do you change the games of traditional board games?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

13 thoughts on “Scrabble for Younger Kids”

  1. I think you have inspired me to get out our scabble game! It would be great letter practice for my soon to be first grader.

  2. Scrabble is one of those games you either LOVE or HATE, and I’m in the hate category. Despite a fairly good vocabulary and fairly decent pattern recognition, I’m just not good at word games like this. Mostly because I always seem to draw the wrong tile combination.

    Mini-rant about Scrabble aside, I’ve not had my tea yet this morning, so my thoughts are less cogent. I love your adaptations for little guys. I hadn’t really thought about the pieces for fine motor play. That’s a good idea.

  3. We dont play scrabble much at our house but my school kids love to use the letters to spell out their spelling test words for the week, I started it with my eldest who is not a big fan of writing as a different and fun way to memorize them and it seems to work

  4. The Scrabble set I had growing up had the nice nooks so the tiles stayed in place, which I wish I still had. The one I have now just lays flat, but yeah I think my 4yo would love learning to spell his own words!

  5. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    Great adaptations! We have classic Scrabble, but it’s not a favorite game in the house. My 7 year old has a lot of other favorites, so we rarely get to play. Too bad, because I like the game!

  6. Elisa | blissful E

    Upwords isn’t made any more?? That’s disappointing. My husband and kids love playing chess. They adapt the game with a handicap for Ben. He plays with just a king and pawns until a child wins three times against him. Then the child gets to pick another piece for Ben to add.

  7. My little one loves scrabble. We have the same one as pictured. Having kiddies 13 yrs apart provides many unique experiences. This game brings the kids together in a special way. My son is surprisingly tolerant of his lil sister making up rules along the way. Thanks Mamasmiles!!

  8. We love Scrabble. John and I play an alternate version for just us. We don’t keep score but we have to have all of the tiles by the end of the game on the board (trying not to skip turns). That way we’re working as a team rather than competing. We haven’t played Scrabble yet with J, but I’m sure he’d love it (we have my board game from my 7th bday). I also remember loving Upwords! For other word games, we recently played “In a Pickle” with J, and he loved it. We’re considering introducing him to Apples to Apples. If you want to try those games, you guys can come play with us :-)

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