What’s the Good Word?

How many times have we told our kids to “Use your words!”? These great new games will give kids some extra practice doing just that.

Word Rush (Tactic Games)

word rushAnother game where you come up with words that match a certain category. But this one has a few new twists. First, once a category card has been selected, players turn over nine letter cards and then take turns listing words that start with one of those letters. Second, the instant you’ve said your word, you flip over the sand timer and the next player has to say a word and flip the timer back over before time runs out. The faster you answer, the less time you leave the next player. Of course, you can adjust the rules to make things easier or more challenging. Under $18. For 2-6 players, ages 8+. http://www.tactic.net

Word Slam (Thames & Kosmos)

word slamYep, another get-your-team-to-guess-the-answer game. But with a few twists. First, two teams compete at the same time. Second, although the game is kind of like charades, the “storyteller” (the player who’s supposed to guide his or her teammates to the right answer) can’t speak, sing, or act and has to give clues using one of 105 word cards that feature an adjective, noun, preposition, or verb. For example, if the answer is “school.” Storytellers might lay out cards with building, child, place, and day. or for “GPS Unit,” clues might include technology and man. Comes with 200 answer cards (with a total of 1,200 terms divided into four difficulty levels, card holders, a timer, and more. Under $26. For two teams, ages 12 and up. http://www.thamesandkosmos.com

Show Me the Kwan (Griddly Games)

show me the kwanIn this fast-paced, someone picks a category card and players call out words that correspond to the flock of lettered dice. But as you might expect, there’s a twist. One of the dice says 1st, 2nd, or Last, and that’s where the place in the word where the dice on the table must appear. For example, if the category is “with a tail’” and the 2nd die is showing, correct answers might include oTter, aLbatross, mOnkey, and oCelot. $12.50. Ages 8+ http://playgriddlygames.strikingly.com

Wild Cards (Chronicle Books)

wild cardsThis game is a variation on the classic game of War, but with a deck of beautiful animals (illustrated by Richard McGuire) that are ranked by where they are in the food chain. Higher cards defeat lower cards, but Wild Cards beat everything. For added fun, younger kids can sort animals into categories (ocean, forest, jungle, savannah, and arctic), or use the cards as conversation starters to talk about the environment. $12.99. Ages 5+. https://www.chroniclebooks.com

Llamanoes (Chronicle Books)

llamanoesIf you guessed that this game is dominoes, but with llamas instead of dots, you’re only half right. True, there are no dots, but figuring out which pieces match up with each other is a bit more complicated. For example, You’ll need to match Llama-nardo da Vinci’s (and many other zany characters’) top and bottom. It’s great for busting boredom, develops matching skills, and stimulates childish giggles, a sound that makes life worth living… Includes 28 llamanoes. $12.99. For 2-4 players, ages 3+. https://www.chroniclebooks.com

Superhero Snap! Card Game (Laurence King)

superhero snap!Divide the deck in two, cards face down. Players then turn over one card at a time into the center area. When superheroes or villains (none of whom you’ve ever seen or heard of) match, the first player to shout “Snap!” wins all the face up cards. First player with all the cards wins the game. For two players. http://www.laurenceking.com