Bananagrams: The game which will drive you bananas!

The world of home schooling is a distant memory now in Ireland. Your role as a teacher went back to a parent. Did it drive you bananas or did you love to be there to see your child learn? The learning does not need to end because the home schooling has. Did you ever think about learning through play? A great way to do this is to try some easy fun games! You distract your child into learning while having lots of fun with you along the way. Why not try some new games! One great game for spelling, focus and learning how to race against the clock is Bananagrams !


Like Scrabble, but not like Scrabble !
When you first look at Bananagrams you may think it looks a lot like scrabble. But when playing Scrabble, you use letter tiles and a board and you take turns. The object when playing is to score more points than other players. You place words on the game board and collect points. Each letter that you use in the game will have a different point value. You want to play words that have a high score based on the mixture of letters. With Bananagrams you also use word tiles to form words but the similarity stops there. Bananagrams is a game of speed, the object of the game is to use all your tiles before the other players. There is no board, no turn taking and you can change the words as many times as you like.
How to play Bananagrams
You start with a “bunch” of tiles in the centre of the table! Each player takes tiles from this bunch and puts them face down in front of them.
The number of tiles depends on the number of people who are playing Bananagrams. You can play anything from 2 to 8 players:
2-4 People: each player takes 21 letters from the bunch.
5-6 People: each player takes 15 letters from the bunch.
7-8 People: each player takes 11 letters from the bunch.
Once everyone has their tiles to start any player can say “SPLIT!” Everybody then turns their tiles up the right way. Then it is a race to form their own crossword grid of connecting words.
You can arrange your words across or down. They need to be going from left to right or top to bottom. Players can arrange and rearrange their own words as often as they want. You don’t take any turns in Bananagrams, everyone works on their own crossword at the same time. It’s all about the speed!
Once a player uses all their letters in a crossword, they shout “PEEL!” and takes a tile from the bunch. The fun part is when this happens, everybody has to take a tile and add it to their letters.
During the game if you come across a letter you cannot use, you can return it to the bunch in the middle of the table. But if you do this you need to take three letters in return. The player shouts “DUMP!” to do this. The other players don’t need to do anything at this stage. There is no limit to the number of times you can “DUMP”.
How to Win Bananagrams
The game goes on until there are fewer tiles in the bunch than there are players. At that point, the first player to use ALL their letters in the word grid shouts “BANANAS!” and is the winner!
Other players can now check the winning grid. If it has a misspelled word or incorrect word, the other players call out “ROTTEN BANANA!” and that player is out of the game. The player returns their letters to the BUNCH face down. Play goes on for the other players until one of them calls out “BANANAS!” It’s good to have a dictionary on hand for quizzing any of the words. 
A game for all the family
It’s not only the kids who will enjoy Bananagrams, it’s a game for all the family. Bananagrams is great fun for adults and kids alike. Because there is no turn taking the smaller kids don’t get bored waiting for others to take their turn. As Bananagrams is a fun and frantic race to the finish adults get swept up in the competition. It’s a great game to play anywhere. When we get outside our 5km limit and can travel again it’s an excellent game for throwing in the suitcase. In the meantime we hope the days of home schooling will soon be behind us and the days of fun for all the family are ahead. When the only thing which will drive us bananas is losing another game of Bananagrams to a seven year old!
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