Bananagrams is a great way to get students thinking and to practice spelling and word recall skills. Students also have an opportunity to practice using a dictionary to check the spelling on each others crosswords. By using categories, such as spelling words, vocabulary words, or nouns, students get that extra practice on the skills being taught in class. What better way to get students excited about spelling than having them play a competitive game of making words!
BANANAGRAMS (2-7 players)
Step1: Place all 144 tiles face down in the center of the table. These tiles are called the BUNCH.
Step 2: Everyone then takes tiles from the bunch and puts them in front of them, face-down. The number of tiles you take depends on the number of people playing:
2-4 People: each player takes 21 letters.
5-6 People: each player takes 15 letters.
7 People: each player takes 11 letters.
Step 3: Once everyone’s ready, any player can start the game by saying “SPLIT!” Everybody then turns their tiles face up and starts forming their own crossword collections of intersecting and connecting words.
IMPORTANT: Words can be horizontal or vertical, going from left to right or top to bottom. Players can rearrange their own words as often as they want. There are no turns in Bananagrams, everyone works on their own crossword independently of each other. It’s a race to the finish!!!
Step 4: When a player successfully uses all their letters in a crossword, he or she says “PEEL!” and takes a tile from the bunch. When this happens, everybody has to take a tile and add it to their collection of letters.
Step 5: At any time (and as often as they like), a player can return a troublesome letter back to the bunch (face-down, of course). The catch is that they must take three letters in return. The player declares this by saying “DUMP!”. This doesn’t affect any of the other players.
Step 6: Play continues until there are fewer tiles in the bunch than there are players. At that point, the first player with no remaining letters shouts “BANANAS!” and is the winner!
Step 7: But it’s not home free for the winner yet! The other players now inspect his or her hand for misspelled or incorrect words. (You can’t use proper nouns like names, and we recommend using a print or online dictionary to keep things fair).
If the words are acceptable, than that player is the WINNER.
If any word is unacceptable, that player becomes the “ROTTEN BANANA” and is out of that hand. He or she returns all their letters face down to the bunch and the game resumes for the remaining players.
A=13, B=3, C=3, D=6, E=18, F=3, G=4, H=3, I=12, J=2, K=2, L=5, M=3, N=8, O=11, P=3, Q=2, R=9, S=6, T=9, U=6, V=3, W=3, X=2, Y=3, Z=2.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO PLAY
A hand can take as little as 5 minutes, so players, if desired, could play for the "best of 5" or "best of 10".
This is a less hectic version of Bananagrams. All tiles are placed face down on the table. The letters are divided equally among players, remaining face down. Players then play a game of Bananagrams, but without "peeling" or "dumping". The first player to use all of his/her letters shouts "BANANAS!!" and is the winner of that hand. If the game ends in a stalemate, the player with the fewest remaining letters is the winner.
Place the pouch on the table. Each player takes 21 tiles from the pouch, and proceeds to play the regular game with "dumping" but with NO "peeling". The first player to use all his/her letters says "BANANAS!!!" and is the winner.
This is a one player version of Bananagrams. Place all letters down on the center of the table. Take 21 letters and proceed to play the game. Only peel when needed. Try to beat your own best time in using all 144 letters, or try making as few words to use all 144 letters. This can be a relaxing way of honing your Bananagrams skills. Advanced players could create their own versions by limiting the acceptable words to a special category, such as animals, food and drink, etc.
Skills to Practice Using Bananagrams
-Palindrome Words (same forwards and backwards: noon, mom, dad, etc.) Semi-Palindrome (rat/tar, dog/god, live/evil, ton/not)
-Categories - nouns, animals, spelling words, vocabulary words, inanimate objects, adjectives, etc.
*Game rules come from Bananagrams website. (bananagrams.com)