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Letter or word game recommendations for young want to be reader

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking of something like boggle or scrabble for a 2 year old that is starting to sound out words and just starting to learn to take turns and follow directions.  Any recommendations?  Are there any letter or number oriented board games or card games your kids have loved at this young age? 

post #2 of 14

Fridge magnets? Free-form exploration seemed best for my kids at that age: none of the rules or structure that they weren't ready for.



post #3 of 14

I have to say my daughter also really like the fridge magnets the leapfrog word and letter magnets.  She will be 2 sunday and she always askes to make words for her with them.  Also in the bath with the foam letters.  I tried go fish and candyland but she really wants to make her own rules very bossy :).

post #4 of 14
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Fridge magnets? Free-form exploration seemed best for my kids at that age: none of the rules or structure that they weren't ready for.



Ditto this.


Unless you have a 2 just about to turn 3--free form type activities work well for creativity, teamwork, learning social skills, and can easily be adapted to academic level.


At 2/young 3 my kiddos LOVED the Leapfrog fridge magnets, any kind of card (animal cards, word cards we made, letter cards, etc), simple 2-3 piece word w/ a picture puzzles (you can find at teaching stores, not puzzles that come in a box- rather puzzles like C-A-T in three pieces that had a picture of a cat on top of the word), sorting jars ( colors, letter sounds, numbers, etc- easy to make your own with small objects around the house and tupperware containers), I Spy books, Tangrams, foam letters/numbers to play with, pattern blocks, and geoboards.  We also got a bunch of rubber duckies at the party store and wrote letters, colors, numbers, etc on the bottom...DDs really really liked taking turns and picking them up to identify what was on the bottom. We also started basic dominos around age 3 (large dominos) and just matched them up (vs playing game).


eeboo makes some really nice basic games that are open ended (story cards, patterning, etc) but do have multi-levels of play so they will last you a long time developmentally speaking.


We did start to do Starfall.com at age 3, they got severely limited time- but did enjoy it if you do computer time.



FWIW- My kids disliked both Boggle Jr, Scrabble Jr, and Zingo (starter reader games) because by the time they could sit/take turns/follow the goal of a game(and handle winning/not winning) the games were not challenging enough and they disliked the limited word creations you could make.

post #5 of 14

We love games, always been a big fan and my kids usually start playing them before they turn 2 (not always knowing exactly how, but try).  Not all of these will encourage letter recognition/reading, but simple enough that they are good first games to learn to take turns, etc...


If you can find Letter Factory game, it's a great game.  But, it's not made anymore

Cranium Cariboo (I think the new version is Island)

I spy preschool

Cranium Balloon Lagoon

Boggle Junior is good for a simple spell the words as you see them as is Scrabble Jr, but the actual game part I don't like
We love Zingo and even the adults love it

Sequence Letters


I know there is more but those are the ones of the top of my head

post #6 of 14

We have played lot of made-up word games on the fly. (The only board games we own are Orchard and Candyland.)


What does this word start with?

How many words can you rhyme with this word?

How many words can you say that start with this letter, these two letters?

How many words can you think of that end in this letter? 


(DD was obsessed with learning how to read and these games just spontaneously happened.  Actually, I came up with the above examples.  The ones she came up with are really unique and I am too embarrassed to list them.  She was really obsessed for awhile there...)


DD also made up games like dividing the letter cards into a vowel pile and consonant pile and then creating CVC words.  She also made up a game where I am to give her a word, she takes it up to the top of her slide, she reads it, slides down the slide, and then throws the word in her shopping cart. 


She is a really aural kid.  Her favorite word game right now is just memorizing how to spell words.  She balks at actually reading books and cannot write right now so this is all she has.  It is almost like she is building a large "hearing word" (as opposed to sight word) vocabulary in her head.  I know she can sound out some easy CVC words in her head.  I have heard her sound them out. Once, she even said "let me just read the word in my head," which I thought was really profound because I never used anything like that expression before.  But, she is definitely just memorizing longer words like b-a-b-y, t-r-e-e, and p-i-n-k.  So, she is memorizing how to spell words without ever having seen them written down or sounding them out, and she is really getting a kick out of that this week.

post #7 of 14
We do the word games on the fly too, but my mom passed on an old boggle jr back when dd was tiny and she's enjoyed playing with it in different ways for years. She just had it out this week and was doing it the hardest way (but still sans timer bc it's loud and annoying!)
post #8 of 14
My 2yo DS is not especially interested in learning to read but he does LOVE turn-taking, structured games...

One very simple game he especially enjoys is laying out a bunch of cards (he has some animal flashcards with animals on one side, letters on the other, for ex., though we use mostly the animal side) and then ask each other to find the ____. So I'll say, "Can you find the anteater?" and he'll take the card & put it in his pile and then says, "Mommy, can you find the iguana?" You could do something similar with letter cards. We sometimes make the game more complex, like, "Can you find an animal with feathers?" so you could do a variation of that, "Can you find a letter that sounds like sssssss?" or "Which letter is at the beginning of 'tree'?" In general, we have so much fun with flashcards. He likes to identify them & then line them up... he also likes to play a simplified version of "Go Fish"... we made matching cards so we play matching games or memory (and you could do this with letters and match capitals with lowercase or something).

I can't think of any board games to do with letters/words really -- most of the board games he likes are things like Candyland, Sorry, etc. I think there are Junior versions of Scrabble, UpWords, Boggle, etc. so maybe try those???
post #9 of 14

Whizizzle is a phonics game that is like Uno. 



Leapster has lots of letter recognition games and phonics games available.


Smart Cycle also has lots of letter recognition games available. 

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the great suggestions!  He still loves his fridge magnets, but I am oh so bored of them and looking for other games to play. 

post #11 of 14

It's not a reading game, but involves some letters and reading... My kids really liked Great States Junior (still do but now we're thinking of upgrading to the non-Junior one).  It just involves searching the map for whatever the question card asks for (a state beginning with M, or the picture that matches the card, etc.)

post #12 of 14

I second the Leap Frog fridge phonics toy. My older daughter loved it and took in everything it said. My youngest didn't play with it at all but she doesn't like anything that is noisy.

post #13 of 14
Love all the ideas! My 3yo is definitely eager for more of these. thumb.gif
post #14 of 14

I take letter cards and make cvc words. Then I ask her to change on letter to make a new word. She really enjoys this. I also do things with word families. I will write them down and she will sound them out.  I also found alphabet books that have one book per letter. She really enjoyed reading these.

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