7 Board Games To Improve Your Child's Vocabulary

Vocabulary board games are a fun way to improve your child’s knowledge of English! Here are seven board games to improve vocabulary that can help your child learn while having fun.

By Jasmine Kaur

7 Board Games To Improve Your Child's Vocabulary

Being proficient in a language is an important life skill. And, more so when it is English, which is now an international language with ever-increasing popularity. Being good in English is also important for your child because her education and future career prospects depend on it to a large degree. If you are a parent looking for board games to improve English vocabulary of your 8-year-old child or older, you are at the right place.

Here is our list of seven interesting board games for 7 to 8-year-old and 12 to 14-year-old boys to make them adept in the use of English language:

Best board games to improve English vocabulary

  1. Apples to apples
  2. Letter tycoon
  3. Once upon a time
  4. Upwords
  5. Scattergories
  6. Balderdash
  7. Funglish  

Apples to apples

This board game is suitable for 12 years and above.

This board game is about making comparisons. There’s a saying ‘you can’t compare apples to oranges’, but while this game doesn't contradict this adage, it's all about comparing ‘apples to apples’. The game requires 4 to 10 players, sitting in a circle. At the beginning, a set of cards is distributed among players. One of the players, who is also the judge, places a card from his set in the middle of the circle. On the card is written a description. Now, from the cards the other players have, they have to choose and present the one which best fits the description. The judge then selects the best card to announce the winner. The players then move on to the next round with a new judge. This is a fun game which also helps children learn synonyms.

Letter tycoon

This board game is suitable for 8 years and above.

This game doesn’t just help children with their vocabulary skills, but also their understanding of economics. In this card game, players build words using letter cards and receive money for that. Players can use the money they earn to buy letters. They can also patent the words they made to earn more money. This way, the players can build an empire around words. At the end, the one with the highest score wins.

Once upon a time

This board game is suitable for 14 years and above.

The game gets its name from the often-used phrase in fairy tales. The objective of the game is to tell a story. So, one player acts as the storyteller and uses his set of cards to come up with a story, while the other players try to disrupt the story by giving their own twist to it through their cards. They do this to take over the position of the storyteller. This game doesn’t lay emphasis on winning or losing; however, the winner can be decided based on who uses all the cards first with the 'Happy Ever After' card used at the end.

Upwords

This board game is suitable for 8 years and above.

A funhouse version of Scrabble, this board game adds another dimension to word-building, literally. Along with creating words horizontally and vertically on the board, in this game, the words can also be 'built' in the ‘upword’ direction; that is, letters can be placed one on top of the other to form a stack. Players have to create words from the seven letters they have and the letters that are already on the board. The objective is to score the most points possible.

Scattergories

This board game is suitable for 13 years and above.

The name of this board game is a play on the word ‘categories’ and revolves around classification of things. All players are given a category, for example, ‘vegetables’ or ‘vehicles’. The players then have to come up with names of objects that fit the categories. There’s another catch — the name of an object has to start with a letter chosen randomly. Whoever makes the most number of words, especially ones that haven’t been made before, scores the most points.

If you have a young child who is interested in playing, you can assign her a random category and a letter of your choice.

Balderdash 

This board game is suitable for 8 years and above.

The word balderdash means ‘nonsense’. The game begins by choosing a player to be the ‘dasher’. The ‘dasher’ picks a card at random and reads aloud the word written on it, which is usually a word that the players haven't heard before. The dasher also writes down the definition of the word on a piece of paper. Next, all the other players write down their own possible definition of the word. Those who write the correct definition get 3 points, while those who guess the correct one get 2. Then the players get 1 point for every other player who thought their definition was correct. Thought the rules may seem confusing at first, it’s a fun game to learn new words and their meanings.

Funglish 

This board game is suitable for 12 years and above.

The title of this board game is a combination of two words — ‘fun’ and ‘English’ — and its objective is to let the players have fun with English. Three or more players are needed to play this game with the help of tiles which have descriptions written on them. One player is given a card with 6 words. This player has to get the other players to guess the words within a time limit of 3 minutes. There’s no acting or talking. The player has to give clues to other players using the words 'definitely', 'definitely isn't' and 'might be'. For example, if the word is ‘pink’ – the clues can be definitely is a colour, definitely isn’t a bird and might be worn by boys.

Spell buzz

The objective of this vocabulary board game is to help your child learn the spelling of various words. This one of the best games for kids between 5 and 7 years old. Every player has to pull out a piece (called a bee) and spell the word mentioned on it. This board game can be played between 1 and 10 players; so, your child’s friends can also join in to have fun. 

With so many options to choose from, you can bring home a game that your child is sure to enjoy and improve her vocabulary. So, go on and let the fun begin!

See also: Board Game Party Ideas For Kids

About the expert:

Reviewed by Arundhati Swamy on 24 October 2019. 

Arundhati Swamy holds a master’s degree in Social Work with specialisation in Family and Child Welfare from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is currently a Counselor for a number of leading schools in the city.

About the author:

Written by Jasmine Kaur on 25 December 2018. Last updated on 13 May 2020.

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