Your little word lovers don’t need to have memorized the dictionary to be able to have fun playing Scrabble. In fact, with these variations, they can have fun while learning to recognize letters and spell words. Read on for four ways to play Scrabble with almost any age.

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Simple Spelling Scrabble

Using two, three and four letter words practice building on other words like you would in a regular game of Scrabble. (You can decide the limit of letters based on your kid’s reading/spelling abilities.) Take turns, draw new tiles, but make this a less competitive game: the focus is more about learning to see how words form. In this version you can leave out blank titles and even scoring altogether. Check out our two-letter word list for kids for ideas.

Scrabble Jr.

You don’t need a special board, just adjust the rules a little based on age and level. For younger kids, you may want to avoid using the blank tiles. Skip the extras like triple letter scores until they’re ready. Keep score and play according to regular rules. Have a dictionary handy to help look up words and spelling.

Phonetic Fun

Dump the tiles out in one big pile, flip them over so you can see the letters. (You can play this one with Bananagrams too). Let your kiddos find and spell out words on the board without worrying about connecting them together. They can sound out words and search for the letters. It’s okay if the words aren’t spelled exactly right! This one is about sounds and searching.

Rhyming Word Hunt

Use the tiles to spell out a word that has a lot of rhyming cousins. For example, “bike” and then let the kids find letters to create the rhyming word. M for mike, L for like, etc. If you are keeping score, award a point for each time your child finds a rhyming word and bonus points if they can use it in a sentence.

Do you play Scrabble with your kiddos? Do you have a rule variation for the littles? Share your tricks with us in the comments below.

—Amber Guetebier