5 great games to improve your child's vocabulary

By Kate Bibby

06 Apr 2022

Two people playing a vocabulary game to improve their literacy.

Why play literacy games?

Vocabulary games are a fantastic way to boost your children's learning, while ensuring that they find fun in all things literacy. In the long term, this satisfies children's need for play while setting in place the fundamentals of reading for pleasure, as well as improving their vocabulary skills.

In this blog, we'll share five of our favourite literacy games to enjoy at home.

1. Roy's Story Cubes

Recommended for ages 5+

This set consists of nine dice with a total of 54 images. The challenge is to roll the dice and find a way of linking the six images on the top face of each into a story. It’s a wonderful way to spark children’s (and adults’!) imagination. Apparently there are ten million possible story combinations.

Available from shops, including The Happy Puzzle Company, at around £11.99.

2. Upwords

Recommended for ages 8+

Reminiscent of Scrabble, in this game players build their word game by stacking letters upwards. The higher the stack, the higher the score. How high can your child build their stack? It’s a great challenge for competitive youngsters.

Available from shops, including Amazon, at around £24.99.

3. Think Words

Recommended for ages 8+

How fast can you think of a word? In this game, players have ten seconds to think of a word relevant to the selected card – which might say ‘round things’ or ‘wild animals’ – then press the corresponding letter and pass to the next player. If they can’t think of an answer in time, they are out of the round. A ticking timer adds extra pressure, and tension mounts as the letters get used! The last person left in play wins.

Available from shops, including Smyths Toys, at around £15.99.

4. ThinkFun Word A Round

Recommended for ages 8+

Who knew that positioning a word in one continuous ring would make it so tricky to read? The challenge with this game is to quickly figure out where the word starts and to read it aloud before your opponents manage to. It sounds simple – but is it?

The cards contain a total of 300 words.

Available from shops, including Amazon, at around £12.

5. The Silly Book of Weird and Wacky Words

Recommended for ages 7+

OK, so this is a book – but it’s a book with games, so we feel we can include it here. If you’re looking to engage your child with the strange and wonderful English language, this book – full of tongue twisters, spoonerisms, rhyming slang, puns and plain gibberish – will delight. This poem is one of our favourites.

"One-one was a race horse

Two-two was one too

One-one won one race

Two-two won one too."

Available from bookshops, including Waterstone’s, RRP £6.99.