Backyard Spelling Game
Spell it out, outside! This game puts a super-size spin on an old classic -- and boosts basic literacy skills -- by transforming word-building into an active learning challenge.
- For a 72-piece game set, purchase a 4- by 8-foot sheet of Masonite from a home improvement store (ours was 3/16 inch thick, about $14 at Lowe's). At the store, have it cut into 8-inch squares (you may be charged a service fee).
- Wipe each square with a damp cloth, let it dry, and apply a 6-inch press-on vinyl letter to it. We used two 48-letter sets ($8.99 each at Staples), discarding duplicates of less commonly used letters (Q, X) and including all the vowels.
- Stack the tiles facedown in a few piles. Give each player a wire basket or a bin and have her pick ten squares. The first player places letters on the ground to form a word, then draws a corresponding number of new tiles. (If she's stumped, she can skip her turn and swap up to five tiles for new ones.)
- The next player lays out a word that connects with the first, crossword style. When the tiles run out and no more words can be formed, the game ends. The player left with the fewest tiles wins.