Word Families

Teaching children to read can be difficult. To get off to a good start you should read to them at least 10 minutes per day, bedtime stories are excellent for this. As they progress you can read together. But there are other ways too, including playing fun word games such as Word Families from Junior Learning.

Word Families is a literacy game for 2 players, aged 5-8 years old and is perfect for home or school play. It is suitable for primary school years 1-6, key stage 1 and 2. It consists of 74 colour-coded lowercase letter tiles that can be joined, broken down and rearranged into many different word combinations. Identify different word endings, words with similar sounds, and words with similar spellings to build new words and beat your family and friends.

Junior Learning’s Word Families is a game of creating three to five letter words using two different letter tiles. It is aimed at children aged 5+ but if they have been learning phonics in Reception, 4 year olds should be able to play. It comes with red onset (starting letter or letters) and blue rime (string of following letters) colour-coded tiles with lowercase letters, and the idea is to join two tiles together (a red and a blue) and create a word – e.g., join a red c with a blue at to create the word cat or a red br and blue ight to make bright.

Word Families

There are 7 different ways to play Word Families:

  • Take Your Tile – all the tiles all placed face down and each player takes it in turn to collect a tile a then try to create a word, if they can’t it moves on to the next player. Whoever has the most words once all the tiles are gone is the winner.
  • Take Your Tiles Extra Challenge Rules – same as above except every time a player collects a new tile they have to try and rearrange their words to make a new word.
  • Tiles in the Middle – all the tiles are placed face down in the middle and the starting player turns over a tile. Each round a player turns over a tile and then has to try and create a word out of the tiles with the letter showing.
  • Tiles in the Middle Extra Challenge Rules – same as above but when a new tile is turned over the player has to use it to rearrange one of their words (similar to Take Your Tiles Extra Challenge Rules).
  • Steal – using the rules for Take Your Tile once a player collects a new tile he can then break another players word to create a new one and steal that word (placing the spare tile back in the middle, face up).
  • Starting Five – all tiles are placed face down in the middle and each player selects five tiles each, the game is then continued using the Tiles In The Middle rules.
  • Deal Them All – al the tiles all divided equally among the players. The players then race to create to the most words using their tiles. The player with the most words is the winner.
Word Families

Overall, I think that Word Families is an excellent word game for EYFS and KS1. It not only teaches word recognition, but helps children put their phonics skills to work by having to blend the letters together as well as sounding out the words they create. Not only are they learning new words but increasing their vocabulary at the same time. It is a simple game to play with rules that are very easy to understand.

The tiles are made from plastic and feel very durable, perfect for young small hands (and are easy to wipe clean as well). The red and blue tile pieces slide together and clip into place nice and easy (and they also come apart just as easy).

In the box is also a double-sided card with words that are acceptable so there can be no cheating as the word created can be looked up on the card if needed.

This is an excellent fun word and phonics game that they whole family can enjoy playing, and the children will learn a lot from. Once a new word is made, the child can then use their phonics skills to sound out the word and an adult playing can help to discuss the meaning of the word and how to use it, especially any new and unfamiliar words.

We have had great fun playing Word Families. With 7 different ways to play and plenty of word combinations, it is a game that will last a long time, especially as the pieces are plastic and are very durable (although over time the clips may wear down from constantly being put together and pulled apart).

At £24.99, I think this is fantastic value – not just for the educational value, but for the fun factor and family time as well. I think that Word Families is an excellent game to help support a child’s education, supplement what they are learning at school whilst boosting vocabulary and reading skills. I used to volunteer in Year 1 and every morning I played word building games to practice phonics and reading skills with the kids and they always wanted to play them, and enjoyed them.

Fun and learning all in one box, how can you go wrong?

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £24.99

Available to buy from juniorlearning.co.uk or Amazon.

5 stars

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are my own. This review uses an affiliate link which I may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.

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