a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Nov, 2013

Have you ever played Bananagrams?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Oh! Things!

This was the scene when the other night when I played a solo game of Bananagrams:


As soon as Piper saw me on the floor she immediately picked up her favourite “foxy” and decided she wanted to play something too. (In fact it quickly escalated to THIS.) Anyway, that is neither here nor there. This is about Bananagrams!

This game is pretty simple. Players make words out of 144 available tiles. It’s sort of like Scrabble, but there’s no board and the letters don’t have point values, and you get to make words and re-make words as it suits you. (Ok, I guess it’s not like Scrabble at all, is it?) There’s a bit more to it. You can read the complete Bananagram rules if you want to get a better idea of how it is played.

We’ve had Bananagrams for a few years but it’s recently made a resurgence here at Casa Fishbowl. I really enjoyed playing it with Mark when we first got it, but I only just recently realized that you can play it solo too. It’s fun, it’s portable, and it’s a great brain game. It’s also highly satisfying, and kind of peaceful in a way.

After I shot the photo above I got smart and started using a big piece of solid white foam board as a playing surface:

bananagram board

It makes it easier to move from place to place if needed, and prevents the dog from walking all over the tiles (er, most of the time).

I was finishing another solo round last night when lo and behold, our youngest joined me and helped me finish the board OF HER OWN FREE WILL. (!) It was tag team solo play, and it was nice. We looked at the board together, placing words here and there, and quietly chatted. It did my heart good.

6 Responses to "Have you ever played Bananagrams?"

1 | Sarah McCormack

November 1st, 2013 at 12:50 pm


love it! bought it 5 or 6 years ago & have gotten lots of enjoyment out of it :)

2 | Lynn

November 3rd, 2013 at 10:32 am


Us too – one of our favourite games with lasting entertainment power. Our 10 year old just recently spontaneously started playing with us – one of those moments when you want to act all cool but are secretly squealing with joy inside. SPELLING GAME FOR THE WIN.

3 | Lisa from Iroquois

November 6th, 2013 at 11:06 pm


Never heard of it before but I’m looking at my Scrabble game and wondering if that might work. I like the notion of the slow meditative process, sort of like a crossword puzzle.

4 | Julie

November 12th, 2013 at 11:34 am


This one is new to me. Although I love word games in general, I am not a Scrabble fan. This seems better than Scrabble :)

5 | Katherine

November 21st, 2013 at 12:16 pm


We received it as a gift a couple of years ago but have never tried it out – sound like we should bring it out this winter for a games night – thanks!

6 | Big questions and some screen-free family time >> a peek inside the fishbowl

November 19th, 2014 at 2:10 pm


[…] Card games, dice games, word games, strategy games… all of these make the basis of quality family time. Unfortunately, sometimes […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (16) and Sarah (14). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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