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Best Games for Book Lovers

The best games for book lovers? WORD GAMES. Naturally.

Most readers enjoy good old-fashioned analog fun (as opposed to app- or screen-based games). When those games involve words, stories, and mystery? Even better.

Don’t get these games to “teach reading” or “work on letter skills.” No, no, friends. Get these games to play with your young (and old) readers because they’re great family fun. Bonus: readers are naturally good at word games, so these will play to your family’s strengths!

Also many word games are fairly inexpensive (at least when compared with big strategy-type board games). Win win!

Best Games for Book Lovers

Note: All of these games have been tested–and played multiple times–in our own households. We are only recommending our personal faves. And, since we love to hear from our readers, be sure to let us know what we’ve missed in the comments!

*indicate stocking stuffer ideas: games tiny enough to be tucked into a stocking.

Fine print: We are participants in the Amazon LLC affiliate program; purchases you make through affiliate links like the one below may earn us a commission. Read more.

  • Rory’s Story Starter Cubes* (all ages; there are lots of options!)
  • Zingo Sight Words (preschool through 2nd grade)
  • Scrabble, Jr. (ages 5+; one of the better “junior” games out there)
  • Pathwords, Jr (ages 6+; this makes a great travel game, but the price has jumped–watch for a sale)
  • Appleletters* (ages 6+; more of a collaborative game than Banangrams)
  • Boggle (ages 8+; a classic)
  • Quiddler* (ages 7+; highly recommended and words can be as small as 2 letters long)
  • Scrabble (Ages 8+; still a great game after all these years)
  • Upwords (Ages 8+; similar to Scrabble or Banagrams, but you build the words on top of other words)
  • Apples to Apples, Jr. (ages 9+; an excellent version to consider; the regular version expects more trivia knowledge, particularly of pop culture, that kids might not know yet)
  • Word Around* (ages 10+; nice and quick–play for a few minutes if that’s all you have)
  • Banangrams* (ages 10+; there’s also a double version with extra tiles–good for families with more than 4 players!)
  • In a Pickle (ages 10+; clever word game involving multiple re-interpretations of the meaning of words; be prepared for some debating with this one as well as some creative thinking)
  • Balderdash (ages 10+; preview cards first; this version looks a little different in style from the one we know, but claims to be the old favorite)
  • Code Names (Ages 10+; this one is lots of fun in groups that are readers because books become terrific clues)
  • Telestrations (ages 12+ per manufacturer, but we’ve played with younger kids. Pictionary meets the old-fashioned game of Telephone; good for groups!)
  • Apples to Apples (Ages 12+; the “Junior” edition is every bit as robust as the regular, so if you have younger kids or a wide age range, don’t hesitate to get the Jr edition listed above)
  • Scattergories (Ages 12+; quick, what’s a fictional character that starts with “M”?)
  • Taboo (Ages 13+; preview cards first; this is a fun group game)

Readers, what are YOUR favorite word games to play with your families? Let us know in the comments!

Want more bookish Christmas ideas? You can find all of our Christmas gift lists in one place, or browse this year’s additions:

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6 Comments

  1. Hannah VW says

    Our family loves Dixit (more ‘story’ oriented than words). For example, you could use the clue ‘Alice’ to remind people of Alice in Wonderland and get them to guess a card that has a rabbit on it.

    Choice Words is another favorite that involves thinking of a lot of phrases and combinations of words quickly for one type of card.

  2. Heidi Ballek says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful list! We have a 9 year old daughter who loves words, books, and games. I’m thinking Quiddler will makes a great stocking stuffer. We also like Dixit!

    It’s not really a game, but she has a ball with Mad Libs and we got her the Goofy Mad Libs for Christmas.

    Here’s the link to the single Bananagrams:
    https://www.amazon.com/Bananagrams-BAN001/dp/1932188126

    • Thanks for the banangrams link! I’m going to update our link! I think Quiddler is a great choice. We love Mad Libs, too, and my kids really like Quiddler also.

  3. Megan Presley says

    After Boggle and Scrabble (which of course you can’t go wrong with!) our favorite word games are Hardback, Word Domination, and Paperback. You should definitely check them out, they’re definitely fun!

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