•  
Excellent for mental dexterity. Quick multi-player matches, or going solo.
<p><strong>Toy Description</strong></p> <p>A yellow cloth banana unzips to reveal a 144 lettered tiles. The black letters are engraved into solid plastic tiles that have the feel of baked and polished clay. The full banana case is comparable to the size of a large, though rather husky, real-life banana, and fits into most purses and glove compartments.</p> <p>Instructions are included.</p> <p><strong>Play</strong></p> <p>Laying face down, tiles are equally distributed between players, with some amount being left alone on the table. This pile of unclaimed tiles is called &lsquo;the bunch,&rsquo; and is the draw pile which players will draw additional tiles as needed. The number of tiles players start will doesn&rsquo;t matter, so long as every player has the same amount.</p> <p>All at once, players will begin flipping over their tiles and start to make their own crossword puzzle. If a letter is deemed unusable, a player may discard that tile by exchanging it for three more tiles from the bunch. Shouting &ldquo;peel,&rdquo; a player indicates they need an additional tile from the bunch, causing every player to also collect a new tile.</p> <p>Each player works on their own crossword, with the first player to use up all their tiles shouting, &ldquo;bananas!&rdquo; That player&rsquo;s words are assessed, and if there are no spelling mistakes or proper nouns used, that player wins. If an error in spelling or proper noun is found, that player is disqualified and the remaining players start where they left off. This continues until one player is declared the winner. &nbsp;</p> <p>We have included a video clip above that demonstrates gameplay. Check it out.</p> <p><strong>Observations</strong></p> <p>This game has a near-cult-like status, seeming to stem from its quick rounds and individually focused play. As each player is working on their own crossword grid, there is no waiting for each other player to take their turn, making it great for those who get impatient with Scrabble. Additionally, because of the individual nature of the game, each player controls all the spaces on their grid without any worry that another player may snag a spot they were planning on using. Since players are racing against one another, it is unlikely that any player will want to spend time meticulously scanning a dictionary before deciding what word to play, again increasing the game speed.</p> <p>Rounds make take as little as 5 minutes, making it a great morning activity or something to occupy children while waiting in a doctor&rsquo;s office or restaurant.</p> <p>Some users have noticed children feeling more confident with their spelling skills after using this game. Adding a competitive edge certainly gives children an incentive to find words among their letter pile, helping reinforce their current spelling skills. We suggest coming up with a spelling list of Bonus Points Words to help children take opportunities to spell out new words.</p> <p>We want to point out that though this game is not quite as socially engaging as something like <a href="/Toys/Apples-to-Apples-Party-Box---The-Game-of-Crazy-Combinations-Includes-New-Updated-Content.htm" linktype="8" target="_self">Apples to Apples</a>, it does help create a structured activity for children to focus on. Particularly helpful for children (or adults) who may not leap at the chance for small talk, this game can help create a group activity for children to participate in. We recognize that Bananagrams may not fit into Family Night quite like other games, but we do believe that it is a nice addition to a game collection, especially for classrooms.</p> <p>This game does not require players to wait to take their turn, making it fast and continuous, and also a great game for those times when a quick distraction is needed. It may not help teach children how to wait patiently and politely, but not every game has to.</p> <p>This game comes in other languages, such as:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bananagrams-SPBAN002-Spanish/dp/B001TKZ9LK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1463080458&amp;sr=1-8&amp;keywords=bananagrams&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=toti08-20&amp;linkId=a9b3af8f327fefdec42a5d0cd0350149" linktype="3" target="_blank">Spanish</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/German-Bananagrams-Word-Board-Game/dp/B007FS3W0K/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1463080495&amp;sr=1-60&amp;keywords=bananagrams&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=toti08-20&amp;linkId=bc7e8e0deae14cac98a732f161751781" linktype="3" target="_blank">German</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/French-Bananagrams-Word-Board-Game/dp/B004MBD2NK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1463080483&amp;sr=1-29&amp;keywords=bananagrams&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=toti08-20&amp;linkId=9069e320f17d5bb64ef2b0d121eeba3c" linktype="3" target="_blank">French</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Norwegian-Bananagrams-Word-Board-Game/dp/B007FTX89O/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1463080483&amp;sr=1-28&amp;keywords=bananagrams&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=toti08-20&amp;linkId=f53291088802fd47400f68556a737633" linktype="3" target="_blank">Norwegian</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bananagrams-ICB001-Icelandic-BANANAGRAMS/dp/B00SMTAQXC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1463080508&amp;sr=1-79&amp;keywords=bananagrams&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=toti08-20&amp;linkId=9b6d91b36dcd08ba949b1697519b6501" linktype="3" target="_blank">Icelandic</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bananagrams-Italian-Version-Italiano/dp/B007JWZNO0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1463080508&amp;sr=1-74&amp;keywords=bananagrams&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=toti08-20&amp;linkId=1b99c07d17d66cfe029a8f42aa21059d" linktype="3" target="_blank">Italian</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bananagrams-HBN001-Amazing-Hebrew-Game/dp/B006GQTYCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1463080458&amp;sr=1-12&amp;keywords=bananagrams&amp;linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=toti08-20&amp;linkId=36b8cf125160185939fa62d2061cf7bf" linktype="3" target="_blank">Hebrew</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Care</strong></p> <p>Wipe down tiles with a damp cloth</p> <p>Tiles may become stained if they are scraped against certain surfaces, such as painted tables, so be sure to wipe off any dirt and grime quickly.</p> <p><strong>Parts and Pieces</strong></p> <p>Bananagrams can be contacted at infous@bananagrams.com in the case of lost or missing tiles. From their site:</p> <p>&ldquo;Are replacement tiles available if I&#39;ve lost some?<br /> Yes. Send us an email via infous@bananagrams.com with a list of what you need - we&#39;ll mail them to you. Well - within reason; don&#39;t list all 144 letters!&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Concerns</strong></p> <p>Due to the small tiles posing a possible choking hazard, this game should only be used by those old enough to restrain from putting said tiles into their mouths.</p> <p>We have encountered a number of reports of people purchasing what turns out to be counterfeit versions of this product. A counterfeit can be spotted by the tiles having large circular indents on their backs, and feeling of very lightweight plastic. The authentic version has solid tiles, and feel sturdy. Additionally, the letters are engraved, not just printed on the tile surface.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p>
Bananagrams
Date published: 2016-05-12
9.00 / 10 stars

Bananagrams

by Bananagrams
current stage2016-05-12

A much loved game that quickly sold numbers into the millions, Bananagrams is fast, with rounds taking as little as 5 minutes. Great for those times when a little distraction or break from other work is needed, this multi-player game challenges children to use their pile of letters to construct their own crossword style puzzle. The first one to use all their tiles wins!

This game may not get people talking quite like other social games (Apples to Apples, anyone?), but word games with children often spark questions regarding spelling and use. As anagrams are great for building mental agility, this game helps promote cognitive flexibility, language skills, and word recognition.

  • Bananagrams
  • Bananagrams
  • Bananagrams
Bananagrams
Overall9.00
This measure how often, for how long, and how many different ages will play with this toy. A great toy will be loved for years, and is still wanted as the child grows.
Replay
  • 9.00
 
This measures the quality of the materials and production processes used.
Quality
  • 9.00
 
This scores how well a toy encourages critical thinking, pattern recognition, and memory improvement.
Cognitive
  • 8.50
 
Including both gross and fine motor skills, this measure how much this toy engages and challenges physical mobility, body awareness, and coordination.
Motor
  • 6.00
 
This measures how likely a toy is to spark social play between children or how well it teaches socially healthy behavior.
Social
  • 7.00
 

Product Specs

Age 7+
Made in China
Recalls No
Batteries None
Materials Plastic tiles, Fabric case
Choking Hazard Small pieces 
Date Reviewed 05/12/2016

Where to Buy

Amazon $42.13
Pros
  • Fast paced play makes for super fast rounds
  • Portable game can be played almost anywhere
  • For multiple players or as a solo game
  • Encourages word recognition (great to use with spelling lists)
Cons
  • We are at a loss to find cons
  • Some people just aren’t a fan of bananas
Detailed Review

Toy Description

A yellow cloth banana unzips to reveal a 144 lettered tiles. The black letters are engraved into solid plastic tiles that have the feel of baked and polished clay. The full banana case is comparable to the size of a large, though rather husky, real-life banana, and fits into most purses and glove compartments.

Instructions are included.

Play

Laying face down, tiles are equally distributed between players, with some amount being left alone on the table. This pile of unclaimed tiles is called ‘the bunch,’ and is the draw pile which players will draw additional tiles as needed. The number of tiles players start will doesn’t matter, so long as every player has the same amount.

All at once, players will begin flipping over their tiles and start to make their own crossword puzzle. If a letter is deemed unusable, a player may discard that tile by exchanging it for three more tiles from the bunch. Shouting “peel,” a player indicates they need an additional tile from the bunch, causing every player to also collect a new tile.

Each player works on their own crossword, with the first player to use up all their tiles shouting, “bananas!” That player’s words are assessed, and if there are no spelling mistakes or proper nouns used, that player wins. If an error in spelling or proper noun is found, that player is disqualified and the remaining players start where they left off. This continues until one player is declared the winner.  

We have included a video clip above that demonstrates gameplay. Check it out.

Observations

This game has a near-cult-like status, seeming to stem from its quick rounds and individually focused play. As each player is working on their own crossword grid, there is no waiting for each other player to take their turn, making it great for those who get impatient with Scrabble. Additionally, because of the individual nature of the game, each player controls all the spaces on their grid without any worry that another player may snag a spot they were planning on using. Since players are racing against one another, it is unlikely that any player will want to spend time meticulously scanning a dictionary before deciding what word to play, again increasing the game speed.

Rounds make take as little as 5 minutes, making it a great morning activity or something to occupy children while waiting in a doctor’s office or restaurant.

Some users have noticed children feeling more confident with their spelling skills after using this game. Adding a competitive edge certainly gives children an incentive to find words among their letter pile, helping reinforce their current spelling skills. We suggest coming up with a spelling list of Bonus Points Words to help children take opportunities to spell out new words.

We want to point out that though this game is not quite as socially engaging as something like Apples to Apples, it does help create a structured activity for children to focus on. Particularly helpful for children (or adults) who may not leap at the chance for small talk, this game can help create a group activity for children to participate in. We recognize that Bananagrams may not fit into Family Night quite like other games, but we do believe that it is a nice addition to a game collection, especially for classrooms.

This game does not require players to wait to take their turn, making it fast and continuous, and also a great game for those times when a quick distraction is needed. It may not help teach children how to wait patiently and politely, but not every game has to.

This game comes in other languages, such as:

Care

Wipe down tiles with a damp cloth

Tiles may become stained if they are scraped against certain surfaces, such as painted tables, so be sure to wipe off any dirt and grime quickly.

Parts and Pieces

Bananagrams can be contacted at infous@bananagrams.com in the case of lost or missing tiles. From their site:

“Are replacement tiles available if I've lost some?
Yes. Send us an email via infous@bananagrams.com with a list of what you need - we'll mail them to you. Well - within reason; don't list all 144 letters!”

Concerns

Due to the small tiles posing a possible choking hazard, this game should only be used by those old enough to restrain from putting said tiles into their mouths.

We have encountered a number of reports of people purchasing what turns out to be counterfeit versions of this product. A counterfeit can be spotted by the tiles having large circular indents on their backs, and feeling of very lightweight plastic. The authentic version has solid tiles, and feel sturdy. Additionally, the letters are engraved, not just printed on the tile surface. 

 

Manufacturer's Description

THE ANAGRAM GAME THAT DRIVES YOU BANANAS! Fast and frantic, players race against each other to build crossword grids. And it requires no pencil, paper, or board. In this addictive word game, speed wins, not points. You’ll have a bunch of fun as you race to the finish by using all of your letter tiles first! BANANAGRAMS comes in a small portable banana-shaped pouch and is perfect for everyone 7 & up; at home or on the go. 1-8 players/ AGES 7+

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