Reviewed by David Savage
With UK schools now closed indefinitely due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a majority of children are now going to be educated at home by their parents and carers. But getting kids to engage and learn can be difficult as well as stressful. With most of us not a teacher, and possibly being taught in different ways than children are taught today, trying to continue children’s education at home is going to be quite difficult. Even for the best of us, teaching is not easy, as a lot of parents are now about to find out.
Lots of kids will have been sent home from school with some sort of homework pack, after all, it is not a long holiday and education should not be forgotten. As no one knows how long this situation will last, the school homework pack will not be enough to supplement a child’s education and other ways will need to be found to augment their learning.
For children starting out on their educational journey, phonics plays a massive part. I must admit that before I witnessed how well the phonics system worked, I had no interest in it. With the kids now at home, continuing with their phonics skills helps them learn to read, spell and improve their speech.
As I said earlier, most of us are not teachers and teaching is not as easy as some people seem to think it is so helping the children with their phonemic awareness needs to be done in a way that is fun for the child and the parent or carer. Junior Learning have some excellent games that help with this, we have already tried Word Families and had great fun and learning as well. This time we tried Spelligator, an exciting new word building game that teaches phonemic awareness, letter patterns and positioning.
Spelligator is a game for 2-4 players, aged 5 years plus. Inside the box is:
- 4 Spelligators (plastic alligators with moulds on their backs on which the letter tiles can be placed)
- 73 plastic letter tiles
- Official word list (a list of words, alphabetically ordered which can be used as a prompt or example for words that can potentially be formed in the game)
- Game guide
The idea of the game is to make as many words as you can for your alligator to chomp and stack on the back of it.
To play, each player takes a different coloured Spelligator. All the tiles are them placed face down on the table. Each player then turns over a tile, going around the table until a player can create a word. Once a word made up of three tiles is created, the player places those tiles on their Spelligator and then turns over another tile. Play continues until all tiles have been turned over and no more words can be made. The winner is player with the highest stack of correct words.
The game comes with an official word list. Any word created has to be on this list, so no cheating – although some of the words that children make up can be quite amusing.
We had great fun with this, creating new words and practising phonic sounds (including me, as I’m still also learning the sounds). Spelligator is an excellent fun game that can help expand a child’s vocabulary by learning new words, it will help learn letter positioning as well as spelling and is great for practising phonics sounds. The tiles are also colour coded to teach letter and word patterns.
If you are stuck at home and want something fun and educational to play in an informal setting, then Junior Learning’s Spelligator is excellent. It helps with phonics, word formation, reading and understanding meaning of words as they can be discussed and is also an excellent way to sit down and spend some quality time with the younger members of the family.
For more information or to buy, visit juniorlearning.co.uk.