Teaching kids to spell is a lot easier when you’re having fun, right? If there’s one company that knows fun, it’s ThinkFun. We have a huge collection of their games, and it all started with What’s Gnu. Let’s check out this fun spelling game for kids!

ThinkFun's What's Gnu teaches kids spelling skills the fun way.

Teach Kids Spelling Skills the Fun Way with What’s Gnu

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Jacob received ThinkFun What’s Gnu from my aunt for Christmas, and we’ve played it quite a bit. When we first got it, he was just learning how to sound out words, so he made up a lot of nonsense words. Being the grammar control freak that I am, I tried to insist that he only make up real words. Then I remembered that he is five, not 35, and relaxed a bit. Now, a few months later, he’s really learning how to read, so he creates a lot more words. However, now he’s the one insisting that I’m making up bogus words! For example, he insisted that “bog” is not a word until I explained exactly what it was and threatened to pull out a dictionary.

The concept of this game is pretty simple. It has a little plastic thing, which they call the Letter Getter,  that holds the letter tiles, and 36 word started cards. You take turns pushing the Letter Getter to make two letters appear, then use those letters to complete a card. The cards have two sides- orange and green.

The green side is the easy side, requiring only one letter to complete the word, while the orange side is harder, requiring two letters. Jake always makes me play the hard side, pretty much guaranteeing I have no shot of winning because he can theoretically complete two cards in the time it takes me to complete one. While I fail to see how this is fair, I try not to make a big deal about it because, again, he is 5 and I am 35.

ThinkFun What's Gnu is the fun way to teach kids basic spelling skills.

Okay, I’m not going to lie and say this is a super-fun game for the parent that ends up playing along (Jake’s an only child, so I spend a lot of time playing games with him). But it’s not as bad as some others. At least you can switch things up a bit, and pretend that you’re playing Scrabble or something. It’s definitely a lot less monotonous that, say, Chutes and Ladders. Plus you can decide up front how long the game is going to be.

When we want a quick game, we only lay out five or six cards. When we want something a little longer, we each get 10-15. In case you’re wondering, I was going for “SOL” with that S card there, fully prepared to defend my word choice against my future little grammar control freak. Alas, it never came to that because he won before I ever got the “O.”

Amazon sells the game for about $12.50, but I’ve seen them offer it significantly lower several times a year. It’s still not a bad deal though because the letter tiles are made of plastic and the cards are fairly sturdy cardboard.