In (this) article (link to Scrabble: A Great Brain Game for Adults), I discuss many of the reasons that Scrabble is a great brain game for adults. But the beauty of Scrabble is that everyone can appreciate its appeal, including kids. Thanks to Scrabble’s status as a family game, many parents teach their children the rules of Scrabble from a young age. It’s how I learned the game myself. But whether you’re a parent looking to introduce your child to a game that will have lasting benefits long into adulthood, or a kid interested in picking up an awesome new hobby, Scrabble is a great choice.
When I was younger, I liked to read books, play sports, and play video games. When I would find a video game I really liked, it would become my sole focus for months at a time. Eventually, I would move on to the next “big game,” leaving the previous one behind. I still play video games today, but much of my ‘gaming time’ is taken up by Scrabble. Why? Because I know that while the latest ‘flavor of the month’ video game is likely to disappear from the scene in a few years, Scrabble will continue to stand the test of time. If you’re a young person looking to form a hobby that you can take with you into adulthood and beyond, Scrabble is a great choice. Scrabble has been around for 80 years for a reason. The game features a perfect blend of words, elegant design, and strategic depth. It may not have the graphics of the latest PC or console game, but to use another gaming term, you really can’t beat Scrabble’s replayability. Each and every game is different from the last.
Scrabble has lots to teach young people about life. But Scrabble is just a word game, I hear you saying. Hear me out. Scrabble is a game where the better player wins most of the time, but there’s a significant luck element involved too. You can’t win every game, and you have to learn to lose with grace and humility. This is a wonderful lesson that many young people, my younger self included, could benefit from learning. When I was young, I hated to lose. As you can read in my (origin story – link to other blog), my mom beat me in Scrabble repeatedly at first, and though I liked the game, I didn’t want to keep playing if it meant I would lose. I certainly would have benefited from sticking with Scrabble and understanding that giving your best effort, even if it means losing sometimes, is so much better than trying to win each and every time, and being angry when you fall short. Scrabble teaches you to focus on the process, rather than the result. In life, not everything goes your way, but having a consistent approach and a good attitude in everything you do will produce the best results in the end. Because of its perfect blend of skill and fortune, Scrabble teaches players of all ages this lesson, but it’s especially impactful for kids.
Scrabble is an amazing brain workout. Every part of your brain gets a turn to shine. And for young people, whose brains are primed for learning, Scrabble is a great way to practice a diverse array of skills. Of course, Scrabble is a word game first and foremost. Playing Scrabble will expand your vocabulary and improve your literacy skills. That’s a given. But Scrabble also tests your memory as you learn more words in the dictionary and recall them in-game. Many people are surprised to learn that Scrabble has plenty of math involved, too. Adding and multiplying the scores of your plays and keeping score is just the start. Later on, experienced players will begin to incorporate probability and more advanced calculations into their decision-making. There’s a reason many of the strongest Scrabble players have backgrounds in math. Scrabble even tests your spatial awareness. The geometry of the board can develop in so many different ways. But even after all of that, Scrabble is a game that tests your critical thinking skills above all. Finding words, doing math, and understanding board geometry is just the start. Learning critical thinking skills is a huge emphasis for kids, and Scrabble can teach those skills while also being incredibly fun.
As a young person, finding new friends with similar interests and hobbies is really fun. If you’re lucky enough to have a School Scrabble program at your school or nearby, you can find lots of other kids who have a similar love of words and puzzle-solving. I’ve been lucky enough to work as a commentator for many of the National School Scrabble Championships over the course of the last decade, and many of the young players who rose through the ranks together remain great friends to this day. Mix in forming awesome friendships with all of the benefits of Scrabble described above, and you’ve got an amazing game for kids to get into.