Apples to Apples is one of my all-time favorite games to play with my friends, so of course, I am going to favor the “junior” version for kids. It’s great for grade school age children and gives them an opportunity to enhance their vocabulary skills. If you don’t already know how to play, I’m not sure we can be friends. Ha! I’m kidding; it is pretty simple.
Everyone takes a turn being the “judge.” The “judge” draws an adjective word card for the group. The adjective could be “disgusting” or “good.” Then the other players choose a noun card from their hand they think best fits the adjective. After all of the cards are entered the “judge” decides the winner. Simple as that. The best part about Apples to Apples is that it’s hilarious! Some of the answers are silly, and kids often love when their silly answers get picked as the winner.
Apples to Apples is not only an excellent opportunity to teach new language/social skills, but it’s also one that I don’t mind playing myself. It’s one of those games in my therapy room that I often encourage kids to choose so I can play, too. How about them apples?
It covers the following skills:
Explaining your answers
One way you could play this game is to allow each child to explain why they chose specific cards. What was their thought process behind it? Did it best fit the adjective? Were they sarcastic? Teaching and giving reasons is a great way to help children expand their expressive language skills.
Apples to Apples naturally teaches vocabulary words. For each noun/adjective card, there is an explanation provided. Between rounds, draw a noun card and have kids practice defining the word and then using that word in a sentence. Easy peasy!
The green cards are adjectives. The red ones are nouns. During the game, you can point out the differences between nouns (person, place, thing) and adjectives (describes a noun.) Have the kiddos name some adjectives/nouns they can think of between rounds. Or, you could give them a word, and they have to decide if it is a noun or an adjective. Get crazy and throw in some verbs, too!
Naturally, most kids think their answers are the “best” ones, and they should win each round. But, that’s not how the game works. Only one person can win–which teaches children to learn how to be flexible when they don’t win and see someone else’s point of view (as hard as that may be.) I mean, truly, if my card doesn’t get picked, the judge isn’t funny. Wait, maybe I need to work on flexibility, too. Ha!
You can help teach kiddos to “read and know” the judge. The judge selects different answers, often based on what she likes. So, the other players need to know their audience, which is a higher level social skill. Is the judge more of a funny personality? Maybe she’d be most likely to select the silly answer. Does the judge LOVE dogs and that is one of the cards in your hand to play? Play it!
You can easily have your kids work on synonyms and antonyms. Turn over an adjective card at the beginning of each round and ask kids to think of a word that means the same or opposite of the word on the card. Can they think of more than one? What words are tricky for them?
And, that covers it. If you have any questions, let me know!
In the meantime, if anyone is down for a game, you know who to reach…