ScrabbleSmallerEver since I was a kid, I was always the first one to offer up Scrabble to play when someone suggested we play a game. I loved my Scrabble Junior game—and it definitely sparked an early interest in crossword puzzles. (I used to do them on the field trip—I promise, I was cooler than I sound.) I used to always challenge my mom, brother, anyone who would listen to the popular crossword game, until eventually people may have been less than amused with my competitive nature when it came to word games.

As much as I loved my Scrabble Junior game when I was a kid, the new, updated Scrabble Junior from Hasbro Gaming is WAY better. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, this game caters to younger wordsmiths with a two-sided board: One side has words set up as guides so kids can match the letters to create words, and the other side is blank (like your typical Scrabble board) for more advanced spellers. The beginners’ side also has a much simple way of keeping score than all that pesky math. Kids can choose from one of the four tile-based characters—Wacky Wordy, Word Surfer, Letter Sprinter, and DJ Word—who are all brightly colored and super cute.

The double-sided game board adds tons of play value to this  game because it allows the Scrabble game to grow with kids until they’re ready for the big time. The letter tiles are also cardboard—as opposed to the wooden tiles of traditional Scrabble—to make it easier, and safer, for little hands. The fun illustrations and whimsical characters are sure to draw in kids’ attention, so that they can begin learning reading and spelling basics early on, inspiring an early interest in reading and writing. Hasbro Gaming also provides other favorites in Junior versions, such as Monopoly Junior, The Game of Life Junior, and Boggle Junior.