How many of you played Boggle as a kid? I was one of those types who would go to sleep thinking of how many word combinations you could make with the letters “EMAT” or “NTOE” when in a square. I would make sure to utilize the “S” for every possible plural word. I had a blast playing and loved to win.
Now as a parent, I have a whole new level of appreciation for Boggle. Yes, Boggle.
My first son was a natural speller. It all started when he was 3 and wanted to spell “toy” and “story.” That opened up a whole world of phonics possibilities! He would draw, write and create all the time. He didn’t care if he misspelled a word, and would ask for help if he didn’t know – and it would usually burn in his brain so he’d never have to ask again.
Then comes my second son. Naturally more of a perfectionist, he got stuck on writing because he did not want to misspell a word, and he also just wanted to make sure each letter looked “just so.” It was a painstakingly slow process. Because my “learning to spell” philosophy didn’t involve workbooks and checklists, I felt a bit stuck. I was putting a lot of trust in our copywork disciplines, but also knew that if he was naturally motivated to write throughout the day on his own, the learning process would go much faster.
Enter Boggle! Younger players always get special treatment in our home, being able to get points for those 2 letter words that all others have to bypass. But the most freeing thing for a child is that no longer do they feel silly if they “try out” a word. Instead, they are “brave” and “risky,” and sometimes even LUCKY if we look it up and it actually is in the dictionary. This is how my kids know words like rorqual, nee, roe, and lee.
The best part, at least for my kids is that this trait of trying something out, not worrying about being wrong – it has transcended to other areas of their life. We can reference the Boggle-playing experience when necessary, and it just has offered my kids with more of a perfectionistic-tendency to relax a bit and take a risk.
Not to mention, it allows so many fun game nights, healthy family competition, and countless memories around a table together! And did I mention, “Take 2.” We’re all able to play that together now, too. Fun times!