I love when I find a game that is simple to explain, quick to play, fun for all ages, perfect for groups, portable, and fun. And, when that game is educational, boosting both math and language arts skills? It’s a winner.
Today, I’d like to tell you about a game that my 9-year-old and I have thoroughly enjoyed this year. It is called Emkata and it is an acrostic word game. If you love Scrabble and Bananagrams, you’re going to want to keep reading.
Emkata: A Word Game that Builds Vocabulary and Math Skills!
*Disclosure: I received Emkata at no cost in exchange for a review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only choose to share products and resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other families will enjoy.
Build Vocabulary and Math Skills the Fun Way!
Emkata is an acrostic word game designed for ages 10 and up. The game can be played with 2-6 players, individually or in teams, making for flexible family play. The game is simple to explain and gameplay is quick, with 5-minute rounds. What’s more, this game is perfect for summer as it travels easily.
The title of the game comes from the Portuguese word “em” which means with and the Maori word “kata” which means laughter. And let me tell you, my son and I laugh a lot while playing this one!
The best part? This game is perfect for gameschooling and stealth learning because your children will be working on vocabulary, spelling, word retrieval, addition, and multiplication!
Emkata consists of the following:
- 110 letter tiles
- 28 bi-grams (these tiles double your score)
- 16 tri-grams (these tiles triple your score)
- 2 bridges (this tile can be used for any letter but you’ll lose one point)
- 30 category cards featuring over 500 topics
How to Play Emkata
Emkata can be played one-on-one or in teams of two or more players. To play, each team draws a category card and chooses a word from that category for the other team. This word can be selected from the idea bank featured on the category card, or the team can think of a different word in the same category. This word will be the other team’s acrostic for that round. These steps are repeated for each round. Play consists of three 5-minute rounds.
Once acrostics are selected for both teams, play begins. During each round, players have 5-minutes to build upon their acrostic word and try to score as many points as possible. Players can use the special bi-gram and tri-gram tiles to double and triple their score for each word created. Bridge tiles can be used once per round and can be used as any letter.
This fast-paced game is giggle-inducing as players race to find words related to their category that fit in the acrostic. And while simple in concept, the timed element adds a fun challenge. It can be tough to complete your acrostic in 5-minutes!
The goal is simple:
- Maximize each word’s score by using bi-grams and tri-grams
- Try to use as many tiles as possible per word
- Build your acrostic in under five minutes
- Try not to spend too much time on one letter of the acrostic
At the 5-minute mark, all play stops and points are tallied. Incomplete words, misspelled words, or words unrelated to the acrostic are not scored. All other words receive one point per letter tile. Bi-grams double each word’s score and tri-grams triple the score. Bridges are worth -1 point.
You can see an example below using the word larping:
Emkata is perfect for gameschooling
I am excited to have Emkata in our family’s gameschool collection. This game is perfect for family game night and large groups because it would appeal to all ages. It’s also small and portable and perfect for travel. Not to mention the fact that this game, which uses both language art skills and math, would be perfect for the classroom or homeschool setting.
If you are on the hunt for more language arts, math, or travel games, you’ll want to read these posts:
- 20+ Fantastic Reading and Language Arts Games
- 10+ Amazing Math Games for Your Homeschool
- The Best Travel Games for Your Family
- 10 Waterproof Games for the Beach or Pool
Do you love games and gameschooling?
Be sure to check out these articles:
- Gameschool Resource Page
- Gameschooling by Subject
- 100 Picture Books and Games for Play-Based Learning
- Top Educational One-Player Games
Do you want to see our gameschool in action?
Be sure to follow My Little Poppies because we share snapshots of gameschooling moments… and heaps of incredible books!
Have you joined the My Little Poppies Gameschool Community? It is a private Facebook Group for parents who wish to add more play to their family and/or homeschool routine.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: What is your favorite family game right now? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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