"I decided to create Scrabble for Sunday School as a special treat, or a year-end celebration, or special event."
Scrabble for all Ages
My family has a tradition of playing Scrabble every Christmas. It’s a long-standing annual ritual. We block out time, buy special snacks, and sit down to compete. When the kids were younger, we adults helped them figure out words. Now those “kids” are parents. Soon, they’ll be helping my generation figure out words!
A Sunday School Treat
I decided to create Scrabble for Sunday School as a special treat, or a year-end celebration, or special event. I adapted a rules a little bit. Sunday School Scrabble is intended to be a team endeavor, to help engender a sense of helpfulness and esprit-de-corps among the students.
Making it a team game is important, as not every child is good at spelling. A child with dyslexia can be creative at coming up with words, or placing them on the board, while other children can spell wonderfully. I put the points on each tile, to spark those children who are good in math or competitive to gain points. Other rules are as follows:
- In the actual Scrabble game, no proper names are allowed on the board. Bible names are allowed in Sunday School Scrabble.
- I added the two-minute-play rule to keep the game moving. Some of our family Christmas games have gone into the wee small hours of the morning, but Sunday School only has 45 minutes!
- The “mercy” rule is to keep the game going. It’s torture when a player is stuck with all vowels, or difficult consonants like “Q” and “Z”, so it’s merciful to have the chance to get all new letters.
Making the Tiles
I made the tiles on cardstock and laminated them. I wrote the letters with huge markers. The letters could printed on normal paper on a printer, or other material could be used for the tiles – such as floor tiles or carpet samples.. whatever is square. Below is the list of tiles and quantities.
- 2 blank tiles (scoring 0 points)
- 1 point: E ×12, A ×9, I ×9, O ×8, N ×6, R ×6, T ×6, L ×4, S ×4, U ×4
- 2 points: D ×4, G ×3
- 3 points: B ×2, C ×2, M ×2, P ×2
- 4 points: F ×2, H ×2, V ×2, W ×2, Y ×2
- 5 points: K ×1
- 8 points: J ×1, X ×1
- 10 points: Q ×1, Z ×1
Feel free to adapt for your context or group.
1. Divide into no more than four teams of people.
2. Tiles are face down in a tub or box.
3. Standard Scrabble formation rules apply. Each team receives 7 tiles to start the game.
4. Proper nouns are permitted if they are the name of a Bible book or a Biblical person.
5. Words can be found using smart phones and justified using smartphones and standard dictionary sites.
6. One person (teacher) keeps score and keeps time. Teams are given 2 minutes to place a word, or forfeit their turn.
7. Mercy rule. If all teams are stuck with letters-they-don’t-want during the course of the game they can agree to "mercy" and everyone gets to switch out tiles from the box, with the supervision of an adult.
8. Once all tiles have been claimed the game is over. All teams then add up their scrabble points and discover the final winner.
Gail Jackins grew up in Northern Maine, so her friends refer to her as a Mainiac. She has a B.S. from the University of Maine at Orono and an M.Ed from Boston College. Gail is the Family Minister at St. Cuthbert's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas.
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