I am partial to games that encourage imagination and foster fun. One game that does both is Apples to Apples from Out of the Box Games (https://ootbgames.com/). It’s also a vocabulary-builder. The premise is simple: One person serves as a judge – players take turns in that role – and as many as 10 others can be the word association players.

The judge deals 7 red apple cards (from a total of an astounding 749) face down to each player and draws one of 249 green apple cards from the pile, which he or she reads aloud. Players look at their 7 cards and choose one that is best described by the word on the green apple card. They place that face down in front of them, and the judge picks them up and mixes them up to disguise whose card is whose. The judge chooses the card s/he feels is the best match and then gives that green card to the player who submitted it. In a 4-player game, a winner is the first person to win 8 green cards. With 8 – 10 players, only 4 green cards are needed for a winner to be declared. The instructions include half a dozen variations of this basic premise, and below is an idea of my own.

Because there are hundreds of cards and infinite combinations, another way to play is to limit the number of beginning letters of words to play. For example, if you played only with cards containing words that began with the letter “R” some of your choices would be:

A sample of green cards beginning with R
Realistic      Refreshing      Relaxing      Repulsive      Responsible      Rich      Ridiculous      Risky

A sample of red cards beginning with R

Ragweed      Rain      Rainbows      Raspberries      Reading      Recreational vehicle      Recycling      Redwood forests      Reggae music      Road kill      Rock concert    Rocky Mountains

You would not, of course, be likely to play the game using words that began with only one letter (even though there are many more “R” words I didn’t include here), but you can see how some associations are easy (“Repulsive road kill” or “Refreshing Redwood forests”). Others might be more of a stretch, and some names and places may be unfamiliar to players and require explanations — a way to build new knowledge.

You could also play a more verbal version in which each player could explain the association when it isn’t obvious, and argue for his or her choice. A judge might award the green card to the person whose association is most creative or most humorous, for example.

You can learn more or purchase Apples to Apples from Amazon here.