History

When Abe Nathanson and his daughter Rena created the global phenomenon Bananagrams, they had a secondary dream… that there would be a Bananagrams game in every classroom, to inspire learning through word play!

In 2015, the first Bananagrams School Challenge was launched in the UK with 1000 free school kits being sent out to schools all over the country. Schools competed to find their own “Top Banana” who then participated in an online round to earn a place in the much coveted live Grand Finale event in London, where the ultimate winner was crowned the UK’s Top Banana!

Following the success and popularity of the School Challenge in the UK, in 2016 the initiative was additionally launched in the US across the six New England states (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI & VT).

From then on the Challenge has gone from strength to strength in both countries, with over 75,000 students going wild with words in 2017! In 2018, to accommodate the growth and demand from schools, we wanted to make the Challenge as inclusive as possible. The format became more social media based, which allowed each school to easily share stories and photos of their Top Banana beyond the classroom to literally spread the word! The Challenge included over 3,000 schools - a whopping 75,000 students! Here at Bananagrams, we loved seeing all the fun students had with the School Challenge and thoroughly enjoyed each and every story!

We’ve been told countless times what a great resource the Bananagrams School Challenge kits have been in the classroom and how playing BANANAGRAMS ignites a passion for words in students. Teachers praise the way the game helps boost vocabulary and creates a genuinely fun way to play with words and improve spelling. We’ve received many heart-warming stories from teachers who talk of how the game has made a real difference in their school, and we couldn’t be more proud!

This year, after listening to additional feedback, we decided to once again modify the program to make it even more user-friendly and inclusive so that it has much wider versatility within schools.

So…in 2019, the Bananagrams School CLUB was launched! The new School Club format ensures that classrooms around the globe will have access to a Bananagrams game and can participate in different monthly challenges so that teachers may continue to inspire learning through wordplay throughout the academic year! We are delighted with the new format and are excited at the prospect of getting closer to our goal of having Bananagrams in every classroom!

Click here to see some pictures of past Challenge events and what teachers have had to say about how it has helped their students go Wild with Words….

"Bananagrams has changed the way my students think about spelling and words. "

- Tatiana D., Teacher, USA

"This is by far one of the best initiatives I have come across in my years of teaching"

- Laura A., Teacher, UK

"After a week of playing, I saw students improving spelling/phonics skills, problem solving improving, teamwork building, and having FUN!"

- Kim R., Teacher, USA

"This [has] not only helped to build children’s confidence with spelling but also enforced important values such as perseverance, teamwork and sportsmanship."

- Jessica S, Teacher, UK

"...even those students who sometimes struggle with reading were able to participate. "

- Kirby B., Teacher, USA