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In Providence, Students Vie For Top Bananagrams Honor

Word-game enthusiasts may be familiar with Bananagrams. Created by a Rhode Island family, it's kind of like Scrabble, but without a board. 

Tile letters come in a pouch shaped like a banana. The rules are different, too. Players race to build crosswords.

A Rhode Island family created this increasingly popular game. The company held its first Bananagrams tournament in the United States yesterday in Providence (the very first tournament took place last year in London).

Twelve elementary and middle school students made the final cut for the Bananagrams Challenge. We bring you this postcard from the tournament featuring CEO Rena Nathanson. She credits her late fatherAbraham, from Cranston, for coming up with the idea of Bananagrams. 

Four Rhode Islanders were among the 12 finalists: Grant Culton, 4th grade, Hampden Meadows School, Barrington; Hope Gee, 6th grade, Archie R. Cole Middle School, East Greenwich; Julia Shellard, 5th grade, Oak Lawn Elementary, Cranston; and Jaida Tillinghast, 4th grade, George J. Peters, Cranston.

Nathonson plans to hold more tournaments in other U.S. regions. This year marks Bananagrams' 10th anniversary. 

Hope Gee (far right) from East Greenwich was among four Rhode Islanders who made the final cut for the 2016 Banagrams Challenge.
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR /
Hope Gee (far right) from East Greenwich was among four Rhode Islanders who made the final cut for the 2016 Banagrams Challenge.
Bananagrams CEO Rena Nathanson says her family's word game is inclusive. Anyone can play and "you can win... by playing lots of small words. You don't need big words."
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR /
Bananagrams CEO Rena Nathanson says her family's word game is inclusive. Anyone can play and "you can win... by playing lots of small words. You don't need big words."
Families watched intently as their children raced to create crosswords.
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR /
Families watched intently as their children raced to create crosswords.
A family from Cranston came up with the idea of Bananagrams while they vacationed in their summer home in Narragansett.
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR /
A family from Cranston came up with the idea of Bananagrams while they vacationed in their summer home in Narragansett.

Copyright 2016 The Public's Radio