Bananagrams Rules

Bananagrams Rules

Bananagrams Rules

Bananagrams is a popular family game that puts your word skills to the test! In a transportable banana shaped pouch, this game is a great choice to take out with you when the kids want to play a quick entertaining anagram game. 

Not only is it fun to play, but it is also an educational game that can help to improve reading and spelling skills. Perfect for groups of 2-8 people aged 7 and above, this game is a great crowd-pleaser for families and schools alike as it helps teachers improve children’s spelling in a fun and creative way. 

But, how do you play Bananagrams? Read on further to find out instructions for this exciting word game.

How to Play Bananagrams

Before you begin playing, consider whether you have the best set up for a game. We recommend playing on a solid surface, such as a table or hard floor, so that the letter tiles can be moved around easily.

1. Place all tiles face down in a pile in the centre of all players to create what’s known as a ‘Bunch’.

2. Depending on the number of people playing, each group member will take their collection of tiles:

  • 2-4 players take 21 tiles each.
  • 5-6 players take 15 tiles each.
  • 7-8 players take 11 tiles each.

3. When you’re ready to start, any player can shout ‘Split!’ which signals for everybody to turn their tiles face up to reveal their letters. Players must then race to create words with their letters that are intersecting with each other to create their own crossword style grid.

Words must make sense when they’re read left to right or top to bottom, either horizontally or vertically but not diagonally. Everyone will play simultaneously, creating their own word grids to use up as many letters in the fastest time possible. Feel free to rearrange your letters as much as you like, they are not stuck in place once you have created words.

4.During game play there are different rules to follow and tactics you can take to try to use up letters:


If you’re struggling to get rid of all of your letters, you are allowed to exchange one of your tiles for 3 others from the ‘Bunch’ pile in the centre. Just make sure you call out ‘Dump!’ so that other players know your moves. 

There isn’t a limit on how many times you can do this exchange, but keep in mind that every time you will be taking back more letters than you’re getting rid of.


Once a player has used all of the tiles on their grid, they must shout ‘Peel!’. With this, every player, including the person who called out ‘Peel’, must take one letter from the ‘Bunch’.

You can create an influx of tiles for your competitors if you continue to ‘Peel’ as quickly as possible. 

Players will continue to place and rearrange tiles and shout ‘Peel!’ until there are fewer tiles in the ‘Bunch’ than there are players. At this point, the first person to use up their letters will shout ‘Bananas!’ to win the game, as there won’t be enough tiles for every player to draw again. They are now declared the Top Banana!

However, now the other players must confirm that the Top Banana’s grid all makes sense. If there are any misspelt words, abbreviations, proper nouns, or unaccepted words then you can call out ‘Rotten banana!’ to disqualify the person. 

If this happens, the Rotten Banana’s letter tiles are returned to the ‘Bunch’ and the remaining players must continue play and race to become Top Banana.

Alternative Rules of Bananagrams

Bananagrams Smoothie

For groups that don’t want to rush, you can split all 144 tiles equally between players, so there is no ‘Bunch’ in the centre. 

Play Bananagrams as normal and try to use all letters up, but there will be no ‘Peel’ or ‘Dump’ options. The first player to use all of their letters will call out ‘Bananas!’ to win the game. 

If players struggle to use all of the letters, or there is a tie, the player with the longest word in their grid will be crowned the Top Banana.

Bananagrams Café

For when you don’t have as much space, like if playing in a café, you can keep the ‘Bunch’ tiles in their banana pouch during play.

To start, simply take your number of tiles and put them face down in front of you. This method of play means that you can still ‘Dump’ by exchanging tiles within the pouch but the rule of ‘Peel’ is removed.

As a result, this is a quick version of the game as the first person to use all of their letters in a word grid is the winner.

Bananagrams Solitaire or Cooperative

If you want to play Bananagrams on your own, you can simply time yourself to get rid of all of your letters as fast as possible, or challenge yourself to make the fewest words possible using all of the letters.

For a non-competitive, cooperative method of playing, all tiles can be face up and players take turns to create words in a collaborative grid. This is a great way to build a child’s confidence before playing on their own, or used as a task to improve concentration, reading and spelling skills.

To discover more educational games, you can visit our Brain Games page where you will find fun methods of developing a child’s skills in English, Maths, Geography and more.

Or, if you want to play Bananagrams with a child who is younger than 7, check out My First Bananagrams which is a simplified version of the game.

Bananagrams Special Editions

If you enjoy Bananagrams, you’re sure to enjoy the different variations of the game that have been released too.

If you’re short on space, time, or players, Bananagrams Duel is made specifically for two people with 24 letter cubes rather than individual letter tiles. 

On the other hand, if you’ve got a gathering of friends or family, you may enjoy Bananagrams Party which has an additional 14 party tiles to make the game sillier and funnier.

FAQs About Bananagrams

Where can I buy the Bananagrams game?

You can use our helpful online tool to find your nearest game store.

How many tiles are in Bananagrams?

There are 144 letter tiles in total in a Bananagrams pouch.

What happens if 2 people shout ‘Bananas!’ at the same time?

If two players call ‘Bananas!’ at the same time, you can either call it a tie, or the player with the longest word in their grid can be crowned the winner. 

Why is it called Bananagrams?
An article reports that when the co-inventor of Bananagrams was testing out the game on friends and family, her father stated “You’ve gotta play this anagram game! It drives people bananas!”. With these two combined, the name Bananagrams was born!

Is Bananagrams an anagram game?

Anagram refers to a word or phrase formed by rearranging letters of different words or phrases. So, yes - Bananagrams does fall under the anagram games category. 


If you enjoy the original Bananagrams game edition, why not explore all of the other Bananagrams games available too.