Scrabble Junior Rules for Beginner & Advanced Play

scrabble junior rules

Created by Beth Wiggins for WordFinder

Scrabble Junior is a terrific way to get younger players into word games. It captures the spirit of traditional Scrabble, modifying it so the game is more accessible for children ages five and up. When learning Scrabble Junior rules, first decide if you want to play at a beginner level or advanced level. The board game offers both in one convenient package.

How to Play Scrabble Junior With Beginner Rules

If you’re playing with kids who are still learning how to spell, you want to follow Scrabble Junior rules for beginners. The Scrabble Junior board is two-sided. Play on the side where you see pre-printed letters forming words, surrounded by pictures of those words. 

  1. Each player selects a character token. Place yours on the START space on the scoring track around the perimeter of the board.

  2. Mix up the letter tiles and spread them out, face down, on the table.

  3. Each player takes seven tiles and places them face up in front of them.

  4. The oldest player usually goes first, but you can change this to your preference. 

  5. Place two of your letter tiles on matching spaces on the game board. 

  6. If you complete a word, you earn one point. Move your character token one space along the track.

  7. If you complete a word that is the same color as your token (e.g., a word outlined in blue squares and you have the blue token), then you earn two points. Move your character token two spaces along the track.

  8. If in placing your letter tiles you complete more than one word, you earn points for every word you complete.

  9. After you’ve placed your two letter tiles, take two new letter tiles from the pile so you have seven again.

  10. Now, it is the next player’s turn. Take turns going clockwise.

  11. Play continues until there are no more empty letter spaces on the board.

  12. The player whose character token is furthest along the track wins!

The more young children and students play the game, the more they’ll come to love Scrabble. As their spelling and word knowledge improves, players can graduate from Scrabble Junior beginner rules to advanced play.

Advanced Level Scrabble Junior Rules

If you are playing with kids who already know how to spell words on their own, then you should follow the advanced level rules for Scrabble Junior. Flip the game board over to the side with all the blanks. It looks like a traditional Scrabble board, except there are no bonus squares.  

  1. The character tokens are not needed for advanced level play in Scrabble Junior.

  2. Choose someone to be the scorekeeper. They should be good with basic addition. It’s best if you get a pen and paper for this.

  3. As before, scramble the letter tiles and place them face down on the table next to the game board.

  4. Each player takes seven letters from the pile. 

  5. Again, the oldest player usually goes first. Play continues clockwise.

  6. Scrabble Junior rules for advanced play are similar to traditional Scrabble. On your turn, place one or more (even all) of your letter tiles on the game board to form a valid word. The first word of the game must include the center square.

  7. Play words horizontally or vertically, but not diagonally or backward. That is, they must read left-to-right or top-to-bottom.

  8. After the first word, every word must connect with at least one letter tile that is already on the game board, like a crossword puzzle.

  9. Score one point for every letter in the word or words you form. Letters have different values in traditional Scrabble. You don’t have to worry about that. All letters are worth one point in Scrabble Junior. 

  10. Just like in regular Scrabble, if in playing one word, you form additional words, you get points for every word you create. Read our article on using hooks for more information.

  11. Take new letters from the pile so you have seven tiles again for your next turn.

  12. If you can’t play a word, you can exchange some of your letters. Discard the ones you don’t want back into the letter pile, face down, and replace them so you have seven letters again. You lose your turn when you choose to swap tiles.  

  13. Play continues until there are no more letter tiles to play. The player with the highest score wins.

Take Scrabble on the Go

The great thing about Scrabble Junior rules is that the game grows alongside your children. Start out with the beginner level as kids learn to spell. Then, progress to the advanced level as they gain confidence in their spelling skills and word knowledge. Before you know it, they’ll be ready for the full, traditional game. When the time comes, pick up a travel Scrabble set to play anywhere you go!


Michael Kwan is a professional writer and editor with over 14 years of experience. Fueled by caffeine and WiFi, he's no stranger to word games and dad jokes.

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