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Anomia Kids: 4 cardsAnomia Kids is played with a single deck in the middle of the playing area. Each player in turn takes the top card from the deck and flips it face-up onto the pile in front of them. Then all players scan to see if the colored symbol on their own top card matches with the card just flipped.

When the symbols on two cards match, the two players “face-off”. Each player blurts out a word that starts with the same sound as the black and white image on their opponent’s card. The player who finishes saying their word first takes their opponent’s card and places it in their own (face-down) winnings pile.

Anomia Kids: matching cards

Matching symbols

Sometimes, removing a card to the winnings pile will reveal another match. Then the two players whose cards match do another face-off.

Once any cascading face-offs have been resolved, the next player draws and flips a card, and play continues.

Anomia Kids wild card

Match because of wild card

Wild cards introduce another way for cards to match. If a wild card is drawn, it’s placed next to the draw pile and stays in play until a new wild is drawn.

When the draw deck runs out, players count up their winnings piles. The player who won the most cards wins the game.


Anomia Kids feels the same as the gameplay our family has enjoyed from Anomia for years, but now anyone can play. The only knowledge needed is what the images are (although most are clear even to a three-year-old), and what it means to “start with the same sound” (for example: “zebra” and “xylophone” is good, but “shoe” and “saw” is not).

The Anomia Press family of games games are fun because our brains tend to make sideways connections when faced with this sort of challenge. “I need a word that starts with ‘ch’. Why can I only think of words that start with ‘k’?” With kids, they’ll often start shouting synonyms for the picture instead of similar sounds. So “Ghost” begets “spooky” instead of “goat”.

Anomia Kids rabbit card

Rabbit, Bunny, Hare? Or Conejo?

Using pictures means this game is accessible to pre-readers (like our preschooler) while still helping them build language skills. Even among adult players, Anomia Kids can broaden our language skills, as we remember multiple words that can work for a given picture.

Anomia Kids fits a unique space: it is a party game that doesn’t require reading, and a word game that is completely language-independent. Our three-year-old can play, and so can our friends who speak other languages. I could see this being a great game to play to strengthen language skills in whatever language you choose.

Gameplay moves quickly and stays engaging. Most games will last 15 minutes or less, which is another point in its favor for playing with little kids.

Anomia Kids comes with two interchangeable decks. You can play with either deck, or use both for a longer game. It’s plenty to keep your family guessing, shouting, and laughing for hours.

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