Shiritori is a popular Japanese spoken word game. It’s so simple to play that Japanese children–and sometimes adults–play Shiritori to while away short periods of time, like when waiting in a queue.
Shiritori works in English too. Here’s the basic version that’s suitable for young children.
Say there are two players. Player 1 says any English word. On his turn, Player 2 must say another English word that begins with the last letter of Player 1’s word. And so on.
There’s also an advanced version that is significantly more difficult, and challenging even for adults. In this version, you can only use words that that begin with the last syllable of your opponent’s word. (And for obvious reasons, only words with two syllables or more can be used.) It’s a serious test of one’s phonics skills.
English Shiritori is great when you only have a few minutes to spare for a game. We’ve found it quite useful to keep children occupied for short periods of time.