CONNECTIONS is all about making connections between words.
Each of the 124 cards in the CONNECTIONS deck has 4 unrelated words on it. To begin, players take 5 cards each. The rest of the cards form a Draw pile in the middle of the table. On each turn, a player lays a card down adjacent to a word that has some connection to it. If s/he has no word to play, she picks up a card from the Draw pile. The simplest version of the game produces a winner after 5 rounds by adding up the points on the cards used.
I haven’t yet tried this game with kids. The impediment I foresee is that a creative child can rationalize the pairing of any two words. But convergent thinking must be the goal for the game to be “educational.” I imagine this game being hard for language impaired kids (the precise children I think it has the most potential to benefit) unless you break it down into specific rules. For example you could have kids match a category with an example of an item in it; or they could be instructed to match two items in a category which they have to name, etc.
Many variations leap to mind. As a reading teacher, I’m thinking of making word cards with the goal of having kids match beginning or ending blends, or possibly inflectional endings. This is a way of engaging kids in visual discrimination work in a lively interactive format. Alternatively, you could put math equations on each side of the cards, and then the job is to match equations with the same answer.