The games shown below will encourage children to search for the words they need to describe things. We have tried to incorporate a number of different games that can be played in different places and at different times.
1) A fun game that can played anywhere involves imaginary play. Pretend to be an animal or a child’s favorite toy. Can the child work out what or who you are pretending to be by asking you simple yes or no questions? An example would be, ‘ Can you fly?’ or ‘Do you have a tail?’
2) This is another great, anywhere, anytime games. Choose two similar or related objects, like an apple and a ball, or a shoe and a sock, or a cat and a dog. Together try to work out 2 things that are similar about the objects, and two things that are different.
3) At home make a feely box.Put some familiar objects in a box with two hand-holes cut in the side. Get the child to put their hands inside and try to describe what they feel before telling you what it is.
4) When it’s dinner, or lunch or breakfast ask the child to help prepare a meal. If you are using a recipe, show the child the words. Explain that a recipe gives directions on how to make a meal. Read the name of each ingredient on the recipe out loud as you put them on the table. Say something along the lines of, ‘The recipe says we need flour; Do we have flour? Yes, we do have flour. It says we need tomatoes. Do we have tomatoes? Yes, we have tomatoes.” Etc. Read each direction out loud. Tell and show the child what you want him or her to do. “The recipe says to mix all the ingredients. Will you mix all the ingredients like this for me?”
5)When you go to a restaurant, look at the menu with the child. Explain that the menu shows what food is available to order. If there are pictures on the menu, name the items in the pictures in a descriptive manner. Then match the picture to the words for that item. “Let’s see. Can we find those words on the menu?” When you find it, talk about the words. For example say, “Hamburger is a really long word. How many letters does it have?”
6) Mealtime is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about group conversations. Ask your child a question such as ‘How was your day today?’ Then ask questions that invite your child to say more like ‘Tell me more about your new friend at school. Does he like to play soccer too?’ Encourage everyone to join in. Says things that help your child listen to other people like ‘Did you hear what your brother said about the mall? Do you want to go too?’.
7)In the pool or bath, show the child how to use her hands and feet to move the water. Use words that describe what the water is doing like splash, flow, and roll and words that describe the water like flat, wave, and drops. Then you can make up some silly rhymes like splash- mash, flow- glow, and roll- pole.
8) Before bathtime, ask the child in your care, to recall what items he or she needs for bathtime. “What do you need for your bath?” Items may include a washcloth, soap, shampoo, bath toys, and a towel to dry off. As he says each item, match it up with its use. “Yes, you need a wash cloth so we can scrub with!”
9) A child doesn’t care if you can’t sing. Whether you can or can’t, the car is the perfect place to sing out loud. You can sing popular songs and rhymes like ‘Twinkle twinkle little star or ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round. You can also sing songs that you remember from your own childhood. As you sing these songs again and again, the child will learn the words. Soon she will be singing with you.
What are your favorite games?
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