Playing quick and informal word games with your child is a great habit to get into. No matter what age, we can use our knowledge about words sounds and word meanings to play around together. Word games help us practice word retention and retrieval (i.e. remembering a word and then recalling it later when we want to use it.)
There are loads of fab picture and paper resources for developing vocabulary, but that’s not what I’m sharing today. Instead, I’m sharing informal games you can play together with no kit required!
Some ideas from this video:
I-Spy: A classic choice! A great excuse to develop sound awareness. Of course, you can start by naming the initial sound in words. (With younger children, do focus on the sound of the letter, rather than the name of the letter.) Then, you can work on other ‘sound elements’ of a word, e.g. ‘I spy something that rhymes with….’ or ‘I spy something with 2 syllables’.
The Clues Game: Similar to I-Spy, but with a focus on word meaning, instead of sounds. In this game, we’re giving simple clues about what an object does, where we might find it etc.
The ‘P’ Party: How many words can you think of that begin with ‘p’? This game works with a variety of ages, as you can ‘level up’ with more abstract and complex vocabulary. It’s a good one for the competitive folks out there, as you battle to take turns and think of yet another word to add to the list. Of course, it doesn’t have to be ‘p’; pick any letter you like, or even a blend (e.g. words that start with ‘br’ or ‘pl’ or ‘sk’)
5 Things: In this game we’re aiming to name things within a a specific category. Can you name 5 animals, 5 things we eat, 5 things that you might see on a walk, 5 squishy things, 5 people in our community who help us..? The list is endless! This is useful for helping children understand how things can be organised by group. And you can increase the challenge by thinking of more unusual categories.
Guess That Acronym! Our world is littered with acronyms, so there’s plenty of opportunities on roadsigns, magazines or elsewhere to try to guess what each letter of the acronym stands for. (E.g. do you know what SaLT stands for?)
The Alphabet Game: This game explores both the meaning and sounds in words, as we nominate a category and then take turns to give a word that fits in the category and also begins with the next letter in the alphabet (e.g. Aardvark, Bear, Cow, Deer….)
If you’re interested in more quick-and-easy ways to support your child’s vocabulary skills, then check out this post with ideas for teaching words on the go.