The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills a child needs in order to succeed in school. Children who can persuade, defend, elaborate- or even exaggerate - have a distinct advantage over their less fortunate peers.
A child who possesses a good command of language is better able to manipulate ideas in his head, examine the various shadings of word meaning, and connect ideas common to several seemingly unrelated topics.
The child who is unfortunate enough to suffer from weak language skills, on the other hand, is often misunderstood, maligned, and made fun of. He may be considered less intelligent than his peers or other family members, since his inability to express himself is often assumed to be due to a lack of intelligence.
If your child often has difficulty recalling words, describing his day at school, or explaining why he feels he should stay up later, then you already know how frustrating this can be.
Fortunately, it is possible to help your child improve his vocabulary within a relatively short period of time. The following hands-on learning game is easy to make and fun to play. It can be played with children as young as 3 years old, and is also good for ESL learners or for those wishing to teach their child a second language.
How to Make the Game:
-Choose 10 names of objects you would find around the house, and write them on the cards. Make sure that your child knows at least 8 of the 10 names. This is to ensure that he feels successful when he plays the game. No one wants to play a game where they don’t know the answers, and making sure he is at least 80% successful ensures that he is sufficiently challenged and motivated enough to play the game.
- If your child is a non-reader, show him the card, and tell him what it says. Ask him to look around and find the object. Readers can read the card on their own.
-When he finds the object, instruct him to lay the card on top of or next to the object.
-When your child doesn’t know one of the words, name the card, and show him where he object is. Instruct him to place the card next to it.
-Once your child masters a card he doesn’t know, add another card with the name of an unfamiliar object.
- This game can be played with an endless amount of variations. Instead of writing a noun on the cards, you can write a verb or adjective. You can write short sentences, and ask your child to act them out: “Sit on the floor and kick the door.”
- You can write a short paragraph for the reader, and ask them to act it out. This can help them understand the finer meanings of words that he might not otherwise understand.
An example might be: “The girl looked around her, eyes wide with fear. Clutching her sweater in one hand, she slowly turned around in a circle, peering at the shadows which shifted around her in the failing light.”
Acting it out will also allow her to demonstrate her understanding of the piece for you in a way that is less stressful than the “simple state and repeat the definition,” method.