There are so many things one can do to enrich the vocabulary of kids. The first 10 ways can be found here. The list was hardly complete, so here are a few more.
11. Songs: Basically the same thing as poems but adding the music. Music helps us remember better and this is especially useful when learning foreign languages.
12-13. Letters and what to do with them: I suggest purchasing or making letters of the alphabet. These can be used in combination with several of the games mentioned above. It is also possible to
- write words and names with them
- pick a few letters and see (with the child) what words can be typed with these letters. Or the parent can start writing a word and the child can guess at what the word is as soon as they think of what it could be. Or the child can do this too, if they already are that competent with writing.
14. Go physical: Make the letters very concrete by actually trying to make letters with your and your kids body. The letter A is quite simple. The letter W needs more than one person and B needs outright ingenuity.
15. Draw letters: Draw the letters on the back of the child and have him/her draw them on your back and then guess what the letter is. Also draw them on hands, legs etc. Once words are too easy, try to write words and guess those.
16. Make stories: This is something I like doing while in the car on the way to daycare. My daughter gives me the characters needed in the story and a basic outline of what happens. I am usually quite tired at that point so I need all the help I can get. So she gives me details and content until I come up with a story that I then promptly tell her. Quite a few have been about the Snow Queen. This can be done the other way as well. Ask the kid to tell a story. Then if they don’t come up with something, ask if you can give them ideas about the characters or plot and go from there. Quite soon they will be accustomed to the elements that make up stories.
17. There is a plethora of online games teaching letters, words, reading etc. I will only mention one, which is in Finnish and is a very good one. Ekapeli: Alku teaches letters and pronunciation, of recognising the sound and connecting it to the letter and then writing and reading. My daughter has used this quite a bit and both likes it and has learned a lot. It is free and can be found on Android and Apple. There are plans of making an international version of this with the name Graphogame (link to news in Finnish about this). I, for one, hope they do and get it to market as it would be a very good way of teaching my kids English.
18. Read together: I’m teaching my kid to read by asking her to read the letters that spell out the word and then repeating the sounds first very slowly and then faster until she can grasp what the word is. We do this for maybe 2-3 words each day. She can read a bit already but it still hasn’t clicked. It will be interesting to see when she learns to read.
So, try these out the next time your kid is bored and wants something interesting to do. It is something fun together and useful at the same time. Can a parent ask for more?
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Copyright text and images: Satu Korhonen. You are free to try these experiments out, use them in your teaching. But instead of copying the text or images, link back to this page.