We know that students tend to learn best when they are having fun. So, how can we improve our student’s vocabulary while the whole family is having fun? There are a number of games available at our local or online department and toy stores that can boost the depth, understanding, and fluency of your student’s language usage and vocabulary, all the while bringing the family together for an evening of fun!
Word Games to Illustrate Vocabulary
Word games are a great way to learn vocabulary and your child won’t even know they are learning. PICTIONARY, which is now packaged in a combined box with both adult and junior questions, is a great activity for teaching your student to illustrate words. Students may think they know what a word means, but they are truly masters of the word if they can draw it in such a way that others can connect the picture back to the word.
The Power of Synonym Games
TABOO and HEDBANZ are both games that require the players to use descriptors or synonyms to a key word in an effort to have their teammates guess the key word. Time is a factor in both of these games, as players must think quickly before the timer goes off.
Learning New Words is Fun
SCATTERGORIES requires the players to come up with words within specified categories and those words must start with the letter that is rolled on the die. Players are challenged to think of less common words because if their word is the same as other players, it is disqualified. Played as a family, Scattergories will allow the younger students to learn new words from the adults in the group, and who knows, the adults may learn some new words from the kids as well.
Challenging Games to Build Vocabulary
An excellent game, yet harder to find, is PASSWORD. Players are required to give one-word clues to their partner. If your partner does not guess the word, the opposing team can build off of your clue with another single-word clue to win the point. If your partner guesses the word after only one clue, you get ten points. After that, points reduce by one, down to 0 after ten clues are given. Finding synonyms for the word can be challenging but what satisfaction when you finally land on the one synonym that your partner finally connects to the key word! If you cannot find this game for purchase, make up your own words and record them on index cards. That works too!
Fun is the Key to Learning
When it comes to building language skills, reading with your student will always be a critical and rewarding activity. But don’t stop there. Bring in the family with a fun evening of games that will entertain the whole group and stealthily build your student’s vocabulary. Remember to take time to answer the spontaneous questions like “What is a Fedora” after sharing your “F” word in the category of “Things on your head” in Scattergories. This is how we build vocabulary the fun way!
Written by Kim Porter, CFBISD Advanced Academics Testing Coordinator