I often speak about making it fun when you are practicing language skills with your children, so I thought it would be only fair that I come up with some ideas for examples of word play. Below is a list of games you could engage your language learner in – I suggest that you also give some motivating prizes for you little ones to keep them engaged.
1. Choose a sound and in turn come up with words that start with it.
2. Pick a word ending and find words that rhyme.
3. Select a colour and think of things of that colour.
4. Come up with things that come in twos (arms, eyes…), threes (triplets, three little pigs…) and fours (table or dog’s legs…)
5. Make a word chain where one word starts with the sound the previous ended on.
6. Open a magazine and come up with descriptive words based on what is in the pictures (happy, young, colourful, dark …)
7. Choose a toy and imagine what it is thinking of.
8. (for children who can read) Write names on things on sticky notes and put them on the wrong items and let the child rearrange them.
9. Open a dictionary on a random page and choose a new word to learn.
10. Make up a story where your child fills in the blanks: “Today I saw a …, who wanted to …, but it/he/she was missing a … . So it/he/she went to the … . On the way it/he/she met a … who said “… … …”, so they decided to … Sooner than you can think you have made up a story together.
11. Draw the alphabet on a board and arrange toys in alphabetical order (this one is for the slightly OCD parent).
12. Come up with words with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 … letters.
13. Choose an adjective (tiny, round, green, heavy, funny, interesting …) and come up with things that have this characteristic.
14. Pick a sound (or letter) and come up with sentences which do not contain it. For older children, choose a vowel which makes the task more difficult.