Form a sequence of chained sentences by using the last word of a previous sentence as the first word of the next sentence.
You can use this activity to show that not every word that ends an English sentence can start one. Not only will your child get an appreciation for word order restrictions in English, your child will also exercise her imagination and creativity as she tries to come up with sentences of increasing complexity.
Objective(s) of activity:
Take turns to form sentences. However, there are two rules:
One, the last word in the previous sentence must be used as the first word in the next sentence.
Two, the new sentence must be longer than the previous sentence.
The person who fails to form a sentence loses the round.
Targeted age group:
Children who are ages 6 and older can play this game.
Number of participants:
One child is sufficient to play this game.
Start with a simple sentence with a subject verb and an object.
Eg. ‘John saw Mary.’
Now it is the other person’s turn to form a sentence. But you have to use the last word of the previous sentence and the sentence must be longer.
This shows a possible sequence of turns.
A: ‘Mary kicked those balls.
B: ‘Balls are fun to play with.’
A: ‘With a key, John opened the door.’
Now notice that B is going to find it difficult to form a sentence. This is because just the word ‘Door’ cannot be used to start English sentences.
If your child and you are getting stuck like this often, you can relax the rules a little to allow modifications of the last word.
In this example, the type of modification you can add is a determiner like ‘the’ or you can make it a plural.
Eg. The door
These are much easier to start English sentences with.
The same type of problem arises in the following sequence.
A: John slept
It is not possible to form English sentences with ‘Slept’. Thus you can allow ‘Slept’ to be changed as well. One way to change it is to ‘Sleeping' or 'Sleep'.
Now B can respond with something like: ‘Sleeping in is fun’. or 'Sleep is important.' or 'Sleep now!'
This relaxation of the rules also practices the notion of ‘word families’ and the idea of different sentence types.
You can also do this game as a writing activity by requiring the sentences to be written down, although this may require that you have a pen and paper handy.
Notes for scaling up/ down difficulty:
This game is challenging as is and does not require much more ramping up. However, if you are playing this game with younger children, they may struggle with coming up sentences.
In this case, you can remove the second rule requiring that subsequent sentences should be longer.
However, you have to be careful not to fall into a stalemate like this exchange, especially possible if two children are playing this game with each other.
A: John saw Mary.
B: Mary saw John.
C: John liked Mary.
D: Mary kissed John.
If this happens, you have to modify the game by disallowing proper nouns from starting or ending sentences. This means that names cannot be used anymore in these positions.
How long a sentence did you come up with? Share your longest sequence of sentences in the comments.