A rich vocabulary is one of the hallmarks of a child that is fluent in a language. Having a developed vocabulary can boost self-confidence and creativity of expression. Not to mention it definitely helps with school work.
In this article, I discuss 5 English vocabulary games that you should start playing with your child.
Boggle is a word formation game where a player has to form as many words as possible in a given jumble of letters. You can choose to buy the Boggle game itself or you can find multitudes of online versions that you can use. If you are not familiar with this game, I will describe it briefly.
Each boggle game comes with several cubes with letters on them and a tiled surface where these cubes will be randomly displayed in a 4 by 4 surface. So, in a particular round, you may see something like this.
The objective now is to form as many words (with at least three letters) as possible using this grid of letters within a certain time limit. When forming a word, you have to follow an unbroken line from the first letter to the last without treading back. Here are some good examples from the grid above.
Here are some illegitimate words.
This game not only allows your child to exercise her grasp of vocabulary, it also develops your child’s observational skills.
2. Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles can be found everywhere from newspapers to online sources. Some can be a bit too difficult for your child. This means that you need to be careful about which ones you choose. You may also have to help your child extensively.
I suggest keeping a thesaurus, dictionary or search engine available when doing such puzzles. This is so that you can look up any words that your child is unfamiliar with. With time and practice, this will develop your child’s vocabulary and general knowledge.
Just as importantly, this will make your child an independent learner who is able to seek out the information that she needs in order to help herself. This is a skill that goes beyond being good at vocabulary or even the English language.
3. 20 Questions
20 Questions is a guessing game where one person has to think of an object and the other has to ask a series of questions in order to figure out what the object is. The maximum number of questions that you can ask before you have to figure out what the object is is 20. You can make this game more challenging by limiting the number of questions to 10 or lower.
This game is excellent for thinking about the various properties of an object such as its physical properties (shape, color, weight, taste, location etc.), its function (who uses it, what is it used for etc.).
Scrabble is the word building game par excellence. If the adult version is too intimidating, you can buy the kids’ version.
You can also choose to play without the board as a simple word forming exercise. In this variant, forgo the points and the board. Just distribute about 10 tiles to each kid and try to form as many words as possible with the tiles they have. This variant should be played with young children for whom the points may be too complicated to consider.
Charades is a guessing game like 20 Questions but this time the word has to be acted out. Form two teams with at least 2 members per team. One child then has to act out a particular clue and the other members of the child’s team then have to guess what the word is. See how many you can get per round.
If you have trouble coming up with words for this game, you can use this word list created by me.
Share with me in the comments what other games you use to build your child's vocabulary!
Lists of recommended books, games and toys to help with your child's English language fluency.