The following activities are a sampling from my book Language Lessons, which is packed with games and activities to enhance skills in listening, comprehending, and producing language.
One of the very best ways to help your child increase his vocabulary is to read to him and to have him spend a lot of time reading (if he is able.) When you read to your child, stop occasionally to define and to talk about difficult words. Look for opportunities to discuss new words in the environment, especially when you visit new places.
Put several picture cards on the table. Describe one of the pictures and have your child guess the correct picture. (Many cards are included at the end of this book.)
Pick up a picture card and keep it hidden. Describe it with a single word. Allow the child to guess the picture. If he cannot, give a second one-word hint and continue until the mystery word is guessed. Then let the child have a turn thinking of clues while you guess.
Put a mystery object in a bag. Have the child reach inside without looking and feel the object. Ask him to describe the object using words such as smooth, flat, long, hard, soft, fuzzy, etc. Then have him guess what the object is. If he has trouble, give him suggestions, such as, "Does it feel rough or smooth?"
Show your child a picture of an item. Ask him to think of things the person, animal, or object can do. For example, a dog can bark, run, jump, sit, sleep, or eat.
Definitions: Ask your child to name each item. Accept any reasonable answer.
· something you write on
· something you pour on your cereal
· a frozen dessert
· something you drive
· something you ride on
· a place where you sleep
· something you sit on
· something that shines in the sky in the day
· something that shines in the sky at night
· something that children play with
· something that is furry with a long tail
· something used to cut paper
· a shape with three sides
· a shape with four sides
· something used to write on a chalkboard
· something that you stick on an envelope
· something you can spend at a store
· something good to drink that is brown
· something round that can float in the air
Verb phrases: Ask your child to complete the phrase. Accept any logical answer.
· ___________ the door
· ___________ your dinner
· ___________ your hands
· ___________ your hair
· ___________ the floor
· ___________ the phone
· ___________ the ball
· ___________ a bike
· ___________ a car
· ___________ your hands
· ___________ your shoes
Common phrases: Ask your child to complete the phrase. Accept any logical answer.
· salt and _____________
· shoes and _____________
· up and _____________
· fingers and _____________
· cat and _____________
· car and _____________
· hamburger and _____________
· night and _____________
· peanut butter and _____________
· mother and _____________
· sister and _____________
· aunt and _____________
· cake and _____________
· hug and _____________
Ask your child to complete each sentence:
· My dad drove to the ______________.
· Fire is ______________.
·· I sleep in a ______________.
· When you are dirty, you take a ______________.
· Would you like a peanut-butter and jelly ______________.
· You wear your swim suit to the ______________.
· For dinner, we are having fried ______________.
· When it is cold, you wear a ______________.
· Cars, trucks, and busses are types of ______________.
· My dog sleeps in a ______________.
· Grandma likes to sit in her rocking ______________.
· We saw clowns, elephants, and tigers at the ______________.
· Milk comes from a ______________.
· A father and mother and children make a ______________.
· Cars can be parked in the ______________.
· To keep your hands cold in the snow, you wear ______________.
· A long handle with a brush on the end used to clean floors is a ______________.
· A popular instrument with six strings is a ______________.
· A thin plastic tube that you sip drinks through is a ______________.
· A large animal with leathery skin and a horn on its nose is a ______________.
Similes: Ask your child to complete each phrase:
· as small as a _________.
· as big as a _________.
· as tall as a _________.
· as fierce as a _________.
· as quiet as a _________.
· as loud as a _________.
· as dangerous as a _________.
· as hot as _________.
· as cold as _________.
· as sour as _________.
· as sweet as _________.
· as dark as _________.
· as pretty as a _________.
· as ugly as a _________.
Ask your child to list the items needed in each situation:
· to draw a picture (paper, pencil, crayons, etc.)
· to take a bath
· to brush teeth
· to make a sandwich
· to start the car
· to sew
· to take a picture
· to build a fire
· to feed your dog
· to cook scrambled eggs
· to build a doghouse
Ask your child to add some describing words to each noun.
· dog (ex.: big snarling dog)
· pie (ex.: oozy, sweet, blueberry pie)