Reading: Word Games for Kids of All Ages

parentingages and stages

Reading—Wouldn't it be fantastic if your child had a higher vocabulary level than you? It's possible. If your toddler is the type who knows his or her way around an MP3 player better than you or if you are tired of all of the nonsense bird games on a tablet computer, then it's time to put that electronic time to good use by improving vocab skills. They will even have fun doing it.

Little boy playing a game on a sidewalk

Dash the Babble Talk with Toddler Vocab Fun

Toddlers learn best when hearing others talk. They love to socialize and they want to learn. It's the perfect time to give your little one access to some games to teach them simple words. Play online bingo together to introduce letters. Use flashcard games to learn names of objects. Of course, you can find great online games to play together to add skill, but don't forget the simple and non-electronic options, like these:

• Teach children nursery rhymes from books or find them online.
• Sing kid's songs together from downloaded children's programming.
• Make up stories together and share ideas on characters and plots—even young children can do this.

Elementary Age Children Expand Their Brains

Family playing a game on the ground

As children get older, their ability to learn on their own becomes stronger. Use this opportunity to introduce more challenging opportunities. Word games for children of this age should focus specifically on improving language development and skill-building, rather than learning the basics. A good way to do this at home is to simply introduce new words into the dialog in everyday conversation, or try these tips:

• Play word search games online to enhance their ability to see and learn new words.
• Check out context and definition games meant for your child's grade level found online and use them in addition to homework.
• Focus on topics they like, such as science terms, in a game like hangman (online or otherwise) to add new words to the mix.

Challenge the Teen Mind Do to Something Amazing

Scrabble board

As kids get older, getting them to sit down and play a word game is challenging, but not impossible. Incorporate more words into their life through casual conversation and up the ante when it comes to learning something new. Introduce higher reading level books into the home and discuss the books together. If your son or daughter is a gamer, try these tips for getting them to truly brush up on vocab skills:

• Download apps for dictionary and thesaurus use and challenge your child to find new words to use in papers and projects.
• Make it a family activity by introducing games like Scrabble into family game night.
• Create a family game like "word of the day" in which everyone in the family learns a new word each day or week.

It can be a challenge to get kids to freshen up their vocab skills. Using games makes it fun. No kid will pass up a challenge against a parent to prove his or her abilities even if it is just a word challenge.

How do you help your kids expand their vocabulary?

Natalie Bracco is a freelance writer and an amateur baker. When she's not busy in the kitchen, you can find her writing about technology, travel, food and family. Follow her on Twitter @nataliebracco.

Feature image via Flickr by tearntan.

Family image via Flickr by Goolsby Gallery.

Scrabble image via Flickr by bombs and monitors.

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Natalie Bracco


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