Does your child struggle to make their writing interesting due to a lack of descriptive vocabulary making it all seem a bit flat?
If you have read any of my other blogs you will know that I am a firm believer that a child will be more responsive to learning if they are enjoying themselves.
In order to learn a child also needs to repeatedly try several different ways of doing things in order to create a range of memories and make it easier to recall the information (words) when needed. However, if these techniques are enjoyable, they will hopefully be more willing to participate…
These are some of my favourite methods of extending vocabulary that I use for tutoring.
This may be a game you may be familiar with.
You start by folding the top of the paper over and drawing a face (a fairly unusual one) so that the neck sits at the fold of the paper. You then hand the piece of paper to the other person so that they can’t see the face.
This person then draws the body starting at the fold at the top of the paper. They fold the paper over and hand it over to the other person so that what has been drawn previously can not be seen.
This person then draws a pair of legs and feet.
Open the piece of paper out so that the entire image is revealed.
You now need to try and think of as many words as you can to describe this picture alternatively write down the alphabet and try to think of a word starting with each letter to describe it.
(The more detail each section is given, the easier the task is).
This game is simple.
Take a bag of scrabble letters and divide them equally between the 2 of you. You then have to use all of these letters to create a variety of words. You can’t use the names of people; the words must be at least 3 letters long and spelt correctly.
It sounds very easy, which initially it is, however, as you are left with fewer and fewer letters it gets more and more challenging making you think hard about the words you know that could be used.
Describe the picture
This is similar to the first activity except this time the picture can be one from a magazine, from Google, a book or any other source that you have available. Again you need to think of as many words as you can to describe the picture.
A to Z of…
Think of a theme. Anything you like: countries, animals, colours, places, synonyms, antonyms, etc.(I often blend this with the; describe the picture and the funny pictures tasks so that you have to think of a word starting with every letter of the alphabet to describe the picture).
You now have to think of a word starting with every letter of the alphabet associated with that theme.
Extend the sentence
Finally this can be used with quite young children. You now have to think of as many descriptive words as possible to extend the sentence.
Start with a very simple sentence such as: “The cat sat on the mat.”
You may then choose to add brown resulting in: ”The brown cat sat on the mat”.
The next person may add to it and say: The tired brown cat sat on the mat”.
Keep going thinking of as many adjectives as you can that make the sentence more interesting.
Please don’t discard these ideas as being “too young” for your child.
I have played them with children aged from 5 to 16 and with adults. I suspect there is no upper limit to the age they are relevant to if you/your child are willing to adapt a range of creative resources into learning.
I hope these ideas have given you some food for thought for activities you can try with your own children. I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.
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Look forward to speaking to you soon