A good vocabulary will really help your child progress as they continue to get better at reading and writing and will form a strong foundation for later life. Learning new words is inherently exciting as it gives kids new ways to express themselves and describe the world around them, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily fun to read a dictionary!
Here are some of the vocabulary building ways you can give your kids fun new ways to pick up and start using new words every day:
Mobile Word Games
Kids love playing games on their tablets and phones, and word games can be a great way for them to improve their vocabularies if you choose ones that aren’t based on them simply using words they already know. Word scramble type puzzles can be good, where the player unscrambles letters to form a word, as this may often be a word that is new to the child and which they can then ask or look up the meaning for.
Of course, you may ask how they are supposed to solve the puzzle if it leads to a word they don’t know, but there is a helpful tool you can teach them to use when they can’t find the answer which means word games don’t have to be frustrating. You can encourage them to solve all the ones they can by themselves and use this tool to find out which ones are new words they can learn.
Of course, learning vocabulary is not just about seeing a new word and learning what it means. You can also play games like Words With Friends and Scrabble with them to give them chances to use newly acquired words in a fun way.
Read Books as eBooks
There is such a big market for kids’ books these days that there should be something that captures your child’s attention no matter what they’re into. Reading a lot of different things has always been considered the best way to develop a good vocabulary, simply because it means you’ll be exposed to a lot of words. However, learning new words this way usually means picking up the meaning after seeing them in context a few times, or being curious enough to put the book down and look up the word or ask someone, which breaks up the flow of reading.
If you get your child an eReader like a Kindle or buy them some eBooks to read on their tablet, you can show them how to use integrated dictionary features to instantly find out what new words mean.
Try Subtitled TV
A fun way to get your child to read more and pick up new words as they do is to try watching subtitled TV. The most popular choice for this is Japanese anime, which features plenty of exciting, high-quality shows for kids (though also plenty for adults, so make sure you help them choose what to watch).
While English dubs are available for many of these shows, watching them in Japanese with subtitles means they’ll pay more attention to the words and are more likely to retain the new vocabulary they pick up. For kids who don’t really like reading books, this can be a great way to sneak some vocabulary boosting activity into their media time.
Find Appropriate Blogs and Forums About Their Interests
A lot of kids mainly look at video content about the things they like when they are online, but you can encourage them to read more text-based content by finding age-appropriate blogs, forums and magazine sites that relate to stuff they like. Whether it’s kpop gossip, Minecraft, space, Marvel movies, or anything else, there are plenty of sites out there with articles and posts they can read to see more content about their hobbies while also reading and absorbing new language.
Older kids can also start to participate with their own posts and comments, which helps give them a sense of why being able to use language well to express your opinions and ideas is so valuable.
These are just a few ideas to make vocabulary learning more engaging and fun for your child.