Let's face it, studying vocabulary is not something most children are exactly thrilled to do. Make it fun with this competitive family game! Pick a word of the day and see who can use it correctly the most times. This game will help your child learn new words by getting her to use them in real conversations. Increasing your child's vocabulary is important for her grasp of the English language, and can also help her score higher on those tricky standardized tests.
What You Need:
- 20 index cards
- Black marker
- Bag or box
- Poster board
- Invisible tape
What You Do:
- Prepare for the game: With the black marker, write a different vocabulary word on each index card and then put them all into a box or bag. For pointers on what words to use, you may want to look over your child's homework or check with a teacher to see which vocabulary words your child needs to learn.
- At the top of the poster board, have your child write a title, such as "Word of the Day," in big block letters. Leave some space underneath for the rest of the project.
- Use the pencil to trace an index card 5 times on the poster board, arranging the 5 rectangles like 5 dots on a domino. Leave some room around each rectangle so you have space to write the days of the week, and be sure to leave several inches at the bottom of the poster where you will write the names of each family member.
- Above each rectangle, have your child write the days of the week in order. Monday should be the top-left rectangle, Wednesday should be the one in the center, and Friday should be on the bottom-right.
- Underneath that, use the ruler to divide the remaining space into four equal quadrants. Invite your child to write each family member's name in the upper-left corner of each quadrant and be sure she leaves enough space for tally marks to keep score. (Note: for families with more than 4 members, have one or both parents sit out so the kids can compete against each other.)
- How to play: At breakfast each day, have your child draw a word from the bag and read it out loud. If anyone can define the word, encourage them to explain it to the rest of the family. If not, look it up in the dictionary and then give examples of the ways you could use the word in a conversation.
- Give your child a piece of Scotch removable tape and then have her paste it under the correct day of the week.
- The object of the game is to see which family member can use the word the most times correctly in conversation. Have each person keep track of how many times they use it in that day. Maybe add to the challenge by seeing who can come up with the most creative or silly way to use the word in a sentence!
- At dinner time, each family member will share how many times they use the word during the day and for each time someone used it, have your child put a tally mark next to their name. Share stories with each other about how you used the word, and with whom.
- For the rest of the week, your child will draw a new card every morning and tape it to the poster, and every evening your child will tally up each family member's score.
- On the weekend, the goal is to use as many of the 5 words that were used during the week in conversation. But if you'd rather take a break on the weekend, that's fine too, just skip to the next step.
- On Sunday, help your child add up all the points that each family member received over the week. Whoever has the most points gets the title "Word of the Day Champion!" Reward the vocabulary whiz by letting her choose what's for dinner that night or what movie the family will watch. Another idea: make a silly "crown" out of an old hat or construction paper that the Word of the Day champion can wear the rest of the week. This activity is a great way to increase your child's vocabulary and get the whole family involved, but don't expect to do it every week--you'll run out of words!