Improving Language and Spelling
Playing simple word games with your kids can greatly improve their language and reading skills. The use of rhymes and simple letter ‘spotting’ games will help them to recognise letters both visually and aurally.
The combination of reading to your kids, coupled with rhyming and word games will give them a great grounding for reading and writing. Encouraging a love of books, and words, from a young age will give them a lifelong joy in reading, and have them excelling in school!
Learning the alphabet is quite a bit more challenging than counting to ten because of the number of letters to learn as well as the range of sounds.
At around 18 months of age children generally have about 20 words in their vocabulary and by 24 months it has leapt to around 400 words. In the 3-4 age group children are learning up to 20 words a day! My daughter sometimes uses complicated words that I don’t even recall using myself!
For Young Children 3-5 Years old
The simplest rhyme to learn the alphabet is the sing song version of it-
WXY and Z
Now I know my ABC, won’t you come and sing with me.
In The Bag
For children who are learning the alphabet this game focuses on the first letter of a word.
Give your child a shopping bag with a tag tied to it displaying a letter of the alphabet. Send your child in search of five items beginning with the letter to put into the bag. Start off with letters with only one sound. You can move onto combinations like ‘sh’ or ‘ch’ but may need to reduce the number of items to go into the bag. Give plenty of praise, any mistakes can be down played with ‘ this is a really hard letter, well done for getting two right!’
You’ll need- Cardboard squares, pens, buttons or similar, scissors.
Make a bingo card for each player, divided equally into nine squares with random letters of the alphabet written into each square. Now cut up lots of individual squares with letters of the alphabet on them, best to use upper and lower case to help your kids learn both. Put the letters into a box or paper bag and pull them out one at a time, showing each card as it is drawn. When each player has the letter on their board they cover it with a button. The first player to cover all of their letters calls ‘Bingo’.
For older children you can play the game with words being drawn out of the bag and the kids needing to place a token on the first letter of the word.
A simple game to play which can be varied depending on the age of your child. It is easiest played with parked cars so that your subject doesn’t disappear in the traffic! For younger children have them identify different letters on number plates. Older children can make a word out of the letters on certain plates and add up the numbers.
Older Kids 5+
This game can be played with one or ten children, for 5 years and above
You’ll need- clipboard and paper for each player, pencils
Write the alphabet down the side of each page. Players need to find an object beginning with each letter of the alphabet. You may need to use a couple of rooms in your house. This is also a great game for long car trips.
Encouraging your children to keep a diary helps them to express their feelings and thoughts while also advancing their writing skills. Younger children might like you to write an entry for them while they add an illustration. One entry a week will probably be enough for younger children. Let all of the family know that diaries are private and not to be freely read by other members of the family.
This is a really old spelling and word game that we used to love playing in my household.
Choose a word in your head and draw a horizontal line for each letter of the word. Your kids try to guess the letters of the word. For each wrong answer you draw a line on the hangman’s noose picture. If you complete the hangman before they guess the word then you have won.
Word Board Games
Games like Scrabble, Boggle, Bananagrams, and Junior Scrabble are all great ways for kids to stretch their vocabulary and improve their spelling, and a way for the family to spend quality time together as a bonus!