Developing strong reading and writing skills is an important step in preparing your child to begin school. You can play these fun vocabulary-building games with your toddler and preschooler while laying the foundation of language skills your child will need to do well in kindergarten and beyond.
Before You Get Started
Remember, play is your child's work, and you are your child's first teacher. Be patient and make learning enjoyable. Use your time playing together not only to teach but to create good memories between you. A happy child learns better.
Spend an average of 15 to 20 minutes on each game. When your child loses interest, it's time to stop playing. Clean up and put things away together as you talk about the activity, what he liked, what he needed help with, and so on.
Let the Games Begin!
1. Gather a variety of objects from around the house, such as a pencil, pillow, pans, stuffed animal, socks, crackers, and a blanket. Describe the objects in as many ways as you can: smooth, rough, soft, flexible, hard, square, red. Ask your child to pick the items that are fuzzy, rigid, and so on. Give definitions of the words she doesn't know as you go. Don't worry if some of the words are above her comprehension right now; the goal here is to expand her vocabulary by exposing her to new words.
2. Introduce your child to keeping a journal. Staple several sheets of paper together onto a piece of cardboard or a manila folder. Each day, ask your child to draw a picture of what happened that day or to use her imagination to create a story. After the picture is drawn, ask her to describe a little bit about the picture then print some of her words on the page.