Children can benefit from playtime. Games offer a fun-filled, relaxed environment where they can practise using new words and are free to express themselves. Participating in recreational activities is an effective way to develop language and communication skills. It also helps your children to be more socially confident and may be a way to forge friendships.
Below are some examples of games and playtime activities that integrate language learning with fun:
- Word games. Expand your children’s vocabulary with word games. It can be as simple as pointing out items at home or during a road trip e.g. “I am now mixing the butter into the batter” or “Tall buildings are also called skyscrapers”. You might even give the definition or share background information about these words. Games like Scrabble, Pictionary or a round of Charades also encourage vocabulary development and communication skills.
- Jokes. Telling age-appropriate puns will also help foster good humour and creativity in children. This also encourages wordplay and imagination. You can read through kid-friendly joke books and take turns telling witty stories. Avoid being too critical of their gags, speech, or articulation. Instead, model proper pronunciation or grammar by repeating the statement back to them in the correct way e.g. when your child says “I goed so fast!” instead of saying, “That’s not how you say it”, you can opt to say, “Yes, you went so fast!”
- Riddles. Riddles are fun ways to use words and paint pictures of scenes or situations. Read or say riddles aloud to each other and explain to your children the different definitions of a single word e.g. school as in a place of learning or school as in a group of fish to help them understand the riddle better.
- Rhymes. The repetitive chanting, reading, writing, or hearing of rhymes promotes good listening skills and memory retention, aside from developing speech. You can also narrate what you do at home with rhyming words or let your children tell you about their favourite toys using rhyming words.
- Homonyms. Promote listening and comprehension skills by playing with words that sound the same but have different meanings. Allow your children to think of words that sound alike and let them try to define each one. This is also a good gauge of how much your children’s vocabulary has expanded and if their understanding of the words is correct.
- Storytelling. While storybooks provide ample entertainment, sharing stories – whether real or make-believe – can provide a good bonding time with your children while helping develop their communication skills. Exchange stories about daily events. Broaden their imagination with fantastical stories and let their creativity grow as you make up stories about anything and everything around them.
- Songs. Aside from harnessing their musical abilities, songs also help children learn new words. Lyrics have a sense of rhyme and rhythm so it will be easy and entertaining for them to sing along. In addition, simply putting a tune to an activity can be a fun game that you can play with your children.
- Tongue twisters. Tongue twisters are an excellent and fun way to teach children correct pronunciation and enunciation of words. It is a fun way to train their tongue to pronounce words. Start with simple ones and work your way up.
Words can be a lot of fun if we know how to maximise their use. Together, they can be made up into stories, songs, and a whole lot of other things that will help your children be more eloquent. Continue to encourage your children to speak well by constructing a healthy and fun learning environment where they can unleash their creativity and broaden their linguistic skills. Guide them on how to express their thoughts, feelings and actions better through the use of words as this will prepare them to face the world with confidence as they grow.