Every mother waits eagerly for her child’s first word and secretly crosses her fingers hoping that it’s “Mama”! From then on, it becomes a chain of expectations. Children are expected to learn more new words as time goes by. When the learning is slow, parents get easily concerned. However, babies can actually learn languages quickly and in their early years, pick up new words rapidly. They are natural learners. So instead of exerting pressure on kids to learn new words and strengthen their vocabulary, you can adopt some of the quick tips mentioned below and help them pick up new words effortlessly.

Read together with your child.

Vocabulary tips 1

You will often find a child memorize a book even when she hasn’t learnt to read yet. Just hearing the same story over and over can do wonders. So practice reading to your child and you will soon see your child ‘filling in’ with words that you purposely ‘missed’. Read stories with rhythmic words and colorful pictures to your child to sustain her interest in reading.

Encourage family discussions.

Vocabulary tips 2

It’s important to turn off the TV and talk, not only to bond as a family but to encourage little ones to pick up new words from the conversations. One of the best places to indulge in family discussions is the dinner table when the entire family sits together and shares stories about their day. Talk about the day, current affairs, homework, school, or anything under the sun. Make sure you listen to your child when she speaks and consider ideas that she suggests. There’s nothing like using new words in everyday conversations to help kids expand their vocabulary.

Play a ‘word of the week’ activity.

Vocabulary 3

Simple English games and activities can go a long way in making the learning process both fun and effective. While there is a great online variety, here’s a simple idea for a hands-on activity. Each member of the family takes a turn each week and writes down a word on a paper and puts it up on a frequently used door, examples being the fridge door, microwave, a kitchen cabinet, etc. The family has to use the word as much as possible through the week during their regular conversations with each other. The child may take a turn the next week and dad the week following… Continue till its mum’s turn again. Repeat the game after a month so that it remains interesting to the child!

Play the classic game of ‘Ten Questions’ with kids but choose a word instead of an object.

Vocabulary Tips 4

If you don’t know how to play it, here are rules:

  1. Think of a word. Choose a simple word that children can guess.
  2. Have the players ask you twenty questions to figure out the word. Encourage them to ask questions like ‘Is it a noun?’, ‘Does it mean something similar to___?, etc.
  3. You can answer only a by “yes” or “no.”
  4. The word must be guessed in 20 questions or less.
  5. Whoever guesses the word first is the winner.

Learning through playing is always fun. Involve kids in these exciting activities and make constant efforts to improve your child’s vocabulary. Do you have any tips and tricks up your sleeve?

Photos courtesy of Rob Wall, Lee Ruk, Barrett Hall, and Andrew Steele under Creative Commons.

Corinne Jacob is a wannabe writer who is convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. Corinne loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning.