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Words, words, words...

Last week we looked at ways to develop thinking skills. How to help our children express their opinions and share their solutions to puzzles and games?

Vocabulary and language skills are the foundation for children’s intellectual development

Language development has two processes – receptive and expressive language.

Receptive language is our ability to understand the words we hear.

Expressive language is the ability to use words.

We all have a larger receptive language – we know and understand more words than we speak.

3 year-old children use about 750 -800 words while the average 4 year-old uses around 1,00 – 1,200 words when they speak.

Four-year old children ask lots of questions as they develop their vocabulary and their sentence structure.

By age 5, most children use well over 2,000 words to make themselves understood.

How can we help to develop those vocabularies?

• The very best way is to read to them as much and as often as you can. Ensure that your bedtime story time is a constant in your lives – nothing takes its place!

• Play vocabulary games – teaches not only words, but also taking turns!

- I spy: Spy an item and describe it by colour, or shape and later beginning sound. ”I spy with my little eye something that is blue”

- Categories: Choose a category – toys, food, colours etc. and take turns adding to the list you make up together. Hints make the fun last longer!

- Doesn’t fit: A variation of categories – a list of words with one that does not fit. Apple, pear, potato, banana

- What Am I?: Think of an object and give clues describing it. Cell phone: “I am a rectangle, I make noises, I carry it wherever I go”

- Dogs bark: Make a list of actions that animals or people can do. A dog barks, growls, jumps…

- Stories: Make up stories featuring your child and describe adventures. Have them make up stories. Using fairy tales starring your child is exciting and teaches structure of stories too

All these games can be played at anytime and anywhere; while you are waiting in line, as you are walking, at suppertime. Fun and learning – an unbeatable combination!

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