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A strong vocabulary is helpful in every arena of life, from being able to write well to being able to do well on standardized tests including the SAT, ACT, GMAT or GRE. Children learn vocabulary best when a combination of approaches is taken. For example, repeated exposure to a word, coupled with building upon existing knowledge and providing a context for the word, are all great tips to build vocabulary. Therefore, games should incorporate all of these aspects when teaching vocabulary.
Furthermore, children tend to learn best when they are having fun and when a variety of different learning styles are used. Thus, games should encompass both audio and visual stimulation, as well as tactile components.
Helping children understand how to derive the meaning of a word from the context is an invaluable lesson. Children can use this skill whenever they are reading to improve their vocabulary and to help discern meaning even if they do not know the word.
Fortunately, learning vocabulary can be fun and there are some great games you can play with children to help improve vocabulary.
Offer a description or clues, and have your child identify what you are describing
"We use it to sweep the floor" (a broom)
"It is cold, sweet, and good for dessert. I like strawberry" (ice cream)
You can help your child practice this skill by making a list of sentences, each containing one word that they do not know
"Vocab race!" Have the child(ren) guess the definition from reading the sentence. The child who is closest to the correct definition wins!
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.