Fun and Simple Vocabulary Games for Kids

Playing vocabulary games with your child can help satisfy your preschooler's love for BIG words and develop an early interest in English.

While I was driving Eytan to preschool one morning, I heard him tell an imaginary story in the back seat. The story went like this: Once upon a time (a favorite beginning of his) there was a king and meanwhile the dragon was in the castle and meanwhile the king was walking in the forest and meanwhile.... He used the telling of the story as a way to practice a new BIG word: meanwhile. At supper that night, my husband asked him what meanwhile means. Eytan simply shrugged his shoulders and said: "I don't know."

There are a number of ways that you can expose your child to a vast vocabulary:

  • Read to them
  • Talk to them using a more sophisticated language (Eytan's teacher uses the word 'meanwhile' frequently)
  • Play vocabulary games

I've compiled some great vocabulary games and ideas. Keep these language games in mind when you are spending T.I.M.E. with your child.

Vocabulary Games for Preschoolers

Picture That!

Look at a picture with your child. Let your child describe the experience he/she had that day. "Remember when I went to the zoo with Zach and Melanie and then we saw a bear but it was hiding and then we saw an owl and then Noam was sleeping remember?"

Picture That!

Look at a picture with your child. Let your child describe the experience he/she had that day. "Remember when I went to the zoo with Zach and Melanie and then we saw a bear but it was hiding and then we saw an owl and then Noam was sleeping remember?"

Texture Talk!

"This is soft and this is hard." Let your child feel different objects and describe them. Soft, hard, smooth, rough, silky, cool and so on.

Time Talk!

Begin your day by going over the date. What day is it today? What month are we in? You can make a little song.

Jobs Talk!

Teach children the proper titles for different jobs. For example, a children's doctor is called a pediatrician. Ask them what does a pediatrician do? Do they make pizza or do they make sure little kids stay healthy? Expand their vocabulary by using the proper titles such as: dentist, optometrist, pediatrician. What are the names of the instruments a pediatrician uses?

Word Classification

With your child, explore words that fit their interest. My son love Superman, so I ask him to name me other things that fly. Does your child like animals? Name the animals. How do you call a male cow? A female cow? A baby cow? what do they eat? Where do they live? Are they mammals? What are some other mammals? Who else lives on the farm? and so on.... the more vocabulary you expose your child to the more vocabulary they will retain.

Make Me a Sentence

Pick any two words, for example, cow and farm. Tell the children the two words and create a sentence out of them yourself as an example for your child. The cow lives on the farm. Now, it is your child's turn. Pick another two words (e.g. fish and aquarium) and ask your child to make a sentence out of them.

Syllables Clap!

Break down the words you hear to the number of syllables by clapping. Stop (1 clap) Sign (1 clap) I tell Eytan: Go put on your pajamas - Pa-ja-mas (3 claps). You can play this game throughout the day, before you know it, your child will catch on and join in on the clapping. A great game for the musical learner.

Syllables Sock!

Use an old sock and turn it into a hand puppet. Open and close the puppet's mouth with each syllable. Same idea as the clapping except this game is targeted more to the visual learner.

I Am...

I am happy, I am sad, I am upset, I am proud, I am disappointed, I am excited, I am frustrated, I am angry...Verbalize your child's emotions for them so that they will be able to later on. You can play a pretend game where you are sad and ask your child to guess how you are feeling. Let them act out the emotion.

Imaginary Binoculars

Make imaginary binoculars with your hands and go on a descriptive hunt. What do you see? A tree. Now describe it. The tree is taller than the house, it is an evergreen tree with snow on its branches.

Preschool Activities Home > Preschool Reading > Rhyming Games


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