How can we accompany children in the acquisition and development of the vocabulary in each evolutionary stage? The process of acquisition and development of vocabulary in children occurs thanks to particular situations and contexts of interaction with the environment and here the game plays a fundamental role so that this acquisition is done in a fun way, but at the same time educational. And, as each phase requires a series of attentions, we present youfun games to expand the vocabulary of children by age.
Starting at 18 months, children learn between 9 and 10 new words per day, a rate that remains more or less stable over the years. This number is higher if it has a favorable environment, which proposes situations of play and interaction in which the child incidentally, that is to say without realizing it, may be appropriating vocabulary and syntactic structures that will lay the basis of their oral language.
The symbolic play situations that occur between the child and their parents are essential for the child to begin to establish relationships between words and its references, thus constituting the lexical acquisition process.
Parents can work with our children from when they are little until even before they reach pre-adolescence, that is why we present you a proposal for each age group. Let the game begin!
From the age of 18 months, a stage called name discovery begins, children repeat each word they hear like little parrots and it is very surprising to be able to attribute names to things. It is an ideal phase to incorporate vocabulary through play in natural and unstructured situations. Here are examples:
1. Games with people
They are games that do not require objects, where the greatest attraction is in the adult's response to continue the interaction. From these games, functional and repetitive vocabulary emerges: verbs, descriptors, names, greetings, temporal and spatial referents, deictics, prepositions, attributes, pronouns, quantifiers, states and emotions.
- Horse game: Vocabulary: more, horse, come, hurry, again, I want, I don't want.
- Tickle game: Vocabulary: here, where, parts of the body, more, I want, I don't want, stop, me, you.
- Hide and seek game: Vocabulary: where is it, here, now you, now me.
- Catching games: Vocabulary: here I go, more, I catch you.
2. Bubble games
Vocabulary: more, few, many, nothing, bubbles, want, play, big, girls, exploded, wet.
3. Games with Toys
They can be vehicles, farm animals, jungle animals, dollhouses. Here vocabulary from each category is incorporated, associated with onomatopoeic sounds and verbs. Ex: The truck overturns, The car walks, The cow eats, The dog barks.
4. Mr and Mrs Papa
Vocabulary: parts of the body, accessories (wallet, glasses, hat), footwear (shoes, boots, sneakers), give me, take, colors.
5. Games with babies and dolls
Bathe, dress and feed the dolls. Vocabulary: baby, diaper, bottle, pacifier, hungry, sleepy, cold, hot, clothing, pee, poop, dirty, clean
6. Stories with family photos
At this stage, children already have a great lexical and morphosyntactic richness that allows them to create super creative symbolic play and dramatization scenarios. That is why providing them with material to display different characters and roles will not only increase their vocabulary but also their creativity and imagination.
7. Role-playing games
Game of the doctor, the teacher, the builder, the vet, the hairdresser, the supermarket, the gardener, the mother. With each one of them, specific vocabulary and syntactic structures can be incorporated to make requests, express wishes and emotions.
Playing imaginary and movie roles is always fascinating for them. You can also resort to mom and dad clothes, the kitchen apron or invent costumes with fabrics and cardboard that we have at home.
Mass modeling is an excellent plan for incorporating vocabulary. You can get molds or kits by categories such as food, animals, means of transport or simply create what you want. It can also be used to learn colors, shapes and sizes.
They are very attractive to children and we can incorporate as they build quantifiers: many, few, none, spatial references (up, down, forward, back), colors and shapes (rectangle, square) or dimensions (wide, thin, long, short) .
11. Ball games
These games allow incorporating notions such as inside, outside, also sizes, dimensions, colors.
With the beginning of reading and writing, we have a very important visual resource to fix verbal information, the written word acquires greater stability. The concepts are organized in semantic networks, of greater complexity. Children incorporate new concepts and can establish similarities, differences, and associations.
12. Memos, bingo, association games by categories
From animals, colors, actions, emotions, means of transport, professions.
13. Tuti fruti
Game in which words with a particular phoneme must be written by categories: colors, names, soccer teams, foods, countries. It can be adapted to the level and interests of each child.
14. Guessing characters games
Through clues or questions to the opponent, you have to guess the character in question. Attributes (sex, hair color, eyes) or accessories (glasses, cap) are worked on.
15. Guess objects by categories
With different cards that each player in turn will place on his forehead, the opponent gives him clues so that he can guess what word it is. Eg: car, strawberry, hat, dog.
16. Find the intruder
You must find which card does not belong to that category. Eg: dog, fish, rabbit, cheese, cat.
At this stage, children have reversible thinking that allows them to use verbal concepts outside of their specific context, as well as to classify or categorize words. At this stage there is an expansion of the lexical meanings of words, that is, their semantic features increase. Arriving at 11 years of age they develop a more logical, formal and imaginative thinking that allows them to access more figurative meanings, using words with a more metaphorical meaning.
Guess words through the lettering.
This game is a classic of answering questions by categories (sports, art, history, geography, etc.)
Guess words by categories through drawing.
Board game of exchange and sale of real estate. It requires different reasoning and strategies.
21. Games in which they have to recognize emotions, own and others intentions and states of mind.
22. Highs, jokes and riddles
These types of games are ideal for dealing with figurative language, metaphors and non-literal language (which goes beyond what is said).
You can read more articles similar to More than 20 fun games to expand the vocabulary of children by age, in the Language category - On-site speech therapy.