Wondering how to spend this Republic Day in a constructive and fun way with your child? Here are five games you can play with him that'll help him improve his English language skills.
My son Atitya is turning seven next month. He is fluent in his mother tongue, Konkani. While my wife and I are proud of his fluency in his mother tongue, it doesn't help him much at school, where everyone speaks in English. Atitya does know English reasonably well, but I can see that he's not as proficient as most of his peers. His class teacher has recommended that we get him to read some story books to improve his vocabulary, but unfortunately, he doesn't find that interesting enough.
Worried about what to do, I spoke to my friend Vijay, who is a father of twins. He recommended that I play some word games with Atitya, to improve his vocabulary in a fun and engaging way. So, this Republic Day I've resolved to spend the holiday with my child playing some fun word games.
Following are some games I have in mind:
This simple word game can be played anywhere, anytime. First, decide on a category like 'household items'. The first player begins by saying a word that belongs to the category, such as lamp. The word 'lamp' ends with a 'p'. So, the next player will have to say a word which starts with the letter 'p', like 'pan'. You could play this game whenever there's time to spare. Try it out on the next occasion you and your child have some free time.
What your child will learn: Through this game, your child will learn new words. If you feel like he needs to learn new words in a particular field or subject, you could play using that category.
This game is exactly how it sounds. It tests a player's spelling abilities. Each player challenges the other with a difficult word to spell. When playing with your child, remember to choose words that are appropriate for her age. If you find that she breezes through them, you can start challenging her with more difficult ones.
What your child will learn: This game will hone your child's spelling abilities. Spelling is a vital skill when it comes to written communication. It can also be used to introduce new words to her.
Pick a big word such as 'contemporary' and explain what it means to your child. Then, write it down on a piece of paper. Now take a stopwatch and set it for two minutes. Hand him a notepad and a pen. He has to write down as many words as he can by using letters from the chosen word. Using the letters in 'contemporary', you can make words like 'cot', 'come' and 'trace'. Each player should try to make as many words as he can within the decided time.
What your child will learn: Through this game, your child's knowledge of difficult words will improve. Using the letters of the larger word to make smaller words will also help improve his spelling skills.
Choose a letter and ask your child to spot objects around her whose names start with that letter. For example, if you choose the letter 'C', she may spot objects such as 'cap', or 'crayon'. You can also use this game to help her practise her spelling abilities. Simply ask her to write down the names of the objects she spots. If you notice any objects that she is unfamiliar with, you can take this opportunity to introduce them to her.
What your child will learn: Your child will learn new words as well as improve her ability to spell.
Of all the word games that I've come across, this one is the best. To play this game, just choose a simple word such as 'pack'. Your child has to replace one letter from this word with a new letter in order to create a new word. For example: pack - rack - race - mace - mare - care - cart. If your child gets stuck at some point, you can suggest new words to him.
What your child will learn: This game will definitely spark your child's interest in words and the English language. Whenever he gets stuck, you can teach him new words.
I'm sure that once I start playing these games with my child, his English language skills will improve. At the same time, together, we will have a lot of fun. I do look forward to bonding with my son through these word games.
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