Word games are great for kids because they get them to practice reading comprehension and essential language skills whilst having fun. When you make learning a fun activity, kids don’t realise that learning is happening or that they are actually improving their language, literacy and conversation skills.
In this article, we will look at different types of word games and share some ideas for children’s word games to help improve their language skills and help motivate them to want to learn more.
An easy and fun word game for kids (of all ages) is I spy. All you need for this game is your imagination.
- One player (the "spy") thinks of an object in their surroundings and says "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with the letter ‘c’".
- The other players take turns guessing what object the spy is thinking of by asking questions or making guesses. For example, a player might say "Is it red?" or "Is it a cat?"
- The spy can only answer "yes" or "no" to the guesses.
- The first player to correctly guess the object becomes the new spy and gets to choose the next object.
This game is a great way to reinforce spelling.
- One player (the "word keeper") thinks of a word and writes a series of underscores (_) on a piece of paper, representing each letter of the word.
- The other player (the "guesser") tries to guess what the word is by suggesting letters. The word keeper should write the correctly guessed letters in the appropriate places on the paper.
- If the guesser suggests a letter that is not in the word, the word keeper should draw one part of a stick figure being "hanged" on a gallows. The stick figure should be drawn as follows:
- First, draw a gallows with a horizontal bar and a vertical pole
- Second, add a head
- Third, add a body
- Fourth, add one arm
- Fifth, add the other arm
- Sixth, add one leg
- Seventh, add the other leg
- The game continues until either the guesser correctly guesses the word (in which case they win) or the stick figure is fully drawn (in which case the word keeper wins).
You will first need to create Bingo cards. You will need the appropriate number of cards for the number of players. Draw a 3 x 3 square grid on the page and choose a theme. Write 9 words pertaining to the theme into the grids. Make each grid different.
Write all the theme words on paper. Cut them up into squares, fold them in half and put them in a bowl or hat.
For example, if your theme is the beach, then the words you could write in the grid and on the pieces of paper can include sand, chair, seawater, umbrella, ice cream, rocks, castle, bucket, towel, shell, beach ball, surfboard, snorkel, sun block, etc.
If your theme is a farm, then the words you could write in the grid and on the pieces of paper can include animals, tractor, field, tree, shed, paddock, plough, dairy, farmer, barn, hay, cattle, bull, cow, chicken, crops, etc.
Take turns in pulling out a word and reading it out loud, then finding it on the grid. The first person to find all of the words on their grid calls out Bingo and is the winner.
This is a great game to develop a child’s language skills.
- Choose 6 or 7 categories that your child identifies with and write these in columns across the top of sheets of paper.
- Once you have your categories it is time to choose a letter. The easiest way to choose a letter is to write all the letters of the alphabet randomly on a piece of paper.
- One person closes their eyes and points to a letter. When the letter has been chosen, players have 2 minutes to fill in the table with something in each category starting with that letter.
- At the end of the allocated time period, each player calls out what they wrote under each category. One point is awarded for each completed category.
- If two players guessed the same word, then they do not get a point for that word.
- The winner is the player with the most points.
Words within a word (A mini anagram game)
This word game requires kids to create their own words. Choose one really long word with at least 8-10 letters. The longer the word the better it will be for this game.
The aim of this word game is for kids to try to make a list of small words out of the letters of the long word, using each letter as many times as it appears in the long word.
For example, the word HELICOPTER includes cot, there, core, hop, top, pet and trip.
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