The following is a list of activities which can help children with ages 3 to 6 years old to enrich their skills in language.
1) The first activity aims to help children focus their attention to sounds through words. In doing so, children realize that words consist of sounds. In the process, the children engage themselves in learning how to read as they match the sounds they hear to the words written. Remember that the benefit of doing this activity is that this can actually prevent problems in reading which may possibly occur in the future. The things you need for this activity include nursery rhyme books, a compilation of tongue twisters, a set of word games or a collection of silly songs.
The following suggested activities can be done with the children. Just make sure that they enjoy them.
• Say the name of your child and then ask him to say the words beginning with a similar sound. For example, if her name is Karelle, make her say words such as kite, key and kiss. If his name is Marcus, you can ask him to say words like mouse, man and mat.
• Every time you read your child a poem or a story, have him listen to the words and give him examples of words beginning with a similar sound. Then, let him do the same by asking him to think and give you another word beginning with the same sound.
• Read out a nursery rhyme like “Jack and Jill” to your child. Play with the words in the nursery rhyme by asking your child to make up word such as “Back and Bill” or “Pack and Pill”.
• Make up silly lines with your child using many different words all beginning with similar sounds such as, “Billy bought blue baby bottles.”
• Give two names that can be used to name an animal. Ask which of the two names starts with the sound similar to that of the name of the animal. For instance, which should be a dog’s name, Dino or Lino? Should the cat be named Candy or Dandy?
2) The second activity aims to make the child understand what a poem or a story is all about. In doing so, the child becomes a better reader as he learns how to connect his emotion with the words written. The things that you must have in this activity are stories or poems written from the viewpoint of a child and also props like puppets and clothes used in children’s play.
• Slowly read a poem to the child. Make sure to read it the words with feelings, making it seem like they seem important.
• If the child has a favourite poem, make her act out the poem while making different faces for the different emotions that the poem’s character feels. Make sure to give her praises after performing.
• Ask your child to perform a poem in front of the whole family. Allot a time when the whole family can sit down together. After the child’ performance, ask her to take her bow while everyone is cheering and clapping loudly.
• Make the child play with her imagination by asking her to create an original play based on a story she has heard or read before. Give her the help that she needs in looking for things like a stuffed toy, puppet or whatever she can use in telling the story. You can choose to write the words down, or if she already can, help her do so. Help her set up the stage for her play for friends and the rest of the family to watch.
3) The third activity makes the child aware of the people important for him. Also, it can give him an overview about how one thing can lead to some other thing in the story. The first few of the suggested activities will more likely be enjoyed by younger children. As a child gets older, the activities in the latter part might be enjoyed by him more. Just keep making him do the first activities while he still enjoys doing them.
• Tell stories about your family and about others close to your family. You might capture your child’s interest more if you put the stories in books then you can add old pictures.
• Relate to your child your own childhood stories which can includes what happened on a particular birthday party or on an out- of- town trip.
• Let your child take his turn by also telling you stories on things that happened during special occasions like birthday and holidays.
• If you take a trip somewhere, create a journal where you and your child can write down your experiences. Add up photos of these experiences. You can pass on all of these to the next family generation. These trips don’t have to be out of town as they can even be at supermarkets or parks.
4) This last activity improves your child’s ability to both read and write. Here, you will be needing art materials such as drawing pencils, coloring materials, a pair of scissors, a yarn, a writing paper, a construction paper and a cardboard.
• Write together with the child. By watching how you write, the child learns to write better too. Make her understand that writing is very useful.
• On making birthday cards or just lists, let your preschoolers sign them her own way, even when they just scribble.
• Put up a message board in the kitchen for the whole family. Offer to be the one to write down his notes there. Make sure that she gets to read the notes for her.
• Have your child tell you stories which you can write down for her. Clarify to her the things that you do not understand.
• Push your child to start writing her name while you practice with her. Remember that at first, maybe the only thing she can write is her name’s first letter.
• Help your preschooler write thank you letters or just simple notes to friends and relatives. Convince them to write back to your child.
• By the time that he is already in kindergarten, your preschooler will start writing words based on how he hears them. For instance, if he hears the word friend, she might write it as frn or haf for the word have. Make him read what he wrote. You don’t have to mind the spellings yet since he can learn them later on.
• Help her in organizing longer stories by asking her questions.
• Compile your preschooler’s writings as books. Glue her drawings and her writings on sheets of construction paper. Using cardboard, make the cover for every book and then design it. Punch a hole in the sheets so you can bind her book using a yarn. Don’t forget to write a title for every book and your child’s name as the author.
All these activities aim to build the language skills of your children. But remember that there still are a number of ways to further your kid’s learning.
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