Young Parents team
You want your kid to have strong language skills for Primary 1, but chances are you end up staring at your respective gadgets every time you’re together because you’ve run out of ideas to engage them.
Chow Keat Yeng, owner and principal of Artistic Expressions, shares fun ideas below that will expand their vocabulary and communication skills.
“Remember, these activities may not always work the first time,” says Keat Yeng, who has over 20 years of teaching experience in the field of speech and drama, and is the director and playwright of Esplanade’s Playtime! series.
“However, repeated over time, it will become a habit of sorts and the children will gradually enjoy and learn from the activities.”
THIS IS HOW WE GREET
Eskimo rub noses together. The English shake hands. The Russians kiss on either cheek. Frenchmen kiss a lady’s hand. How does your family greet one another?
When you’ve worked out your greeting action (it can be pulling each other’s hair followed by two jumps, or it can be clapping hands on the shoulders and doing a leapfrog), start weaving this into your daily routine.
I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE
Playing verbal word games is always an engaging way for young children to build early literacy skills. Most of us grew up with this game, which helps children build descriptive skills and practice listening to verbal clues.
Designate a spy in the family. The spy should select an object that everyone can see. Do not reveal the object yet.
Announce your hint. State the colour of the object in this manner: I spy with my little eye something that is red.’
Take turns guessing. Guessers will have to reply in this manner: It is the XX! (Avoid accepting a nod or shake of the head as a response).
The spy will have to reply: No it is not! Or Yes it is!
Declare the first person who guesses correctly the new spy.
Change the characteristics of the clues for more fun, especially for the older children. Explore shapes, or objects that begin with a certain colour.
Introduce it as a pre- or post-dinner activity instead of reaching for the iPad.
ONE WORD AT A TIME
Try making mealtimes fun and challenging. Throughout the meal, everyone can only speak one word at a time. The aim is not to continue someone’s sentence, but to find one word that best expresses your thought/idea.
I am often amazed by how well children aged five and six years old are able to do this activity.
If this is a little too challenging, try introducing a title of a story. Each person will have to add one word at a time. The idea is to keep the thoughts free flowing. Before you know it, an adventure story would have been created.
Take it one step further by encouraging the children to act out the story after the mealtime, with the parent assuming the role as a narrator.
I often tell my parents that this activity is extremely useful in introducing the concept of standing still to children. Many times I receive feedback that the child is unable to stand still when talking or during mealtimes. Try this activity at home and see how great it works!
Encourage the children to find a space in the room.
Parent says “action”.
Children will move freely around, taking care not to bump into anybody.
When the parent shouts “freeze”, they must all stand still like a statue.
Add more challenges by telling them to freeze like a particular animal, superhero or object (you can add in description thereafter – for example, tall rabbit, small rabbit).
You can also include emotions, but only in a “freeze” position.
You can introduce this activity anytime of the day, even in the car. During mealtimes, play this if they start to get too fidgety. Moving around can simple mean moving in their chairs.
One little flower, one little bee.
One little blue bird, high in the tree.
One little brown bear smiling at me.
One is the number I like, you see.
I love to introduce this poem to my kids. Once they are familiar with the lines (you can incorporate more actions to make it more fun), encourage the child to create their own lines, using the objects around them.
You can even teach numbers by encouraging them to find things that come in pairs, threes, and so on. Head out to explore while reciting this poem or play this at the table.
(Photo: Petro Feketa/123RF.com)
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