Learning grammar can be a challenge for kids – as well as for adults re-learning concepts long forgotten! So instead of making grammar boring and dry with hours spent bent over a book in memorization, try adding a few fun grammar games to your daily life. Before you know it, your kids might start pointing out your grammatical shortcomings.
- In Other Words
Looking for grammar games to expand your child’s vocabulary? Try playing this simple game. Make a statement, then take turns with your child using another word with the same meaning, also known as a synonym. Take turns going back and forth until you run out of synonym ideas. For example:
Mom: “I’m tired.”
Child: “In other words, you’re sleepy.”
Mom: “In other words, I’m drained.”
Child: “In other words, you’re exhausted.”
Mom: “In other words, I’m bushed…” and so on…
This grammar game is great with two or more kids. Write vocabulary words on index cards and affix them to a wall or corkboard. Define a word, and let the kids take turns running up to the board and smacking it with a flyswatter. Try to see who can do it the fastest – or let them race for it at the same time.
- Homophone Spelling Challenge
Homophones are words that are pronounced alike, but have different meanings and often different spellings. Common homophones include to, too, and two; there, they’re, and their; weather and whether; plain and plane; and so on. For this game, use a homophone in a sentence and challenge each other to spell it with its correct use. If you’re feeling extra creative, use both homophones in the same sentence.
Dad: “I don’t know whether the weather will be nice enough for baseball.”
Child: “I don’t know whether (child spells W-H-E-T-H-E-R) the weather (child spells W-E-A-T-H-E-R) will be nice enough for baseball.
- Grammar I-Spy
For those just starting out (or adults revisiting grammar-land), the first step to learning grammar rules is becoming familiar with basic grammatical terms. A fun way to do this is the game I-spy.
Mom: “I spy a plural noun with my little eye (a flock of geese).”>
Child: “Will it fit in my hand? Is it a living thing?”
Try using these common grammatical terms when playing Grammar I-Spy:
- Noun: a person, place or a thing.
- Singulars vs. plurals: one of a noun is singular: one horse. Two or more is plural: two horses. Most are made by adding an “s,” however some are different: feet, cacti, oxen, mice, etc. Collective nouns describe groups of people or things, such as a crowd of people or a flock of geese. Have your children get as specific as possible when identifying their I-spy targets.
- Adjective: adds descriptive information about a noun, such as a big hat or a colorful shirt. They increase the difficulty of grammar games, but are still fun.
- Odd One Out
Write out a list of words, with one word being the “odd one out.” For example, all the words are adjectives except for one. Can your child identify the odd one out? Do they know what makes that particular word an odd one out, such as a noun in a sea of verbs? Example: large, dry, jump, tiny, colorful (all adjectives except for jump, which is a verb).
- Crazy Adverbs
This grammar game is a lot of fun for a group of children. Fold up adverbs on slips of paper. Let each child take a turn choosing an adverb, a word that gives you more information about a verb, such as quietly, softly, quickly, etc. Similar to charades, each child then acts out his or her adverb for other players to guess. Examples: spin quickly, march proudly, dance gracefully, stomp loudly, etc.
- Imaginative Adjectives
Describe an object or person using attributive adjectives, adjectives placed immediately before a noun (as opposed to predicative adjectives, those that follow verbs). To begin, create index cards with a random noun: tomato, tree, flower, baseball, pet’s names, etc. Players then draw a card, and describe themselves as the noun, using at least three adjective names. Examples: “Squishy, tasty, shiny tomato.” “Grumpy, odorous, hairy pet cat.”
- Grammar Songs & Rhymes
Whether creatively made by you and your child or borrowed from friends and online blogs, songs and rhymes – especially silly ones – help make grammar terms more memorable, such as this simple grammar rhyme from www.happychild.org:
Every name is called a noun
As field and county, street and town.
How things are done the adverbs tell
as quickly, slowly, badly, well.
An adjective describes a thing
as magic wand or golden ring.
A verb means action, something done
to read to write to jump to run.
Looking for More Grammar Games?
For the tech-savvy parents out there, don’t be afraid to check out the many free online grammar games, exercises, and apps available. More of the old-school type? Hit up the old favorites – word games such as Mad Libs, Scattergories, Outburst, and Scrabble never go out of style! There are even specialized board games available for boosting grammar and vocabulary skills.
Still Having Difficulty With Grammar and Vocabulary?
Private academic tutors are also a great way for your child to learn. Tutors have the ability to zero in on your child’s needs, saving both students and parents time and effort. They provide encouragement and one-on-one attention, in a more relaxed, less-distracting atmosphere than school.
Effective communication is essential to every aspect of your child’s life. No matter your or your child’s expertise level, don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in silliness with grammar games to help ensure the success of your children’s future endeavors!
Photo by woodleywonderworks