If you are like most parents, you care deeply about your child’s speech and language development. After all, the more words your child knows, the better they can communicate what they need. (This can lead to less frustration, whining and crying!) But how do you teach a preschooler new words when you can hardly get them to sit still?
You can get creative when it comes to helping your child develop literacy skills. There are several things you can do as a parent to help increase your child’s vocabulary even if they’re a toddler.
The first step to building your child’s vocabulary is to understand how a young mind works, as well as what it means to have a good vocabulary as a preschooler. According to Linguisystems Milestones Guide, three and four-year-old children should have a vocabulary of around one to two thousand words.
That might sound like a lot of words, but it turns out that children already know more words than you think. There are four different types of vocabulary. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing vocabulary. This article focuses on the first three since most preschoolers aren’t writing yet.
So, let’s look at three fun, easy vocabulary activities for preschoolers that you can use to help increase your child’s vocabulary. Let’s help them to engage their senses and lay the foundation for early literacy this fall.
Listening Vocabulary: Take a Hike
Fall is the perfect time to help your toddler expand their color vocabulary. This activity for teaching vocabulary to preschoolers allows your child to soak up the season while learning their colors.
Take a family hike to a wooded park. Ask your child to bring you a red leaf. Then ask them to bring you a yellow leaf. Be sure to let them know how proud you are of them when they get an answer right. Studies show that toddlers are more engaged in learning when their parents are engaged and supportive. You can challenge your child by asking them to bring you a maroon, spring green, dark green, or even golden leaf. If you have older children as well, you can save the leaves and make a scrapbook. This way your older children can use it to help your preschooler learn their colors.
Speaking Vocabulary: Help them Unpack their Adjectives
A study conducted by the UK Ministry of Education shows that all children start their lives as creative geniuses. They tested hundreds of preschoolers in divergent thinking. More than 90% of the children scored in the genius range. They also tested second graders for divergent thinking. Only 10% of the second graders scored in the genius level. The study suggested that children unlearn divergent or creative thinking in school. This makes it more important for parents to nurture their creative genius.
Take your toddler with you to pick out your Halloween pumpkin. Line up three pumpkins of different sizes and ask your child to tell you which pumpkin is big and which is biggest. Ask your child to tell you whether the pumpkin is rough or smooth. You can also ask if the pumpkin feels warm or cool.
Reading Vocabulary: Set the table
Your child may not be able to read yet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help them develop the literacy skills they’ll need for reading comprehension down the road. Help your toddler learn new sight words with this literacy tip.
Create simple place cards for the people who sit around your table (for example, ‘Mom’, ‘Dad’, ‘Grandma’, ‘Danielle’, ‘Marcus’, etc.). Make sure to include a place card with your child’s name too. Ask your toddler to put the place cards out at every meal. When Thanksgiving comes, challenge them by creating fun place tags for the food.
Every child has a genius inside them waiting to come out. These simple and interactive activities teach vocabulary to preschool students. They’re so fun and engaging, they’ll feel like they’re only playing. You and your preschooler will be having such a good time they won’t even realize how much they are learning! You can also your child in a good quality Phoenix preschool to make sure they excel in expanding their vocabulary.