Vocabulary Development Activities for Your Child

When trying to help your child develop his or her vocabulary, the best way to help your child is to simply talk to them. Children learn language and increase their vocabulary in only one way - listening to the people around them. The richer and more abundant the language they hear daily, the more well developed their own language will be. Talk to them all day and treat them like you would an adult-research has shown over and over that you limit your child's development if you speak down to them and talk "baby talk."

In addition to normal conversation, there are dozens of creative and enjoyable activities that will help to increase your child's vocabulary and help you to better bond with your child.

Read aloud. Of course, you've been reading aloud to your child since he or she was born, but try reading books with characters and plots. Your child's brain is developing at an advanced pace. The more you challenge your child with diverse language and words the faster they will develop and build their vocabulary

Show and tell. There is a reason this activity has been part of pre-school curriculum for decades. Show and Tell is a great way to help children explore and learn words. Play show and tell at home; whenever you go somewhere, collect something to bring back. Have a show-and-tell time when the family is together. Give your child the floor to tell about his or her finding. The object doesn't need to expensive or elaborate. The true benefit of this activity comes from sharing information and experiences.

Talk. Never underestimate the importance of good conversation and information to the development of vocabulary. Again, your child's brain can absorb much more than you can imagine, so be sure to speak at a higher level and they will assimilate more words and advance quicker.

Label Everything. Give your children as much vocabulary as you can. They will probably remember the big words most easily because shorter words with similar letters such as "was" and "saw" and "which" and "when" are confusing. Most preschoolers know all the names of dinosaurs that most adults can barely pronounce. As noted earlier their minds are like sponges.

Use a variety of words to describe things; don't just use "good" and "nice." Take each new experience you have as an opportunity to learn new words. When you visit the auto shop to change your oil, talk about oil, gas and other components of a car. When you visit a nursery to pick out new plants and flowers for your yard be sure to note the different names of flowers, types of grass, plants and trees. When you make a new recipe, talk about spaghetti, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, meat balls. Have them take part in the process of cooking and they will better remember new words AND they will be more inclined to eat what they helped prepare. A great tip for parents with finicky eaters!