Reading Games That Will Boost Your Child’s Vocabulary

Reading Games

Kids are fueled by an insatiable curiosity. While the barrage of questions hurled from the backseat during long road trips might drive parents a little crazy, those questions—the whys, the whats and the hows—help kids to satisfy their thirst for knowledge about the world around them. New words also fascinate children, and when kids begin reading it isn’t uncommon for them to read a new word and then inquire about the meaning.

For kids with precocious reading abilities, these decoding moments sometimes lead to funny moments. But regardless of a child’s reading level, parents should encourage their thirst for knowledge. The more expansive a child’s personal word bank, the better they can articulate their needs, feelings, and interests to others.

A child’s mind can suck up knowledge like a sponge. Exposure to a vast vocabulary during their younger years gives a hefty advantage to children later in life. While some parents have an educational advantage in assisting curious developing minds, helping a child learn new words and increase their vocabulary doesn’t require an advanced education or degree. Parents–like kids–just need to be willing to explore the never ending list of words found in the dictionary.

Learning new words should be fun. While skill and drill sessions with flash cards may eventually impress new words into a child’s brain, they certainly won’t enjoy the experience. For parents who seek to expand their child’s vocabulary, word games create a fun environment that allows kids to naturally expand their linguistic abilities.

From board games to online fun—and even a few DIY games you can create at home—here are the best games to play to help kids boost their vocabulary skills and help them learn (and spell) new words.

Reading Games

Board Games

Bananagrams

We know many teachers who request Bananagrams for their classrooms. Letter tiles are packed in a cloth banana, and the object of the game is to create continuous interconnecting links of words. The game may be played with numerous players or solo.

Blurt!

It’s a race to see who can say the right word that fits the definition. The first person to ‘blurt’ the answer wins! This game is a great way for kids to learn new words and test their vocab knowledge. Blurt is best suited for kids ages 7 and up!

Boggle & Boggle, Jr.

Boggle is aimed for elementary kids (and beyond), and Boggle Jr. was created for preschoolers. Boggle Jr. requires kids to match the “letter cubes” to spell the name of a picture. Older kids playing Boggle have three minutes to discover as many words as possible within the word cube. Parents and kids may team up or face each other for a battle of words. Be sure to help kids understand and lookup any word you (or they) discover…keep those dictionaries handy!

Reading Games

Scrabble

The ultimate favorite word game, Scrabble allows kids (and adults) to create words from the tiles using letters in their possession or on the board. Scores are based on word length and difficulty. Keep a dictionary handy to ensure that only real words are being played…and to check definitions of new words.

Sight Word Swat

Sight words are the words that kids should be able to read instantly…on sight. Every school features a list of grade-level sight words that should be mastered by the year’s end. Give your child a bit of sight word practice with Sight Word Swat. Kids have to use their fly swatter to swat the sight word fly that corresponds to the word called out during the game.

Spelligator

Much like Scrabble, kids must see who can make (and chomp) the most words. Best for kids ages 5 and up, Spelligator encourages phonetic awareness and helps kids build spelling skills.

Reading Games

Online Reading Fun

Raz-Kids (Reading A to Z)

Most schools have a subscription to RAZ-Kids that kids may use at home. The site features interactive books that kids must listen to, then read, and finally take a comprehension quiz on. RAZ-Kids is a great site for building reading comprehension, phonetic awareness and overall reading skills. Kids advance through the site, going from level A to Z. Along the way, they also earn points which they can use to buy items for their online-based Raz Rocket.

PBS Kids

The Public Broadcasting Station’s online hub is filled with wonderful reading resources and games that help kids improve reading skills. Kids can create their own comic strip (from Maya & Miguel), read stories created by other kids (and write their own stories), make a movie with Buster (from Arthur) and much more! PBS is the premier learning site for kids…and the options for fun learning adventures are almost endless. Plus, kids will enjoy creating stories and reading adventures filled with their favorite television characters. Parents may also download the PBS app.

Reading Games

DIY Games

We promised you a few creative games. When making DIY reading games, you can use your imagination to create an entirely new game or just borrow a few of ours and modify them for your children. The goal is to make reading and learning new words a fun experience.

Match it Up

Buy colorful index cards or create cards out of cardstock. Now create matching cards with your child’s vocabulary words and their definitions…or just use words you would like them to learn. This is just like the Memory games you find at the store, and the goal is to find the word pairs. If you use new words that your child doesn’t know, be sure to talk about the meaning.

Prefix & Suffix Games

The online site YourDictionary suggests creating prefix and suffix cards for a unique word game challenge. Each child draws a card with either a prefix or suffix and then has a designated amount of time to create as many words as possible using the prefix or suffix on the card.

Synonym/Antonym Challenge

Create cards with various words (pull from a child’s vocab list or just use the dictionary). Each child must draw a card and write as many synonyms or antonyms to the words as possible in a designated time limit. Whoever creates the most words wins the round. For younger kids, encourage rhyming words instead of synonyms or antonyms.

Spelling Bee

On cold or rainy indoor days, host your own spelling bee! Grab a dictionary, provide the definition and have kids compete on spelling words! Not only will they learn new words and definitions, but they will also sharpen their spelling skills! This is a perfect game for budding wordsmiths.

All kids are naturally inquisitive and enjoy learning new facts and words. Encourage their curiosity and build their knowledge with games that help improve reading, spelling and vocabulary skills. Buy classic board games, go online or create your own games at home for fun, challenging, and wacky word play!

How Children’s Adventure Books Encourage Active Lives!

children's adventure books

Reading children’s adventure books inspires creativity through imaginative adventures, and getting lost in a book doesn’t just happen in a child’s mind. Acting out a story lets children become part of a story…and interpret the adventure.

Role-playing and imaginative adventures based on plot lines from favorite books also help get kids up and outdoors to engage in a healthy dose of activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.”

Reading, of course,is also an integral part of a child’s growth and development. Reading aloud for 15 minutes each day greatly helps children learn phonics skills, boost their comprehension and help them develop a love of books. As kids grow older and learn to read silently to themselves, books introduce them to new worlds and ideas.

Inside the pages of children’s adventure books are adventures and discoveries. Mysteries unfold and creatures come to life. All this excitement can’t and shouldn’t be contained within the binding of the book. Let kids act out their favorite stories and characters and help them realize how they can bring their stories to life!

children's adventure books

Pirate Adventures

Reading pirate themed children’s adventure books or maybe even Treasure Island with your kids? Round them up and go on a real treasure hunt! Grab a map (or make one!) and head outside. For this adventure, make up a list of interesting loot to find. Today ye be pirates!

Ahoy, mateys! If ye can’t think of a list o’ loot, here be some suggestions: a coin of each denomination, a flower, a four-leaf clover for luck (yes, they do exist!), a dragon’s foot print (a bird’s will do!), and some seeds that fly (helicopter seeds or dandelions).

children's adventure books

Head to Hogwarts

Kids quickly become entranced by the Harry Potter series. Suddenly, they want to be sorted and live out the adventure!  Take them to be sorted on Pottermore—the official Harry Potter online site. Pottermore offers sorting for both Hogwarts and Ilvermory (the American school). You also can have your wand assigned and discover your Patronus. Once you and the kids get sorted, make up some wands and have some wizarding adventures. Look up local fan clubs and join in some Hogwarts fun. Or just let them play outside and pretend to act out the adventures. You can play the role of a teacher…or a student (we won’t judge).

children's adventure books

Teaching Fairy Tale Fun with Children’s Adventure Books

Classic fairy tales in children’s adventure books can be the basis for many fun adventures. Use fairy tales to uncover real stories about princes, princesses and even the world around us.

Take kids on field trips to explore caves—like the one Aladdin explores—and lighthouses (like the tower that housed Rapunzel). Behind the fantasy, there are real lessons kids can learn from children’s adventure books, and you can use them as the starting point of some very educational outings. Though you could also just let the kids dress up as knights and go out in search of dragons!

With a little imagination, parents can take kids on fantastic journeys based on the stories they love. Reading with kids doesn’t just develop their growing minds. Books plant the seeds of adventure. Embrace their curiosity by planning storybook-themed activities and encouraging kids to recreate their favorite characters and stories. Imagination breathes life into the pages of print and turns an ordinary book into an exhilarating and joyful journey.

5 Reasons to Give a Personalized Baby Book as a Birthday Gift

personalized baby bookParents often exist in what is certainly a survival mode—especially when the baby is still a newborn. Suddenly, though, that once new and helpless baby is rolling over, babbling, and eventually, running through the house…and before you know it, driving off to college. While babies seemingly turn into teens overnight, parents desperately try to lock those early moments into their minds and hearts. A little reminder, like a personalized baby book, can bring those memories and  nostalgia rushing back.

New parents cherish keepsake items that preserve pieces of their child’s infancy. Those early days go by in a flash, and it’s often so easy to take some of those little firsts for granted. But special items—personalized mementos—bring back the happy memories of those sweet baby days.

Personalized baby books that celebrate baby’s favorite characters, milestones or even, yes, sweet stories that encourage potty training, all make great gifts for baby’s first and later birthdays. With a personalized baby book, baby is written into the story. And even when the little one outgrows them, parents can keep the personalized book as a memento to pull out when they want those baby days back for just a few minutes.

While mom and dad will cherish the instant keepsake, baby will appreciate personalized books in other ways:

personalized baby book

1.       Personalized Baby Books Help Build Name Recognition

According to Parenting, babies begin to recognize their name at around 5 or 6 months of age. Writing baby into the book means that baby’s name will be used throughout the story. Parents can use the book to help their little one begin to recognize their name—and the letters within their name.

2.       Achieve New Milestones

Hearing their name read in stories associated with milestone achievements, like going potty, helps build excitement about accomplishing a new skill. While baby may receive the book to celebrate turning one year old, personalized books may be aimed towards toddler-age feats.

3.       Personalized Baby Book Remembering all the ‘Firsts’

“Elmo’s Book of Firsts” commemorates and tracks all those milestones of childhood—including the first day of school. Even the smaller moments are celebrated…like a child’s first tricycle ride and their first playground experience. Children will enjoy flipping through their book throughout their lives and may one day find themselves sharing their book of firsts with their own children.

personalized baby book

4.       Celebrating the Day of Birth

Every child likes to hear the story of the day they were born. Read the story of baby’s journey into the world with a special book honoring their day of birth.  Books about baby’s birth story include a cover page with a special message from mom and dad…or the gift giver.

5.       Becoming a Big Sibling!

Down the road, the first baby may become a Big Brother or Sister! Introduce older siblings to their special role in the family with a personalized book that puts their feelings into words and helps them understand the changes that are happening after the new baby arrives.

Personalized books preserve lasting memories for parents; yet, these books are more than just mementos. Reading personalized baby books to baby helps them work on name recognition, celebrate milestones and even prepare for new roles—like being a big sibling! When a child hears their name integrated into a story with their favorite characters, the book comes to life. Suddenly, the book becomes their story, too…and that book will be a gift that they (or you) will cherish for years!