Building vocabulary through simple pleasures & experiences


 

It is well recognised that direct experiences of the world are a major factor in the growth of a child’s vocabulary. I thought about all the simple things in life that contribute to a child’s early development and beyond.

Parents are obviously key contributors, by making sure that their child(ren) experience a range of places to visit and people to talk to, but I wonder if:

a)      Parents fully realise the opportunities for developing vocabulary that are rooted in the everyday and understand their value?

b)      Schools & EY settings make the most of the same opportunities for development of speaking & listening skills and/or taking a different slant on homework, for example?

 

Here are a few of the simple experiences I’m thinking of:

  • Including a child in the planning, preparation and organisation of a party
  • Trips to the zoo, park or farms
  • Being part of looking after a small garden or allotment
  • Building a den in the woods- lighting a fire and cooking on it
  • Visiting a building site
  • Singing songs and nursery rhymes
  • Walks in the neighbourhood including parks and gardens
  • Visits to the post office, shops, railway stations, factories, hotels
  • Visits to the library, museums, fire station, police station
  • Playing and enjoying different types of music together
  • Visit to the seaside
  • Cooking different foods – trying some unusual ones
  • Looking after pets of their own – even it’s a wormery or ant farm
  • Go fishing or camping
  • Watch TV programmes together and watch films that can be talked about afterwards

 

 

Just imagine how long the list of things to talk about during each of these would be if we were to brainstorm them all.  Just the passing of the seasons alone provide different points of interest and observation skills.

What would homework look like if it included things like this? Possible or not?

How many of these have your children experienced? What would you add to this list?

 

We know some children do have the privilege of visiting many different places – internationally as well as in the local area, but how much talk and ‘wonder’ is there in each of the experiences? And what about those children who haven’t experienced even these simple pleasures in life?

 

These are things that offer opportunities for children to talk and build vocabulary in the context of the real experience (not just looking in a book, which is still valuable of course) and many provide opportunities to ‘learn by doing’.

 

When children are taken out and about they are also exposed to and have the opportunity to absorb and read environmental print - which is everywhere: we often forget just how much there is – often in the form of instructions or health & safety related.

 

What about a Bingo game for children to do – either in school time or as ‘homework’?

 

Make a grid of some labels and signs for children to spot over a week or so. (this could obviously be biased to your particular context and the age group of the children involved) – it could be called a ‘Scavenger Hunt’

 

Here are some examples – children could make up their own for each other to do.

 

No dogs allowed except guide dogs Handle with care Use the other door Do not enter
Entrance Emergency exit Fire escape Wet paint
Keep off the grass External use only Out of order No swimming
Beware of the dog Merging traffic No trespassing Private drive

 

 

The cumulative effect of what appear to be simple experiences shouldn’t be taken for granted: they provide a rich bank of possibilities for vocabulary development and talk. If we are to believe that as family lives get seemingly ever busier these types of experiences are becoming less commonplace then we need to be mindful of how to redress the balance – don’t we?

 

For over 800 creative lesson ideas why not join The Thinking Child Network? Click on the logo to join for FREE and have a look around:

 

TC Network Badge

 

 

 

 

 

To download a set of 50 ideas for developing early language skills:

Early Years Cards

It is well recogised that direct experiences of the world are a major factor in the growth of a child’s vocabulary. I thought about all the simple things in life that contribute to a child’s early development and beyond.

Parents are obviously key contributors, by making sure that their child(ren) experience a range of places to visit and people to talk to, but I wonder if:

a)      Parents fully realise the opportunities for developing vocabulary that are rooted in the everyday and understand their value?

b)      Schools & EY settings make the most of the same opportunities for development of speaking & listening skills and/or taking a different slant on homework, for example?

Here are a few of the simple experiences I’m thinking of:

  • Including a child in the planning, preparation and organisation of a party
  • Trips to the zoo, park or farms
  • Being part of looking after a small garden or allotment
  • Building a den in the woods- lighting a fire and cooking on it
  • Visiting a building site
  • Singing songs and nursery rhymes
  • Walks in the neighbourhood including parks and gardens
  • Visits to the post office, shops, railway stations, factories, hotels
  • Visits to the library, museums, fire station, police station
  • Playing and enjoying different types of music together
  • Visit to the seaside
  • Cooking different foods – trying some unusual ones
  • Looking after pets of their own – even it’s a wormery or ant farm
  • Go fishing or camping
  • Watch TV programmes together and watch films that can be talked about afterwards

Just imagine how long the list of things to talk about during each of these would be if we were to brainstorm them all.  Just the passing of the seasons alone provide different points of interest and observation skills.

What would homework look like if it included things like this? Possible or not?

How many of these have your children experienced? What would you add to this list?

We know some children do have the privilege of visiting many different places – internationally as well as in the local area, but how much talk and ‘wonder’ is there in each of the experiences? And what about those children who haven’t experienced even these simple pleasures in life?

These are things that offer opportunities for children to talk and build vocabulary in the context of the real experience (not just looking in a book, which is still valuable of course) and many provide opportunities to ‘learn by doing’.

When children are taken out and about they are also exposed to and have the opportunity to absorb and read environmental print - which is everywhere: we often forget just how much there is – often in the form of instructions or health & safety related.

What about a Bingo game for children to do – either in school time or as ‘homework’?

Make a grid of some labels and signs for children to spot over a week or so. (this could obviously be biased to your particular context and the age group of the children involved) – it could be called a ‘Scavenger Hunt’

Here are some examples – children could make up their own for each other to do.

No dogs allowed except guide dogs Handle with care Use the other door Do not enter
Entrance Emergency exit Fire escape Wet paint
Keep off the grass External use only Out of order No swimming
Beware of the dog Merging traffic No trespassing Private drive

The cumulative effect of what appear to be simple experiences shouldn’t be taken for granted: they provide a rich bank of possibilities for vocabulary development and talk. If we are to believe that as family lives get seemingly ever busier these types of experiences are becoming less commonplace then we need to be mindful of how to redress the balance – don’t we?

For over 800 creative lesson ideas why not join The Thinking Child Network? Click on the logo to join for FREE and have a look around:

TC Network Badge

To download a set of 50 ideas for developing early language skills:

Early Years Cards  Early Years_thumb

Early Years_thumb

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