Are you a teacher, concerned mother, or homeschooling a 3rd grader? If yes, then you are most probably aware of how kids respond to vocabulary lessons. Their reactions range from rowdy and undisciplined behavior to pearl-like tears wetting their long lashes. Nevertheless, teaching kids vocabulary can be a very tedious and demanding task.
But, what if I tell you, you can make teaching 3rd grade vocabulary fun? You can’t believe me? Well, read on because I have information the FBI would pay millions to receive, just kidding…
Make Learning Fun With These Three Easy Activities
Learning and retaining words, idioms, and similar expressions can be difficult for kids. But with techniques, you can make memorization more engaging and fun for students.
Activity One: Bean Bag Toss
This game is easy to play and very engaging; it requires few supplies and is extremely rewarding.
- A large piece of square or rectangle cardboard.
- A bean bag. Or make yourself a makeshift one if you can’t snag it from around.
- Some writing supplies.
How to play:
- First, make a 2 by 2 grid on the cardboard.
- Fill each box with: 1. Use in sentence 2. Draw 3. Define 4. Act out
- Line up your students. If you are homeschooling a child, you can play with them to keep the session interesting.
- Grab the vocabulary list, and assign each child a word of your choice. Or make slips for all the words, idioms, or phrases and have the students draw them out.
- Award points or have a scoring competition to revive the competitive streak in the kids.
Activity Two: Create a Synonym Wall
Another activity that will help your students learn faster is by giving them examples of similar words. This way, you can double their learning rate too. A great thing about this activity is that even if your student doesn’t understand a word or its contextual meaning, relating it to another world will most definitely increase their understanding of its meaning and use.
According to leading educational experts from a preschool in Singapore, being innovative in teaching is what helps young kids absorb it better. For example, ‘synonym walls’, ‘word play’, and ‘fun with numbers’ are some popular teaching tools that are employed by teachers to create interest and excitement in the minds of young kids. If they are excited and engaged, they are better able to absorb what is being taught.
You can apply this trick to proverbs and idioms too. For instance, explain a word in relation to idioms examples, or vice versa.
- Cardboard, flashcards, or index cards.
- Thesaurus or access to the internet if you teach in an advanced school.
- Soft Board pins or tape.
How to play:
- Assign each student a few vocabulary words.
- Ask them to look up synonyms for the assigned words.
- Next, make the students write the given word on one cardboard and its synonym on the other.
- Collect the cards and line them up haphazardly on opposing sides of the table.
- Have your students take turns sticking a vocabulary word on the synonym wall and matching the word with its synonym.
Word association is a wonderful way to ensure students understand, memorize and retain vocabulary. Keep the synonym wall on display, and regularly add new words to it so that your students’ minds are always engaged. Moreover, you can also make your students write their synonyms from memory; ensuring spelling free of errors.
Activity Three: Make The Sentence More Interesting By Replace Descriptive Words With Their Synonyms
It is a simple exercise. All you have to do is ask the students to make a sentence more interesting by replacing adjectives with their synonyms. You may have noticed that this activity revolves around synonyms, too, that is to stress how only swapping vocabulary can improve the outlook of a sentence.
What to do?
- Write a list of sentences.
- Cut them up and toss them in a hat or a bag.
- Make students draw out a sentence one by one.
- Have the students rewrite the sentence with better words.
Remember to keep the vocabulary simple so that your students can improve them. On the other hand, whether you keep the sentences short and simple or long and complex is entirely up to you. The point is to ensure your students can handle the task.
Sentence 1: The hat was worn and dirty.
Sentence 2: The hat was ripped and soiled.
Sentence 1: A hungry boy stole a piece of bread, but the angry baker caught him.
Sentence 2: A ravenous boy stole a loaf of bread, but the furious baker captured him.
The Final Word
These three activities will spark any child’s interest in learning new vocabulary. These exercises are designed to improve their understanding of all the words you teach them.
It goes with saying that developing solid vocabulary at an early age aids students for many years to come and helps them understand texts of other subjects. Tasks like writing essays, reading books or comprehension paragraphs, studying course books improve with good vocabulary. Therefore, we must pay special attention to building a student’s vocab. Of course, it helps that such activities make it so fun and seamless.