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by Esther Jantzen, guest poster

 This game can be played anywhere, anytime, for as long as it feels fun! It’s good when you are driving in the car, walking to school, eating supper, reading together, or just relaxing. It’s a synonym game. A synonym is another word for something. For instance, “lad” is a synonym for “boy.” Learning new synonyms can really build a child’s vocabulary rapidly!

Here are some ways to play this synonym game:

1) When you are reading a book to a child and come across a word for a feeling like “happy” or “sad,” see if you or the child can think of another word that means the same thing like “joyful” or “tearful.” 

2) When you are driving or walking, see how many words you and the children can think of to describe actions that some animal might do. For example, if you see a dog running on a sidewalk, ask, “What is another word for “run”? Some possibilities might be “sprint,” “dash,” “lope, “jog,” or “scamper.”

3) Say to your child, “I’m thinking of another word for ___. Can you guess what it is?” For example  “I’m thinking of another word for “fast.” Can you guess what it is?” The answer might be “speedy, “quick”, “swift,” or “rapid.” It’s fine to give hints like, “The word I’m thinking of rhymes with _____ “or “It starts with…” 

4) When you’re watching television or listening to the radio, pick some word you hear and see if you can find a few different ways to say it (during a commercial, of course).


Esther Jantzen, Ed.D, is a mother, an educator and the author of Plus It! How to Easily Turn Everyday Activities into Learning Adventures for Kids available at www.plusitbook.com and the Way to Go! Family Learning Journal available through www.jantzenbooks.com

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