I’ve talked before about the importance of helping your children develop their writing vocabularies through the use of writing games and word banks.
Well, here’s an activity that serves both purposes: It’s a vocabulary-building game that helps students create word lists of their own—specifically, a gathering of adjectives. You can play this game with two or more kids of all ages.
- Familiar object to pass around
- Spiral notebook
- Index cards or slips of paper
- Pen or pencil
- Simple drawing materials (optional)
1. Describe an object.
On a new page of the notebook, write the name of a familiar object on the top line.
Hand the object to one of your kids and ask them to look at it, touch it, and pick a single word to describe it.
- If the object is a seashell, your 3rd grader might choose a word such as hard, bumpy, pretty, or breakable.
- Given the same seashell, your 11th grader may come up with scalloped, fragile, jagged, or exquisite.
As the object is passed back and forth and each child says a descriptive word, write the adjective in the notebook and also on an index card.
2. Describe something different.
When you’ve gathered about 10 adjectives, take turns picking an index card and using the adjective on the card in a sentence. But instead of describing the original familiar object, describe something completely different. For instance, using the seashell adjectives gathered earlier, they may come up with:
- Our plates have scalloped edges.
- My turtle’s shell feels like bumpy stones.
3. Describe a word.
Once everyone has practiced with a real object, play the game again. This time, don’t pass around an object. Instead, just say a word and invite them to respond with an adjective.
For instance, say “teacup” or “elephant.”
- Teacup might prompt hard, smooth, breakable, delicate, translucent, fragile, brittle, clattering, beautiful, flowered, china, or porcelain.
- Elephant could elicit big, wrinkled, humongus, gray, heavy, lumbering, shy, slow, clumsy, plodding, kind, playful, or massive.
Just think how exciting it will be when your normally word-phobic children come up with such descriptive words! You’ll begin to realize each of the collected adjectives is a familiar word to them but has been stuck in some distant mental file. And your joy will be complete as you see some of these words start to spill over into their writing.
Want To Do More?
- Repeat the activity, choosing a new object to pass around. Start a new page in the spiral notebook.
- If someone gets stuck, let them use a thesaurus for help.
- For a more hands-on activity, younger children may enjoy illustrating their new sentences and reading them aloud. You can keep these together with the notebook as examples.
- Keep the notebook handy whenever your kids write.
Through games and skill-building activities, WriteShop teaches children of all ages to choose strong words to make their writing come alive!
This homeschool writing curriculum will not only teach your children how to write, it will show you how to teach writing. Schedules, lesson plans, and checklists not only help you teach effectively, but you’ll learn to objectively edit and grade their work.