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Here are two more games to play with your child, to help him understand language. These are both sorting games. They help him explore the relationship between different objects, their similarities adn differences. They also your child move from recognising real objects and toys to pictures, an important step in learning about symbols. Understanding symbols underpins his languge skills, and also, later, his ability to learn to read.
Understanding activities: sorting
Help him sort things into boxes. Collect a wide range of toys and pictures. Make sure you include things that look different but have the same name. Include a red sock, a short sock, a long sock, a picture of a sock and a dirty sock, to go in one box, for example. Different kinds of pencils, or brushes, or books will go in the other boxes.
Sort them into the boxes with him, using the objects’ names and discussing how they are the same and how they are different. Point out that all the socks have a toe and a heel, but that one sock is longer, or cleaner, or a different colour than the other one.
Understanding activities: post box
When you’ve played many times with real objects or small toys, start to introduce pictures for some of your games. Here’s a game to boost his understanding of different objects and their word labels.
Many words fit into pairs of opposites. “Hot” is the opposite of “cold” and “high” is the opposite of “low”. Learning to recognise the contrasts between these characteristics helps your child establish important ideas such as size, shape, number and volume.
This simple sorting game helps him learn about ‘big’ and ‘small’, ‘fat’ and ‘thin’, ‘high’ and ‘low’.
Make two post boxes out of old cardboard boxes by cutting holes in the front.
Collect pictures that show opposites, using the concepts of size and height. Make sure you have several pictures of each kind of item and that the big items are very clearly much bigger than the small ones. Big things should fill the whole page, while small things should sit right in the middle with plenty of plain space around them.
Select two pictures, for example, a big face and a small face. Play a posting game, by putting the big face in one box and the small face in the other.
Move on to pictures of fat things and thin things, open things and closed things, and play the game again.
Avoid introducing more than one concept at a time: spend several sessions on big and small, and then wait a while before moving on to fat and thin.
Later, you can begin to introduce the idea of some big things being even bigger than other big things. Point things out in the street and keep the conversation going.
Your child learns to understand big and very big, before he can manage big and bigger.
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