More Word Games to Increase Vocabulary

Word games are a fun way to practice and learn new vocabulary. My first article on word games focused on games which build letter recognition and spelling skills. In this article the games explore the relationships of words to one another and their meanings. What makes games interesting, and therefore fun to do, is the playful approach to their basic topic. Games often turn a topic inside out or outside in and let us look at the topic from a new perspective.

Many words from one: (Ages 6 and up) Play this by yourself or with a group. Take turns starting the game if you are playing with multiple players. Multiple players can either play as individuals or in small teams. Decide which way you will play before starting. To start play, the beginning player writes down a word at least six letters long. Then each player writes down as many words as they can think of which can be made from the letters in the beginning word. The winner is the team or individual who identifies the most real (defined as words which can be found in the dictionary) words which can be made from the beginning word. The beginning word does not count.

The Rhyming Game: (Ages 4 and up) The Rhyming Game is great fun for building links between words based on how they sound. Rhyming is used in poetry, song lyrics, and many word jokes and puns. In this game, the starting player names a word. Then each player in turn names a word which rhymes with the starting word. The idea is to explore the sound. A dictionary may used to check words. When no player can think of any more rhyming words, the next player in the rotation names a new word for the group. This game can be really silly and create lots of giggles particularly in the younger players.

Word Definition Game: (Ages 6 and up) This is a fun game that allows children to use their imaginations to come up with definitions for nonsensical words. This is not as far fetched as it sounds; think of the word google which now means to search for something on the Internet. New words and definitions are added to dictionaries every year. Someone at some point gave a name to a thing or phenomena. That idea is the basis of the Word Definition Game. The point of this game is to come up with a definition to a nonsense word. Here’s how the game is played. The first player comes up with a nonsense word (i.e. gibbility). The rest of the players each try to come up with a definition that suits the word (i.e. a game played with gibbiles which are short pins. The goal of the game is to knock down the gibbiles with a boomerang). The more imaginative the definitions, the more fun the game is. The player who provided the word picks the definition for his word. The player who provided the selected definition then names the next nonsense word.

Games like these can be played by families, friends, or classes. No matter who plays these games, they will have a good time and learn more about the words around them.

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