Many parent’s don’t realize how simple it is to increase their child’s vocabulary. Sure, reading books and going over flashcards are some ways of doing this, but there are things you can do on a daily basis that are much simpler. The great part about these activities is that your child won’t even realize that he/she is learning!
1. The Grocery Store: Many may not realize it, but the grocery store is a wonderful place for a child to learn an abundance of fruits, vegetables and other items. Have your child assist you in picking out these items. For example, “Johnny, can you please get me two mangoes?” By doing this, your child not only has to correctly identify the mangoes, but also has to follow directions to bring you back the appropriate number. **One thing to remember during this process is that mistakes are OK! This is an opportunity for your child to learn new items. “Johnny, those are pineapples. I asked for the mangoes.” You can also use this activity to reinforce what a child already knows. “Wow Johnny, great job, you found the broccoli just like I asked!” The grocery store, with an array of fruits and vegetables is also a great place to work on colors. “Johnny, which ones are the RED peppers?” or “Can you find the purple eggplant?” Who knew the grocery store could be so much fun?
2. A trip to the Zoo or Farm: If you are lucky enough to have a zoo or farm nearby, these places can be a wonderful way to increase your child’s vocabulary of animals.
Not only can the child hear about all of the different animals, but they visualize the kinds of environments they live in. They can also hear the corresponding sounds that animals make. These places are great learning experiences for children who are “visual learners.”
On your way home, make sure to ask lots of questions such as, “Johnny, which animal did you feed today?” or “Johnny, which animal was your favorite?” This will help reinforce everything learned that day.
3. A trip to the beach:The beach is a great place to take children to increase their vocabulary. With a variety of textures (sand, water), objects (birds, seaweed, seashells), species (crabs, oysters, muscles) it is a great place to introduce children to new items!
The fact that children can safely touch some of these objects also makes the beach a great place to learn.
There are tons of other places that children can increase their vocabulary (ex. movies, library, convenience store, aquarium, etc). The most important part of all these trips are how you involve your child in the experience. Make sure to ask lots of questions throughout the trip and have your child assist you. The “wrap up” on the way home is just as important to solidify information learned!