It is best to enrich vocabulary when the child is in the sensitive period to language. Offer these games when your child is 2.5 years old and he will absorb this knowledge effortlessly.
Game 1 – Matching
Cards with pairs of images, such as a set of animal cards, bird cards etc.
Images should be close to real life and not cartoons.
These sets of cards can include a variety of subjects including pairs of colours and pairs of shapes.
“Same” and “Different” concept
Say, “I’m going to show you a game… ready?”.
The child sits next to you and waits with hands in his lap.
Have a set of matching cards.
Place them all on the floor facing up.
Take one card and separate it from the rest.
Point to it.
Then look for a card that matches it and place it next to the separated card.
Then take another card and place it under the first and show the child you are looking for one that is the “same”.
If he joins in and makes the right choice show him how to place it neatly next to the matching card.
Say the word “same”.
If he joins in and it is not the right choice ask, “Is it “different? Let’s have a look for one that is the same.”
Reinforce the words – “Same” and “Different”.
Continue matching with the other sets of cards.
Game 2 – Vocabulary Game
- Place a number of objects in a basket.
- Your child sits facing you.
- Take one object at a time and name each one clearly.
- Place them in a row.
- Replace the items back in the basket and put the basket behind you.
- Take one item but do not show it to the child.
- Say: “I have something in my hand I put flowers in when I bring them from the garden. Can you guess what it is?”.
- If she remembers and says “vase” then you reach out and give her the object.
- If she doesn’t remember just smile and give the object to her, naming it at the same time.
- Go on to the next object.
A bell – “I have something in my hand that makes a ringing sound when I shake it.”
A key – “I have something to unlock a door.”
Necklace – “I have some jewelry here that you wear around the neck.”
Leaf – “I have something that grows on plants and trees.”
Buckle – “I have something that you use to tighten and loosen a belt.
Kitchen utensils – Actual utensils in a box
Take all utensils out one by one and name them clearly.
Place them in a row.
Return them to the box.
Reach for one utensil and say, “I have a utensil that you use to strain rice. Can you guess what it is?”
“I have a utensil for whipping cream.”
“I have a utensil for lifting an egg out of the pan.”
A box with a variety of tools.
Take them one by one from the box and name each clearly.
Replace tools into box.
“I have something in my hand that you use for banging nails into wood. Can you guess what it is?”
Game 3 – Animal Cards Guessing Game
In this game the child sits opposite you.
Cards with a variety of animal pictures.
Show the cards one by one to the child and name the animal on each card.
When finished, gather the cards together.
Then take one card and look at it and say, “I have a card with an animal that has four legs and horns on its head. Can you give me the name of this animal?”.
When he guesses the name give him the picture to hold.
If he doesn’t guess correctly, give him the card and name the animal.
Montessori recommended giving children scientific names and correct terms. She saw no need to avoid any long or difficult words. Improving vocabulary gives children confidence to speak and express themselves. When we don’t make these words clear to the child, he is left with a vague idea of what word to use.