You can foster important language connections by playing a funny guessing game with your child! During the preschool years, children use their background knowledge and observations to make connections between different attributes, events and actions. Research suggests this oral language milestone is important for successful reading comprehension as children grow.
- old magazine, catalog, or newspaper flyer
- two sheets of construction paper
- child safety scissors
- glue stick
Step 1: Invite your child to look through old magazines with you and find four or five pictures of animals. Assist her with cutting the pictures out of the magazine and gluing them to construction paper to make picture cards. You could also create some animal pictures by using your computer and printer.
Step 2: Place the picture cards face-down in the basket.
Step 1: Invite your child to play an animal guessing game with you. You might say:
Let’s play a game with the animal pictures we found! We’re going to take turns choosing a picture and telling clues about the animal without saying its name. Then, the other person will try and guess the name of the animal!
Step 2: Have your child choose a picture card from the basket without showing you the animal. Encourage her to share some clues about the animal. Suggest to her that she could talk about what the animal looks like, what it can do, what it eats, or where it might sleep. For example, if she chooses a picture of a horse, she might say:
My animal is big and has a swishy tail. I like to ride him every day. Sometimes he eats grass. What is my animal?
Step 3: Take turns describing the pictures and guessing each other’s animal. Add some extra fun by making silly animal sounds!
You can make this activity easier by making picture cards of common animals you know your child is familiar with. For example, if she has a favorite book about animals or you have pets in your home, make picture cards of those familiar animals. Prompt her to talk about the familiar animal by asking her questions. For example, you might ask:
What color is your animal? Where does your animal live? Is your animal big? Is it small? What sound does your animal make?
To add some challenge to this activity, encourage your child to make up a story about her picture without using the name of the animal. Encourage her to provide clues about her animal picture in her story. You might prompt her to tell a story by saying:
One upon a time… or Today, we’re going to the zoo…