Teaching little ones how to read and spell can be a challenging task. But a good vocabulary and sound understanding of grammatical concepts are something that every parent strives to teach their child. And the best way to lead children down this learning path is through play. In fact, MCU Research shows that sensory play can significantly help with language development, social skills, and overall cognitive growth. Wondering which learning toys for children would be the best tool for you to introduce them to vocabulary-building games? Read on, we got you covered!
Finding tools to convert playtime into learning is a challenge most parents struggle with. It sure is hard to keep learning fun and appealing when you are already juggling so much. It is at these times that games come to our rescue. Games that we played in our childhood and those that our parents did, before us. The kind of vocabulary-building games for kids that have been played for generations—sitting at the dining table, out on the porch, or on a long drive.
Parents today have the added advantage of modern-day games designed specifically for this advanced generation. Games that give parents a breather and allow them to finish other chores without feeling guilty because they know their kid is learning all the while. Educational toys for kids like the ones that we create at PlayShifu!
Let us share with you our top pick of vocabulary-building games–offline and online–that harness the natural learning process of a child by enabling them to imbibe knowledge while they play.
Offline Grammar Games for Kids
Research shows that speech directed toward children helps them build better vocabulary and grammar comprehension and encourages them to speak. It’s a method that these time-tested games have been using to make learning fun and constant for our little ones at home. Let’s look at a few vocabulary-building games for kids we can play at any time–during lunchtime or out in the park, with a big bunch of friends, or through long travels on an inter-state drive. We are sure there are a few family favorites on this list!
One of the simplest vocabulary-building games, this one has been tried and tested by generations of families and friends over the dinner table, car rides, parties, and picnics. A game played by turn, each player spots an object in the surrounding area, prompts everyone with an ‘I spy with my eye…’, and leads the others to the object by providing clues. This game helps to strengthen social skills in a child. The descriptive words and the leading questions also help build vocabulary and grammar skills. And you can always upgrade it by adding new grammar rules like only proper nouns, only adverbial clues, etc.
Another crowd favorite, mad libs is one of the ultimate vocabulary-building games for kids. Calling on their imagination, this word game works with a story template and needs them to fill in a word for each prompt. The results are always silly and funny stories created on the spot that conclude in much hilarity plus lots of learning. A delightful aspect of Mad Libs is that one can create their own, choose from a wide range of Mad Libs books, or take printables from online resources.
Flashcards are already quite popular as learning toys for kids that aim to teach new words, images, and concepts–with a twist! We suggest you use your flashcards differently for maximum grammar-learning impact. Don’t flash them! That’s right, don’t flash the card for a quick second and move on to the next. Instead, spend time with each card, use new words to describe what’s on the card, find a deck of things that interest your child, and then use that interest to add to their vocabulary bank in many new ways.
Read. Read. Read. Reading is by far the best way to introduce your child to the world of vocabulary and grammar. Research suggests that the earlier you read to your child, the better they get at language comprehension and vocabulary building. Books are your child’s best friends in the world of grammar games for kids and will substantially add to their word bank. And pretty soon, you can add games to your reading time. Guessing games, fill in the blanks, quiz prompts, comprehension trivia, rereading the same book and asking them to create their version, etc., will help them learn the words contextually. This increases their chances of better retaining theme words, their usage, and placement. Here, let us help you get started on your reading journey with our free e-books! A definite favorite with kids!
Another all-time favorite game for kids. We all have memories of playing this guessing game on scraps of paper at our dining tables, during picnics, and hidden under the desk in school. Place blanks for the number of letters in the word you choose. They then have to guess the letters and the correct word before the mistaken letters end up in a stick figure hangman. The thrill of getting the letters right and putting together a word based on the letters is wonderfully engaging for kids. The challenge of finding words to win the game encourages them to discover and learn new words. The game creates a perfect opportunity to introduce children to words and meanings, making it a perfect vocabulary-building game for kids.
Online grammar games for kids
Screen time is a reality for today’s parents. And we believe it is necessary to empower our kids and better prepare them for the times they are growing up in. This also necessitates that we invent, research, and invest in educational toys for kids and online resources that serve as the best tools to hone their learning capabilities. The aim is to guide them into the world of knowledge and contribute to their education while still making it entertaining.
Here’s our choice of top vocabulary-building games online and learning toys for kids one can use to enrich their English language skills.
LearnEnglish Kids is the online brainchild of the famed British Council. It’s available as a webpage and an app. Depending on your screen choice, internet availability, and convenience, you can visit the webpage or the app to explore the many options. Explore their free vocabulary-building games online, listen to songs and stories and engage in activities to build a better vocabulary, clear diction, learn to spell, and much more. They’ve built an interface that is colorful and attractive for your children. As for parents, there are resources available to guide you better on how to proceed and support your child’s learning.
Starfall is a free public service to teach children to read. It teaches reading through research-based multisensory interactive games. It allows children to see, hear and touch while they learn and is particularly effective in encouraging children with special needs and learning disabilities to learn language arts. It focuses on exploration, play, and positive reinforcement to motivate children into learning. Although free, an economical membership plan is also in place that lets you delve deeper into the curriculum. The illustrations and the interface are attention-grabbing and highly engaging.
Another website and app option for kids is provided by The Public Broadcasting Service through PBS Kids. Extremely colorful, fun, and in sync with their existing shows, PBS Kids uses videos and games to interact with your child and educate them about multiple subjects. There are dedicated vocabulary-building games on the webpage and apps for grammar lessons. You can choose games to practice multiple skills like the alphabet, syllables, spellings, and parts of speech. PBS Kids’ approach is to use curriculum-based entertainment that supports learning for your child. Their online games use stories and interaction to capture the attention of the children while focusing on building their word bank and honing their grammar skills.
This is one of the best educational toys for kids out there, even if we say so ourselves! A holistic word building and English grammar kit for Gen Alpha, Plugo Letters is designed specifically to focus on the vocabulary and grammatical skills of children, keeping in mind the following:
Plugo Letters encourages tactile play so they aren’t touching the screen. Kids play using the tiles on a gamepad, without touching the screen. It also engages children with delightful stories and characters. With 9 Games and 300+ Levels, Plugo Letters keeps your child amply entertained while their mind is busy building vocabulary.
Language development, comprehension, storytelling! Plugo Letters doesn’t focus on just grammatical skills, but is designed to build multiple STEM skills in young children.
Made by parents, Plugo Letters is used across 35 countries by over 1 million kids, educators, and parents! An age-adaptive word-building and grammar kit, it uses digital gameplay and hands-on vocabulary-building games that grow with the learning requirements of your kids from Pre-K to Grade 4. It combines the benefits of tactile play and intricate storytelling into a powerful format that teaches kids vocabulary, spelling, and grammar contextually so that they learn while enjoying the power of play.
Sounds all kinds of amazing, right? Well, here’s homeschooler mom, Robin sharing her excitement about Plugo Letters!
Note of Caution
When using screen time and online resources like free grammar games for kids, it is imperative to monitor the content constantly. Doing so is necessary not just to focus on the best possible learning opportunity but also from a safety perspective. With popping ads and clickbait aplenty, parents must keep a constant eye on what’s running on the screen.
Here the benefits of educational toys designed for children’s screen time and online learning outweigh them since you can use them stress-free after initial checks and research. So, if you wish to use screen time effectively for learning without constantly worrying about the content, then investing in toys, apps, and resources designed for this specific purpose is the way to go.
At PlayShifu, we are dedicated to cracking the code–or rather writing it!–to make learning fun for kids while keeping them extremely safe. We realize that safety is essential to build the focus required for optimum learning opportunities for children. All our game sets, including Plugo Letters, have been developed to create a digitally safe space where kids can build their language skills via vocabulary-building games.
Holding on to a child’s attention is not child’s play! A child’s attention span is shorter, and their need for constant engagement is high. So the challenge is to find new methods of teaching that are fun for them and do the job of teaching them while they play. Keeping all this in mind, it is vital to use as many resources and tools as possible to empower kids to better learn and understand the rules of the language. We hope this list of resources helps! Which of these caught your attention and will take a permanent spot in your teaching methods? We’d love to hear from you! Do leave us a comment with your picks!