Verbal games that you can play at home or when you’re out and about to improve your child's listening and verbal interactions!
1. How many? Ask your child questions like the ones below:
- How many animals can you name that hatch from eggs as babies?
- How many animals can you name that have patterns on their bodies?
- How many animals can you name that eat leaves?
- How many insects can you name that have six legs?
- How many vehicles can you name with four wheels?
- How many things can you name that are cone shaped?
2. I’m thinking of...
A simplified version of 20 questions, and somewhat easier than I Spy when on the move in the car, you can start this game with a single object in mind and the phrase, “I am thinking of something ….,” and then name a feature or attribute of the object or thing. So it might begin, “I am thinking of something that is blue.” The other players are welcome to make a guess or ask for another clue and go back and forth between clues and guesses until they work out the correct answer.
3. Who Am I?
Pick an animal or a character and begin to describe them. The other player has to listen carefully and guess. Take it in turns. Encourage your child to be descriptive.
4. I Went to Market
The aim of this game is to remember as many of the items in the shopping basket as possible. The first player begins by saying, “I went to market and bought a ___,” adding an item they would buy. For example, “I went to market and bought a bag of potatoes.” The next player in line continues with, “I went to market and bought (insert the name of the first player’s item) and a ___ (adding a new item purchased).” For example, “I went to market and bought a bag of potatoes and a chocolate bar.”
Player three adds to the chain of shopping items, “I went to market and bought a bag of potatoes, a chocolate bar and a newspaper.” Players continue to take turns. Any player who makes a mistake is out of the game until only one winner is left.
5. What’s better or would you rather?
This fast paced game simply asks children about their preferences between two things –
“What’s better – banana or apple?”
“Would you rather eat a banana or a apple?”
“What’s better – banana or cheese?”
“What’s better – cheese or chocolate?”
“What’s better – chocolate or ice cream?”
Of course, you don’t have to choose food – it could be absolutely anything such as books, TV shows, superheroes, sports and so on. Debates about different choices that children make provide lots of insight into their individual personalities and preferences.
6. Odd One Out
Begin by naming three items – two that are connected in some way and one that is not (you can make this as easy or as hard as you wish, depending upon the age and interests of your children) and ask your children to choose the odd one out. For example with “train, bus, hair” it is easy to identify the odd one out. “Platypus, cobra, horse” is more challenging. “Chop, chicken, ship” focuses the game on identifying different sounds. “21, 63, 78” turns it into a maths challenge.
7. Rhyming tennis
Players agree on a rhyming family – say ‘at’ as in hat – and take turns, back and forth, each saying a new word that fits the family.
8. Sound tennis
Players agree on an initial sound or blend, say /p/ and then take turns back and forth, each saying a new word that begins with that sound, until the round comes to a finish when one player cannot think of a new word beginning with the nominated sound. We allow the other player, the ‘winner,’ to choose the new sound for the next round.
9. Alphabet chain
Choose a category and take turns naming an item that fits the category following the sequence of letters of the alphabet. So the first person chooses a word starting with a, the second person a word beginning with b, the third person with c, etc. The category can be anything at all – animals, countries, names, superpowers etc.