Learn at Home Activities for Vocabulary

Some general tips:

  • Describe what your child is doing, talk about what you are doing, expand on your child’s expressive language.
  • Pair visuals with new vocabulary- pictures, videos, objects, actions. Identify and discuss attributes such as hard, soft, rough, smooth, providing actual examples for your child to feel.
  • Make book reading interactive-ask questions, make comments, point out examples of vocabulary in pictures. See the dialogic reading example in the Day 10 Comprehension post.
  • Read books targeting parts of speech and specific aspects of language. These ones are available on Epic!, which is free right now. Many of them are written by author Brian P. Cleary, and there are still others by him that I have not listed here. Don’t the titles make them sound like fun?!
    • How Much Can a Bare Bear Bear and A Bat Cannot Bat, A Stair Cannot Stare (homophones)
    • Thumbtacks, Earwax, Lipstick, Dipstick (compound words)
    • Quirky, Jerky, Extra Perky (adjectives)
    • Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely and Lazily, Crazily and Just a Bit Nasally (adverbs)
    • A Lime, a Mime, a Pool of Slime (nouns)
    • Slide and Slurp, Scratch and Burp (verbs)
    • I and You and Sometimes Who (pronouns)
    • I’m and Won’t They’re and Don’t (contractions)
    • Pitch and Throw, Grasp and Know, Stroll and Walk, Babble and Talk, The Many Kinds of Small, The Many Kinds of Hot, The Many Kinds of Clean, The Many Kinds of Cold (synonyms)
    • Stop and Go, Yes and No and Straight and Curvy, Meek and Nervy (antonyms)
    • Under, Over, By the Clover (prepositions)
    • It’s Raining Cats and Frogs, My Grandma Likes to Say, My Teacher Likes to Say and My Momma Likes to Say (idioms and expressions)
  • Encourage older children to listen to books read aloud.
  • Categorize new vocabulary, for example: how we move, things we eat, places we go, how you feel.
  • Provide repetition and multiple exposures with new vocabulary.

Word of the Day

Use the organizer provided on Day 5 of Build Your Home Learning Kit to create a Word of the Day book by printing multiple pages to keep in a duo-tang or folder. Here is a link to the document if you’d rather save it on your computer and fill it out digitally, which makes adding images rather than drawing them easier. 

Choose a word of the day: Anything goes, but it may be more motivating to start with words related to something your child is interested in. These image quizzes are fun and can help you find words your child is unfamiliar with. Keep it fun and make sure your child knows that it is okay if they don’t get all the answers correct; you are trying to find words they don’t know!

What it Means: Ask your child if they know what the word means. If they do, try to expand on their definition or make it clearer. If they don’t, give them the meaning in language they will understand. These online dictionaries have simple definitions: Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary | YourDictionary | Word Hippo

Synonyms: Ask your child if they can think of other words that mean the same. If not, help them look up synonyms. The dictionary links above provide synonyms as well.

Draw or find a picture: Have your child draw a picture of the word or use Google images to find an image to add.

Challenge your child to use their new vocabulary words throughout the day and week! Consider starting a chart to keep track of every time they use one of their new words. provide opportunities to use the words in different ways. For example, if you are working on writing, use a picture prompt that may elicit use of their vocabulary words. See our Day 13 Writing Post for more info on writing with your child.

Shoot for the SSTaRS!

The Hanen Centre has some great information about building your child’s vocabulary.  


Using visuals when teaching new vocabulary and concepts can be very effective. This is a Google app called Jamboard. It is very user friendly. To find it, use Google as your browser and click on the little square of dots in the right-hand corner.

My example of a Spring Jamboard shows how to use pictures to expand your child’s understanding of a concept like seasons, while also introducing new vocabulary associated with the concept. You can take turns adding pictures to your board, letting your child add familiar vocabulary while you introduce new vocabulary or vocabulary that they may not associate with that concept. The example uses short sentences, but single words may be more appropriate depending on your child’s language level. I love that you can search, add the picture and add the words or sentences all in one place. Single words can also be illustrated with a collection of pictures, for example: family, vehicle, exercise, dance, music, old, play, work.

Apps to Try:

Special Words
Special Words has added some new downloadable vocabulary sets for users who have purchased this app. They are available for download until April 30, 2020. Once you have downloaded the resources you can continue to use them after this date.

Night & Day Studios, Inc.
Peek- a- Boo Barn, Peek- a- Boo Wild, Peek- a- Boo Friends, Peek- a- Boo Fridge, Peek- a- Boo Forest and more!

PlayHome Software Ltd.
My PlayHome, My PlayHome Hospital, My PlayHome Stores and My PlayHome School provide lots of opportunites for conversation and using vocabulary in context.

Toca Boca
These are fabulous apps for interacting with your child. The actual app does not provide any language, so you and your child can describe and talk about what you are doing as you play together. These apps also provide great opportunities to practice turn taking.

Word Hippo
Synonyms, antonyms, definitions, rhymes, sentences and more! Available as an app and web based.