Word Play for Kids = Fun and Exercise for Brains

Celebrate Dr. Seuss with Word Play Fun

For a play-of-the-day, how about some word play for kids, a la Dr. Seuss? Books written by Dr. Seuss have been loved for decades. They are full of fun and play, especially word play. What a great way to celebrate Dr. Seuss.

green-eggs-and-ham-coverDr. Seuss stories have wonderful rhymes. Sam-I-am’s determination not to eat green eggs and ham in a box or with a fox, in the rain or on a train, or any of the places here, there, or anywhere creates sounds that are almost musical. Even if kids have not yet made all the brain connections to understand rhymes, the word play in Dr. Seuss tickles their ears.

At home, you and your child can have your own fun. Put on each sock and go for a walk around the block with a rock in your pock-et. . When your child says something, see if you can answer with words that rhyme. “There’s a tree, my eyes can see. It’s waving at me.” As kids get dressed, you can choose a color and add some words that sound the same. Green-bean, bed-red, blue-shoe. Orange and purple unfortunately are on their own. They have no rhyming friends.

word play dr. seussSome children will be able to think of a word that rhymes about the age of four. If your child can do so, you can suggest a word and let your child think of a match: bee, tree, knee and ___. Make up several words in a row and throw in a very different one to be silly, like bat, cat, mat, rat, sat… alligator. This can give rise to giggles.

Dr. Seuss books used words in imaginative ways. His elephant-bird and Christmas roast beast are ordinary words in unusual combinations. The trunk of a vehicle could be a car-back-pack. The hood is a sort of engine-lid.

Made up words, like Lorax, sneetches, and Grinch, are another way to play with words. Kids are great at coming up with their own words for things. This really will cause giggles as kids think it’s all wonderfully silly.

lego playSilly, certainly, but very much more. Kids need to hear words in massive amounts to develop the understanding that words are bits of sounds that we put together. These bits of sound are like the very smallest Lego bricks that join together to make useful chunks. Changing one little itty bit in a string can make a whole new word.

This is called phonological awareness and is a challenge for brains to figure out. Having lots of language stimulation trains the ear to hear very small differences in sound. It also trains the brain as it makes vast connections for words and sounds.

Word play for kids is more than fun, it’s great exercise for brains. Say, can word play be part of your day?


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