Give each child a book (pick any book in the house – non-fiction, fiction, reference).
Hand out a piece of paper and a pencil or pen to each kid.
Set the timer for fifteen minutes. Yell, “Go!”
During the fifteen minutes, write down words (straight down the page in a column) that start with one letter in length and go up to fifteen letters.
If they get to fifteen before the time is over, start again at a one letter word (put it next to the one letter word that is already there in a second column and then go on down the line again, two letter word, three letter word and so on down the page in the second column).
Don’t overthink this game. Just get words of the right length – all kinds of words: verbs, adjectives, adverbs, nouns, prepositions.
When the timer “dings,” stop looking and writing.
Identify the part of speech. What kind of word is each one? Name it. Jot down the abbreviation (n., art., adv., adj., v., and so on).
Create word pairs. Put them together to make funny rhymes, descriptions, short phrases. Try nonsense pairs and see what happens. Put them out of order grammatically and see how they sound and why that does or doesn’t work. See if a word can be both a noun and a verb. Play with the words in pairs.
On another day, use ten of the words (minimum) in a freewrite. Keep the paper in front of you and allow the words to help you create a story or a narrative that includes the words you found. Post your results on the Scratch Pad, if you like!
Quick P.S. Words longer than ten letters are tough to find. Let your child know that he or she can skip any length word and move onto the next length, coming back to it later when finding a word or simply leaving it blank. The goal is not a perfectly completed list, but engagement with language in a new way. 🙂