Whenever an opportunity arises, share the joy and fun of language with your child. Point out puns, ask and answer riddles, share a new joke. Read them and write them, too.
Games are a great way to do this. One my students loved is called Hink Pink. It can wile away the kilometres when you're on a on car trip, or make a great brain sparker in a lesson break. Pop one on a note into your child's lunchbox and drive them crazy for the rest of the afternoon.
One person thinks of two single syllable rhyming words, like fat cat. She works out a clue that should lead (eventually!) to the answer "fat cat". One clue could be "an obese mouse-catcher" or "a pet that eats too much" , depending on the age of the guesser. The guesser tries to work out what the two rhyming words are.
The game can be extended to Hinky Pinky (two syllable rhyming words), like happy chappy - "joyful fellow". Or Hinketty Pinketty (three syllable rhyming words, much harder), like mellower bellower - "less angry bull". Mix and match with Hinky Pinketty or Hinketty Pink!
Here are some Hink Pinks you can use to get you and your child started.
1. seafood platter
2. huge oinker
3. head cover that's been squashed by a truck
4. warmed up join between two ropes
5. rained on puppy
1. fish dish
2. big pig
3. flat hat
4. hot knot
5. wet pet
If your child has trouble working out how many syllables are in a word, play a game where you tap the syllables on her arm as you slowly say the word: “butt(tap)-er (tap)-fly(tap)”. Or march and dance the words, making strong body movements for each syllable. There is nothing more joyous than the sight and sound of thirty youngsters marching about, chanting the syllables in given words!
Once older kids are used to the game, it can provide a lead in to crossword puzzles, and then cryptic crossword puzzles. All of these activities are great for developing thinking skills, as well as giving the whole family a way of celebrating the joy of language.
Book Chook Challenge for my blog readers
(Hinky Pinky) : malevolent six-legged flour-dweller?
(Hink Pink) : oozy board?
Hinketty Pinky) : nightly record?