Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun with Words - My Aunt Likes

The Book Chook is a sucker for word games. Here's a game I love that you can play with children, to develop their language and thinking skills. This game helps them look for connections, classify, listen and think about the meanings and appearances of words.

My Aunt Likes

Children must determine the rule, and give an example to prove they've worked out the rule. They do this by discovering connections between the three examples you give them. For instance, I tell you my Aunt likes fire engines, but not police cars, blood but not tar, and chillies but not peas. We know she likes fire engines, blood and chillies. What factor do those three have in common? They are all red. So a child who worked out the connection would offer an example of his own to show his understanding, perhaps “My Aunt likes ketchup but not mustard.”


Here’s one I shared with a group of ten-year-olds. I told the group that my Aunt likes chairs, but she doesn’t like birds. She likes cats, but not snakes. She likes coffee tables but not books. Merri thought she knew and offered an example: “My Aunt likes cauliflowers but not broccoli.” (Merri thought my Aunt only liked words that start with letter ‘c’.) I disappointed Merri by telling her that my Aunt doesn’t like cauliflower or broccoli. Eventually Tom offered that "My Aunt likes lions but not parrots." He got it! He explained to the group that my Aunt only liked things with four legs.

Sometimes, the rule is about the actual words, their spelling perhaps or something else about them. And sometimes, the rule is about the "thing" or concept the word represents. Tree" is a one syllable word starting with "t", and ending with "ee", but it is also something that grows in forests and could be classified as "green" or "natural" or even "shady". This makes the game interesting.

Your Turn

1. My Aunt likes cabbages but not kings. She likes elephants but not giraffes. She likes Portugal but not Spain.
2. My Aunt likes trees but not chairs. She likes dandelions but not butter. She likes your teacher but not your desk.
3. My Aunt likes bats but not balls. She likes dads but not fathers. She likes scabs but not harbours.
4. My Aunt likes glue but not milk. She likes honey but not apples. She likes gum but not water.
5. My Aunt likes butter but not margarine. She likes mummies but not monsters. She likes platters but not plates.

Even quite young children can play this if you make the examples much easier than the ones I chose. You could try three things that were big, or green, or have wheels.

Have fun. Email me if you’re stuck and it drives you crazy! Feel free to give an example of any or all in  comments, if you think you've worked it out, but please don't state the rule.

Photo credit: Flickr


  1. Wonderful game and such fun with learning. I am absolutely trying this one at home. Thanks for sharing!

  2. @ReshGreat, Resh! I hope your daughter enjoys it!


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