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  1. Word Matching Game
  2. Word Recognition Game
  3. Animal and Object Games
  4. Which Words Are the Same?
  5. Which Words Are Different?
  6. Word Memory Game
  7. Fast Words Game
  8. Which Words Rhyme?
  9. Word Matching Game

You can play these word games with your child using the products in your kit. For most of these games you may use any of the Your Baby Can Learn! word cards including Teaching CardsSliding Word CardsMilestone CardsShape Bias Language Cards, and Lift-the-Flap Language Cards. The erasable cards from the Sliding Word Cards work well in all of these games, so please use four or five of those in addition to the other word cards. If you don’t have a particular type of card, substitute words on paper or other materials.

As always, have fun and enjoy the experience of playing with your young child.

Word Matching Game

Print a word your child has seen from the DVDs (e.g., nose) on the blank erasable card that is included with the Sliding Word Cards. Place two word cards (e.g., nose and mouth) near the erasable card that also has the word nose written on it. Point to the erasable card and say, “This says nose,” while moving your finger under the word from left to right. Next, show your child the words nose and mouth. Then ask, “Which one of these words says nose?”

Do this with many different combinations of words. For babies who are just beginning the program, use familiar words that are distinct from each other. For example, you could use the words clap and hippopotamus since they do not look similar and they do not have similar meanings. Use words that are more similar to each other if your child is correct with more distinct words. For instance, you could print the word waving and show your baby the words wave and waving. Ask your child to point to (or look at) the word that says waving, then ask your child to point to the word wave.

Word Recognition Game

With this game, your child can demonstrate whether or not she recognizes words even if she can’t talk. Initially, use some of the words your baby is most familiar with from the Your Baby Can Learn! program. Place two words (e.g., clap and bellybutton) in front of your child. Say something like, “Which word says bellybutton?” If your child is able to point, then your child can answer by pointing. Young children who cannot point may answer the question by looking at the appropriate word or by doing a physical action. If your child is correct, then say, “Good. Now can you find the word clap?” If your child is incorrect or doesn’t respond, then say something like “This says bellybutton and this says clap.” Do this while pointing to the corresponding words. Use many word combinations to teach your child new words and to check your child’s progress. Start with words that are not similar in either shape or meaning, such as elephant and hi. For more experienced children, use words that are very similar, such as dog and dogs. For active children, you may place the words a distance away from them and encourage them to move to the correct words.

Animal and Object Games

Have your child match the word cards to objects or images of objects. There are two ways to play this game and both are great for active toddlers!

Match a Word to the Correct Object

Place two objects on the floor that match two words on the word cards. Next, ask your child to put one word card next to the appropriate object. Now, do this again using three objects and one word. Ask your child to put the word next to the correct object as shown in the image to the right.

Match an Animal or Object to the Correct Word

Place two word cards on the floor, then give your child an object that represents the meaning of one of those words. Ask your child to place the object next to the correct word. You may allow your child to draw his own pictures to represent objects or animals if you don’t have the proper objects available. Once your child understands the game with two words, use three words and one object as shown in the image. Ask your child to place the object next to the correct word.

Which Words Are the Same?

With most children, use very familiar words the first time you play this game. Place three cards showing the same word and one card showing a different word in front of your child. For example, you could use three different word cards that say clap and one card that says wave.

Ask your child, “Which words are the same?” Say, “Three of these words say clap. Can you find all three?”

Count aloud as your child finds the three words that say clap. For example, say, “One, two, three. You found all three words that say clap.” if your child is correct. If your child selects the word wave, then say something such as “Look, this word looks the same as this word. This says clap and this says clap! Which other word says clap?” At this point, there would be one more word card that says clap and one that says wave. Once your child gets these correct, place four new words in your child’s view. To add variety, you may use only three words, two of which are the same. To make the game more physical, place words all around the room so your child gets to explore to look for the cards that are the same. You may also add in more distractor words (words that don’t match).

To change the difficulty level, make the words very different from each other (for example, hippopotamus and no) or very similar to each other (for example, ear and ears).

Which Words are Different?

This game is similar to the previous game, except your child is searching for the word that is not the same as the others. Place three or four words in your child’s view and say, “Which word is not the same as the others? You are looking for the word that is different from the others. Touch the word that is different!”

To avoid patterns in the location of the target word, vary the way the words are presented in consecutive games. For example, you could place the words as shown here the first time you play this game.

Ask your child, “Which word is different? One of these words is not the same – can you find it?”

Assist your child if she needs help. Use the erasable cards and print words on them so your child can compare the hand-printed words with those on the other cards. Increase the difficulty level by making the words very similar, such as in the example shown here.

Older siblings can play along. You could ask them to use each word in a sentence or make up definitions for the words. It may be beneficial to use a dictionary to compare their answers with standard definitions.

Word Memory Game

For this game you will need pairs of words that have a word on one side and are blank on the other side. You could use the five erasable cards that come with the Sliding Word Cards. You may also use pieces of paper where one side is blank and the other side has a word. Start with three pairs of words (on a total of six cards) to teach your child how to play. Place the cards face down so the blank sides are visible, as displayed here.

The object of the game is to turn over a pair of matching word cards. Say the words as they are turned over or encourage your child to say the words. If the words do not match, turn them back over so the blank sides are visible (but remember where the words are located). If the words match, then the player who turned them over gets a point for a match. If a player gets a match, that player gets to go again. If the player does not get a match, then it is the next player’s turn. Each turn, a player gets to select one card and turn it over. After seeing (and saying) the first word, then the player tries to select the matching word. The game continues until the cards are all matched. Once your child understands the game, then increase the number of words you use to play. Start with mostly familiar words, and if your child is doing well with familiar words, try introducing a few novel words! To make the game more advanced, include more words or don’t put the words in even rows and columns.

Fast Words Game

This game is primarily for children who have already learned some written words, but it can also be used to teach words. This is an important game to help your child’s focus and speed.

Show your child how to play by having one person hold up word cards for the other person to read. One person should flip through about five cards as quickly as possible while the other person reads the words aloud. Once your child sees you in action, he will likely want to join in. Initially, only use words that are familiar to your child. You may want to start with three word cards.

Once your child understands the game, use more cards that may include some less familiar words. For added variety, you can go through the words forward and backward, so your child doesn’t memorize the order of the words. Try turning some words over and going as fast as you can move or flip the cards. The adult reader will likely have time to say the words no matter how quickly you flip through the cards, so go as quickly as you can.

Which Words Rhyme?

For this game, say the words aloud in addition to showing them to your child. Please use some of the blank erasable cards for this game. You could start with these words: clap, tap, nap, reach, cap.

Ask your child, “Which words rhyme?” then say the words on the card. If your child recognizes these words, ask her to say the words and help her when needed. I suggest you include at least one familiar word such as hand or cat, then add rhyming words on the blank erasable cards.