Words Are Here, There, and Everywhere
When children learn new words, it inspires their natural curiosity to explore and discover more about the world around them. Boosting a child's vocabulary can be as easy as engaging him or her in fun, simple activities and conversations during everyday moments. The more children are encouraged to learn new words—especially in areas such as science, the arts, and math—the stronger their foundation will be for school readiness and future success.
Explore the Tools in the Kit:Read quick facts, download resource guides, and more!
#1 Traveling Words
When you are traveling via car, train, or bus, try narrating the directions. For example, "At this traffic light we will turn around the corner. Then, we will enter the parking lot." Encourage your child to chime in with directions he notices, too.
#2 Weather Words
Changes in weather bring opportunities to build your child's vocabulary. On a rainy day, play a game where you collect three things she can wear or use to keep dry, such as galoshes, raincoat, and an umbrella.
#3 Everyday Words
Everyday settings are great places to learn new words. In the bathroom, talk about turning on the faucet to fill the tub. Describe the water your child is playing with and help him notice the difference between pouring a thick and thin stream of water from a cup.
#4 Words During Shopping
You can find words everywhere! The next time you are at the store, describe an item you are shopping for (a orange, crunchy vegetable) and encourage your child to guess what it is (carrot). Switch and take turns.
#5 Words in New Places
New places can help introduce exciting new words! For instance, the next time you visit a zoo or an aquarium, describe the colors, textures, and/or shapes of the animals you see—a shimmery, smooth, round fish. How many can your child describe?
#6 Words Can Lead to Other Words
One word can lead to others. On a snowy day, you might talk about the snowflakes—what color are they? Are they falling quickly or slowly? How are they different from raindrops? Continue the conversation and see what words you stumble upon!
#7 Cooking Words
The next time you are in the kitchen preparing a meal, involve your child in following a recipe together. What utensils, or tools, are needed? For example, a can opener, spatula, rolling pin, or measuring spoons. Can your child guess the function, or job, of each tool?
#8 Put Words into Action
Pick a new word and use it in context, and encourage your child to use it, too. For example, at playtime, you might use the word construct, or to build, as you pretend to construct a skyscraper out of blocks together.
#9 Words in the Garden
Build on your child's natural curiosity about different places to help him learn new words. In the garden, you might explore how soil is different from the sand in the sandbox. Or you might count how many seeds you are planting.
#10 Words on the Go
Opportunities for building vocabulary are all over the place! Wherever you find yourself—for instance, the kitchen, park, or playground—simply talk about what you are seeing and doing.
#11 Silly Stories
Making up silly stories is a great way to introduce new words. Try choosing three everyday objects around you and build a story around them. For example, book, window, and zebra: James was reading his favorite book when he gazed out the window and noticed a zebra galloping by!
#12 Words and Their Meanings
Give new words context and reinforce their meanings. For example, as you help your child get dressed, describe what's happening. Are you unbuttoning the pajamas, pulling down the shirt, zipping and snapping up the pants, buckling the belt?
#13 Ask QuestionsAsk questions that lead to back-and-forth conversations, such as, "What is your favorite thing to do on the playground?" or "What games do you play outside?"
#14 Adventure Words
Make learning new words an adventure! Choose a descriptive word and organize a scavenger hunt around the house to point out objects that have the trait. For example, squishy could describe a mattress, pillow, pudding, and more!
#15 Word of the Week
Choose a "word of the week" and use it repeatedly in different contexts. For example, encourage your child to point out all the times that week she sees a liquid—coming from a faucet, pouring from a cup, or even falling from the sky. Repetition is key to learning new vocabulary, so it's important not only to learn new words, but also to practice using old ones.
#16 Color Words
Explore all kinds of color words: Look through a box of crayons and challenge your child to learn new color names—like fuchsia, periwinkle, beige, or turquoise. Are the colors pale and pastel or bright and vivid? Then look around the room and see if you can find objects that match those colors.
#17 Movement Words
Being active can lead to exploring movement words. It can also help your child release some energy! When it's time to get up and shake the sillies out, invite your child to move the way a different animal might. Help him find a word to describe the movement—like slither, pounce, or crouch.
#18 Music Words
Make music! Percussion instruments are easy to create from objects found at home. Closed containers of uncooked pasta make great maracas, for example; an empty oatmeal box and a spoon make a drum; and two blocks can make a perfect pair of rhythm sticks. Then make some music with a catchy beat.
Invite your child to gather some collections of similar objects, perhaps spoons, books, or sneakers, for example. Encourage her to sort the collection by color, or size, or just in groups—like in pairs (2s) or trios (3s). Does her collection have just a few objects, or does it have numerous objects?
#20 Word Challenge
Pick an object at home, and challenge your child to come up with as many words as she can to describe it. For example, a cucumber can be long, green, and bumpy; a rug may be shaggy or scratchy, mauve or beige, or shaped like a rectangle or an oval.
New Reading Adventures!
The Words Are Here, There, and Everywhere Reading Adventures are five interactive digital stories (in English and Spanish) packed with more than 30 new vocabulary words. Three different reading levels allow you to pick what's best for your little one. It's a big, wide world of words!
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About This Project
Sesame Workshop, in partnership with PNC Grow Up Great, developed Words Are Here, There, and Everywhere: a bilingual multimedia initiative that provides a variety of resources to develop young children's vocabulary, building on their natural curiosity around science, the arts, and math.