Play With A Purpose

kids-gamesThe quizzes on this website work because a quiz is a kind of game: a challenge that takes learning onto the level of fun. I thought it might be fun to revisit some of the learning games I so enjoyed as a child as did my own children and now my grandchildren too!

Not only do they provide practice and familiarity with some of the essentials of grammar, they also bring the family together – unplugging their ears and lifting their heads from their phones or tablets for some interactive fun.

You probably played all these games as a child but here they are again to remind you!

THE MINISTER’S CAT: This was a Victorian parlour game and survives to this day! There are a couple of versions, both of which give practice in adjectives (words that give more information about a noun).

Version One: You go round the circle and each person uses an adjective beginning with the same letter: The Minister’s cat is an ANGRY cat. The Minister’s cat is an AGILE cat. etc. Then you use B and so on till you have been through the alphabet.

Version Two: Exactly the same except that person one uses A – The Minister’s cat is an AUSTRALIAN cat. The second person uses B – The Minister’s cat is a BRAVE cat.

Version Three: Just adds some more vocabulary – The Minister’s cat is an ANGRY cat, His name is ALGERNON, he lives in ALGERIA and he loves to eat AVOCADOS. So on through the alphabet, turn by turn. When I was teaching it was a favourite on bus rides.

I LOVE MY LOVE: is just another variation on this and can be played in all three ways – I love my love with an A because he is ADORABLE, his name is etc. etc.

ACT IN THE MANNER OF THE ADVERB: I think I was about six when we first played this and we loved it because it can be a very wild and crazy game. The adverb adds information to the verb and this game certainly teaches you that! One player secretly chooses an adverb – like MESSILY – and the other players tell him to do various actions ‘in the manner of the adverb’ such as – ‘brush your teeth in the manner of the adverb’ or ‘march in the manner of the adverb’. This gives the first player the opportunity to show off his dramatic skills until someone guesses the adverb.

Whenever I coach a child in literacy or English skills, I check their understanding of the basic parts of speech. I have to say that, no matter what sort of school they attend, there is a great deal of haziness about what words like ‘adjective’ and ‘ adverb’ mean! Here is one way of playing your way to some essential understanding.

Now you’ve learned the value of games and quizzes in education, perhaps you have more questions. If so, the EQ Knowledge Bank is the place for you! It has many articles which aim to provide parents with answers to education questions, from the purpose of Ofsted to the best methods of revision. We also have useful tips for parenting where you’ll find ideas for school holidays and advice on dealing with bullies. It’s a mine of useful information!

cat-gameGuest Blog by Cathy Bird

Since retiring from full-time teaching Art and English and her post as Assistant Head and Sixth Form Tutor, Cathy Bird has concentrated on her painting and now runs art courses and sessions at her own studios in Kent. She also tutors students at all levels in Literacy, Comprehension and Essay-writing.

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