Find Tuition/Enrichment Centres

Fun Vocabulary Practice

Vocabulary practice can be a pain. It can be an enthusiasm-killer. Especially to a child so young who understands-not, why he has to do so.

Children in lower primary mostly find that if the way they speak and write is easily understood, it is good enough.  Children of this age have vague comprehension of the importance of varying their choice words (in the way they speak and write) once in awhile.

They may not necessarily relate regurgitating those bombastic words forced upon their memory banks to better grading of their written work. In fact, some children may not even be that interested in the scoring rubrics.

Vocabulary practice to them is not exactly as interesting like reading books. Vocabulary practice to my kiddies can mean sheer boredom. Seriously! You can literally tell from the looks on their faces like they’re telling you… “Here we go again.” *roll eyes*

Reading brings meaning to them even if they are unsure of what some words may really mean. They can somehow just go on guessing the meanings of some of the difficult words based on the genre of the story books they read when I go, “It is more interesting and meaningful when you actually know what the words really mean.” The worst that can happen is that they will reply with a curt, “So, how about a quick one here mom… errr… what does ‘impatient gesture’ mean?” Frustrating. I know.. I am forever going to be treated like a walking dictionary if this keeps on. I wonder sometimes why I actually got them dictionaries.

To children… a word is just a word. The variation of words thrown at them for variety’s sake are a waste of their precious free time, because in actual fact, the words they are forced to learn mean the same with the regular ones they have been using all this time aniwaes. So why bother, right?

Here are some stuff I concocted to work the kids around those vocabulary practices.

Show, not tell.
Whoa yes, we have heard this once too often. But nope, I’m not going into that kind of showing in writing. I’m referring to showing what those words really mean. Here’s one way.

Playing charades.

Yes. Charades are fantastic organized games encourages children to concentrate on facial expressions and gestures and at times even hinting winks, to get the right answers. There is also the element of familiarity based on what they have seen, read or heard to get their answers spot on.

Say you need em’ brats to use other words other than “said”…

You can print out some words (that you wanted them to learn) on colourful paper, or just write them down on whatever scrap paper you can find for impromptu study breaks.

Here’s a sample I am using to share this game.


My first attempt to get them guessing these words will be to show gestures.. to act out.. For example, in the case of the word “accused”.. I might raise my arm and gesture it pointing to someone beside me with my eyes glaring and my eyebrows in a frown.

If the children cannot get it at the first attempt, I would use a sentence or two as hints. Using the word “accused” once again, I might say something like this, “I did not do that! Gosh, how could you?” while simultaneously still repeating the same actions I did at the first attempt.

For the word, “begged”.. well, this is super easy. Just go on bended knees and place both hands into a tight fist in the centre of your body and rock it forwards and back in a pleading puppy-eyed expression or easier still go to one of your kids and go for the killer action of all actions. Hug Buddha’s leg action!

If still blur then just wail, “Pweeeeze!” 

For the word “confided”, you can pretend you were listening to someone whispering into your ear, nodding softly then put your arm around a an invisible shoulder assuringly and pat it or give a comforting rub with your palm without saying anything.

Hints can be a liner like this. “I didn’t realize it was going to turn out badly.”

Words you dish out can be from resource guides, from a class spelling list, from challenging words picked out in story books they are currently reading or from school passages, etc. You decide if you want to make the words known first especially for younger children – like write up the list of words on the wall prior to starting the game. For older ones they may not need a list. They can just shout out words they think you are describing.

Switch it!

You can take excerpts from paragraphs in good story books and even good articles from the newspapers to do this activity. The idea is to replace words or phrases with the new words you want them to learn. You can even provide the answers in word strips for them to place over the bolded words/phrases in the passage or paragraph that you chose to work on.


As the child reads the paragraph and comes upon a bolded word/phrase, tell them to shout switch it! Then, you go… “Switch that to……” until they found the appropriate words to replace the ones in bold and shout yeaiy! Well, I am a tad animated in character. You can omit the “yeaiy” cheer if you are the serious type. Read : boring. 


I have many more under my sleeves to perk them up from a slouchy draggy afternoon of assessment-drillings where even I get super unmotivated and shhhh… sleepy. When I get begin to get those tear-yawning moments, it is a sure sign to get everyone to snap out of revision pronto.

One sure fire way to learn new vocabulary is to play Picture It. It is exactly like how you play pictionary but you decide the words you wanna play. Here are some DD1 drew…

Picture it!


Can you guess which word (out of the 9 words from the charades) best describes each stick-man? 

Aniwaes, chin-up ya? If your child is already guai (good & well behaved) enough to even sit through revision time with you without complaining, (despite already attending supplementary and tuition programmes) it just reflects that they are still keen learners and we must recognize that effort. I always award my kiddies “A” for effort, not so much results. After diligent efforts have been put in and sheer consistency of revision (in school and at home), any stellar results they achieve are all bonuses to me.  

I understand that parents are worried about children not producing the results that commensurates with the amount of work and drillings they put in. I do too, well, even if I don’t really show it… (all the time)… It is just that every child learns differently. Unfortunately some teachers may not have the flexibility or the skill to allow for other learning styles to be incorporated into their teaching, hence only placing auditory learners at an advantage. 

Many may not know that a child has more than one learning style that helps them sail through school. Teachers and/or parents may not know or may not have the time to execute other learning methods in the ways they work with children. Through my years of growing up, in school or at work.. I have recognized that I am pretty much a kinesthetic learner. I reorganize notes and my thoughts with doodling the same information the way I can remember. With these learning experiences, I try to replicate and also create fun doses of learning activities for my children when the motivator-scale remains at a stand-still for too long. 

Knowing full well how long the education journey is, it is imperative in my opinion to encourage a love for continuous learning in my children for as long as I can hold out, instead of anticipating a buzz-kill. I prefer my children to enjoy the process… but that’s just me.

A child who enjoys the learning process CAN produce quality work. In fact, I am loving the results I see thus far.  


Battle gear

LOL Chief! ….. and you thought I was kidding about the juggling, aye? A 3-wheeler is actually smoother to manouever especially those 3 point turns in the train and malls. Thankfully, you caught me with a more glam handbag… although it was… ermmmm… yah… huge. :p

They are not termed battle gear/pack for nothin’..

Just like in army days, you carry everything for the march when actually most times you don’t need the stuff in it. :p


You’re very welcome of course, though i know for sure your DS won’t need it either. His vocabulary is powderful wor.. but yes i agree to better ways though.. because often we find when children are struggling to grasp concepts or skills it can be somewhat exasperating. We need to remind ourselves that if one way does not work, there will be other ways only if we look at things from a different perspective and in this instance, from a young child’s perspective.

Honestly, nothing fascinating looking after a hyper four team you know! It’s more what shall i say – EXHAUSTING! As for food, we eat to live. I work with what I have just that I have to prepare for a family that is fussy about taste, because they don’t like bland food. I have to keep reinventing and also look for ideas which is aplenty even in this forum itself! ๐Ÿ™‚

I only share when I have time and when I can afford those pockets of time which aren’t many these days, if you know what I mean. :p Aniwaes, about that getting thinner thing… nahh, he was just exaggerating. When we bumped into each other, I had a baby carrier in front of me (with the baby) strapped in and all my other three were blocking the actual view. So….. :p

Nothin’ to be jealous about. Honest.

Where got cheat?

Wei bro, it’s not that i cheat leh.. sometimes, i just don’t hafta all 4 at a go mah.. so when have two on two time, must train a bit la. It’s a good skill to learn you know. Not all kids are willing to aniwaes even if they have the opportunities to. So in a way, i am blessed.

As for planning of the sexes, i have no way of planning that! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

She's a good educator of

She’s a good educator of children, I’ll give her that. Mabbe she’s supergirl in disguise :p

Lol. ย I for one can vouch

Lol.  I, for one, can vouch for buds.  I’ve seen buds single-handedly managing her 2 boys in a 3-wheeled double-decker pram while carrying a huge bag of accessories, and taking the MRT.  I don’t know how she does it… but she did.  No… she didn’t cheat ๐Ÿ™‚

Budsie,Ds read your


Ds read your comments on him and was visibly encouraged. Thanks. :p

Regrettably, the practical person in me started to advise him to tone down his imagination and write conservatively so as not to go out-of-pt for sch exams. For anything else, it’s as he pleases.

Personally I find it more interesting to read his “more creative” pieces (even if they’re disjointed) than those works whereby he simply dumps memorized phrases into the essays just to score pts. Alas, when one’s in the system, …


Sun, You envy buds for


You envy buds for managing 4? She cheat one lah. She trained her 2 dds to take care of her 2 ds so she can go shopping. See, even the sexes also planned so well (since we know gals usually play the role of caregiver better ban boys). *siam*

Been wanting to ask you this, are you related to Sun Yanzi (since she’s a new mum, mabbe lurking here).  If you are, can I be your friend? Muahaha!

thank U

Thank you buds for a useful post. A little late for DS. But it will still help me to guide DS in better ways than what i am doing now.

It just fascinates me that besides looking after 4 kids ( and two toddlers) , dishing out mouthwatering food, you manage to share so selflessly.

Makes me tinsy winsy jealous. It doesnt help to know that you keep getting thinnner ๐Ÿ˜€

Writing from the heart...

Bro FQW, you’re welcome but don’t think your mini-me needs it cos he already writes awesome pieces. His creativity is in his imagination and his dare-to-be-different style that stands out from the typical telling pieces children his age may normally be writing. I hope he will continue to write because he enjoys the writing process and not because of some scoring rubrics that seem to stifle our children’s writing these days. His writing is precisely how I remembered writing mine during school days – writing that is not learnt/studied. Writing based on/from all that reading (for leisure) exposure, from personal experiences and from the heart. This makes writing more personal and not something memorized from somewhere.

Slimmer? You may need to get your pair of glasses checked. Tehehehee.  But still, thank you. Aniwaes if it is true, it could be all thanks to my weights… you oredi checked them out every time we met up, right? They weigh like a ton now.

I meant my boys, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL!

Thanks for the selfless

Thanks for the selfless sharing. Interesting methods you got there. But came a bit too late for me liao. 

Btw, how come you get slimmer every time I see you and the other way round for me?  


Find Tuition/Enrichment Centres