With a big emphasis on the technical side of English in the primary curriculum, we at Primary Tutor Project decided to share some tips and practical activities to help your child enjoy grammar. Encouraging your child to have a good relationship with grammar from a young age is hugely important. Grammar provides the building blocks for children to understand and express themselves in longer and more complex ways. Having good grammar also complements children’s linguistic development in other areas including the content and uses of language. It plays an important role in the development of conversation, social skills and narrative skills.
So how can we go about making grammar fun? How can you help your child to get to grips with grammar and enjoy it?
Keep it Simple
Using grammatical terms can confuse your child. Especially at a younger age, it can help to use simple, understandable terminology. For example, adjectives ‘add’ to a noun and adverbs ‘add’ to a verb. For younger children, write the words of a simple sentence – such as, ‘A cow eats grass in the paddock.’ – on individual slips of paper, and get them to put the words in the correct order with a capital letter at the beginning and a full stop at the end.
Children often learn best with a multi-sensory approach. Some examples of how this can be done in the home environment include:
- Get your child to read and notice the patterns of grammar in the world around them.
- Using colour by allocating a colour to each specific part of speech: nouns-black, pronouns- pink, adjectives- blue etc., and then building sentences accordingly.
- Play games: Opposite tennis- help your child understand antonyms (opposites) by calling out words like small, tall, difficult, enormous and getting them to shout out the opposite. Alternatively, get your child to shout words that mean the same as the ones you’re calling out (synonyms).
- Funny sentences: Appeal to your child’s silly side by encouraging them to make up funny sentences which still make grammatical sense. Write a selection of subjects, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, connectives etc. on individual flashcards and get your child to compose crazy sentences, such as, ‘The sleepy penguin skated to the supermarket in a bag of chips.
Learning to use a dictionary and a thesaurus is an important part of improving grammar. Build familiarity with the dictionary by playing games with it: for younger children, write down a mixture of correctly and wrongly spelled words (‘toothbrush’ and ‘toofbrush’) and get them to find the right spelling, or challenge an older child by calling out unfamiliar words and timing how long it takes them to find the definition. Don’t be afraid to use online versions too… this is after all what they will be using further along in their studies!
There is now an enormous amount of information and interactive games online that can make grammar fun. While online tools are helpful, a balanced exposure to online games and learning offline with a parent is best. Try:
- The British Council’s grammar games
- The Englishclub have some free games
- BBC Bitesize Grammar
- TheSchoolRun, where some of this information was taken from, have some excellent grammar worksheets
At Primary Tutor Project, we actively utilise all types of teaching styles to help us in making grammar fun. If your child is struggling with their grammar, feel free to contact us here at Primary Tutor Project where we can offer some advice and maybe help you in making grammar fun for your child!