As a former teacher, I’m always looking for fun activities I can do with my daughter that might be useful in a classroom down the road. Who knows if, or when, I’ll make it back to full time teaching? I have to keep my creative juices flowing! This week, as I wandered around Home Depot, I was drawn to the paint section. There’s something about all those paint swatches that excites me. Such possibility! While there are plenty of Pinterest-worthy crafts I’m sure I could use them for, my mind went first to a question parents would ask me all the time: How can I help my child improve his reading? No matter the grade, your teacher would love the extra help at home of working with your child on their vocabulary, which will boost their comprehension in reading and open doors to better writing. Consider trying this easy paint swatch synonyms activity using your child’s weekly vocabulary or spelling words to help him visualize and practice.
What you’ll need:
Paint swatch samples
Vocabulary or spelling word list
What to do:
Choose a paint swatch that graduates in color at least 3 or 4 times. Starting with the lightest color, write your child’s vocabulary word on the swatch. Let’s use the word “annoyed” for an example. Then, on the next darkest line, choose a word that is similar to the first, a synonym, but one that is slightly more intense. Keeping with our example, the next word could be, “frustrated.” On the third darkest line, write the most intense word, “irate.” Using a hole punch, cut a hole in the corner of the paint swatch and slip on to your ring clip. Then repeat this process with the next vocabulary word. If your child is older and has more difficult vocabulary words, do this same process but in reverse. Have the darkest color be the unfamiliar vocabulary word (for example, deplete) and use the lighter colors to choose words he might recognize easier (such as drain or decrease).
Soon, you will have all of your child’s vocabulary words, with fun options of synonyms for each, on your ring clip. You can then use this as a tool when your child has to write a story. What words did he use over and over that could be replaced with a more interesting synonym from his paint swatches? Or you can use this as a tool for when your child is reading a new book and comes across a word they recognize, but don’t know what it means. Say he comes across “irate” but isn’t sure what it means. Using his paint swatch synonyms, he can quickly see irate could also mean a stronger version of annoyed. This activity is also a great way to practice using a dictionary and thesaurus, as you choose synonyms that sound the most interesting!
It may seem like such a simple little activity, but often it is the simplest things we do that stick with us the longest. As your child takes the time to create vocabulary cards and play around with the words, he will remember them easier and better writing and reading will follow.