Enriching your Child’s Vocabulary: Weekly Mystery Word (for toddlers)

To enrich my 2-year old’s vocabulary in her 2 minority languages (ml), I have recently introduced a Weekly Mystery Word.

Every morning on her breakfast plate, she finds a little tag with the illustration of a word to say. If she does not know it I tell her, and Daddy builds on these tags by translating to Spanish. Then, using sticky-tack, she sticks the tag on a sheet of paper we use as a backdrop. By the end of the week, we go over all the words and I ask my daughter if she can guess the mystery word to which all the tags of the week relate to; for instance tags with train, helicopter, plane, UFO and rocket if the mystery word is transport. Obviously, she is too young to guess! But this is an excuse to get her to learn new vocabulary and feel like she is doing like her sister. 😉

We do the Mystery Word from Monday to Friday, as at week-ends the girls have their breakfast watching cartoons, which I find distracting and not a favourable condition to attract their attention and discuss the tag.

Here are tips as to how to go about designing this Weekly Mystery Word set.

Challenges:

  • Finding the inspiration!
  • Choosing the vocabulary adapted to your child’s level
  • Finding topics that can interest your child

Resources used:

  • Word or any word-processing software.
  • Colour printer
  • Sticky-tack
  • Scissors

Steps:

  1. In a new Word document, insert a header with your child’s name such as “X’s Weekly Mystery Word” (for the purposes of this blog, I have cut off the name of my daughter from the picture below). Use loads of bright colours and a large font to make it look attractive. This will serve as your backdrop on which your child will stick the tags.
  2. Search online for a clip-art illustrating each words of the week. Copy the clip-arts on page 2 of your document. These will serve to create the tags with the daily words.
  3. Print the 2 pages.
  4. Cut out your clip-arts on page 2 (your tags).

You will have to repeat the printing of the tags every week and fill out the pieces with the new vocabulary.

End result:

Weekly Mystery Word for toddlers
Mystery word: Transport

Tip:

  1. Stickers can be used instead of clip-arts.
  2. Keep the tags and re-use them later during the year so your child may “revise” their vocabulary in the same playful manner.
  3. Unlike the Mystery Word for early readers (LINK), I chose not to use a clip-art on the backdrop sheet as my daughter is young and requires her time to fit pieces in the right shape, which is a bit inconvenient time-wise for our tight morning schedule during the week. However, it could be an educational option than to use a backdrop with the basic shapes (Circle, Triangle, Square, etc…). I do not exclude changing our current backdrop to this in the long-run. 😉

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