Vocabulary instruction can be hard to fit into your daily schedule in Kindergarten. Luckily, teaching and practicing vocabulary words can easily work throughout your day. These 5 simple vocabulary activities for Kindergarten take little to no time to prep and can also be used as time fillers, transitions, and lesson ideas.
To read more about how to teach vocabulary in Kindergarten, check out this blog post here.
Word of the week
The easiest way to implement more vocabulary practice in your day is to have a word of the week. This word can be from one of your lessons, seasonal or holiday themed, or just a word that you want to teach them. Don’t overthink this word, just pick one and move on.
With our word of the week, I introduced it every Monday morning during our morning meeting. Sometimes they knew what the word was, sometimes they didn’t know. We used this word throughout the week in our lessons, transitions, and more. You can read more about how I implemented a word of the week in this post here.
Finding the missing word is a great activity to practice both vocabulary and reading comprehension. You can do this once or twice a week as a quick vocabulary lesson or when you have 5 extra minutes in your day.
First, you will pick a sentence and leave one word missing. It’s best to write the sentence on the board, even if they cannot read, so they can visualize the spot that is missing the word. Read the sentence with the blank and have students repeat.
Ask your students, “What word is missing?” Give your students some time to think about what word it could be. You can also show or tell them 3 words as their options to see which one works for the blank space.
For example, your sentence may be “The moon ____ at night.” You may have the words “appears, relaxes, or invites” Only the word “appears” makes sense in that sentence. This will help students understand the definition of the word.
If you teach First Grade and up, this is a great activity that they can do independently. You can find this Missing Word worksheet in my CVCe Words Worksheet pack.
What's another word for?
A quick, no-prep activity that works well when you have a little extra time is this “what’s another word for?” game. First, you will think of a word, like “cup” that has multiple words that mean the same thing- a cup can be called a “mug, glass, tumbler, etc”. Challenge your students to think of as many words that can be used in place of cup. You can have your students share with the student next to them the word or words they thought of. Then, call on students to share and write them down. Try to encourage your students to use these alternate words throughout the week.
Here are a few examples:
- Run- jog, sprint
- Shirt- top, blouse, tee
- Cold- chilly, freezing, cool
Vocabulary Call and Response Activity
This activity is one I liked to do with my word of the week. To see if students truly understand what a word is, we do this call and response activity. You will tell them the word first. “The word is ‘bloom’. What does the word ‘bloom’ mean?” Have your students tell you what the word means. Then you will say, “Okay, I am going to say a word. If this word can ‘bloom’, then you will say the word ‘bloom’. If it cannot, then you will be quiet.” So, you will say words like flower, garden, plant, and then also words like lion, computer, candle to see if they are able to identify the words that go with the vocabulary word.
We used picture sorts all the time to practice sorting by sound, but they are also the perfect opportunity for a mini vocabulary lesson! When you are working on a picture sort, you may come across trickier words, like “blimp”, “clover”, or “pliers”. Rather than dismissing these words as “too hard” for a Kindergartener, teach them what the words mean as you are doing the activity together. You can watch how I use picture sorts to practice vocabulary here.
Find all my Phonics Picture Sorts in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.
Which one of these simple vocabulary activities for Kindergarten will you try with your students?