Synonyms have been shown to be an excellent way to build our vocabularies because it’s really easy to learn and attach a new word to a concept/meaning that we already know. Kids can have fun learning and adding to their vocabulary by playing this version of the classic game of memory. You can use store bought word cards or make your own out of index cards or card stock to play. Although you can use any set of random words you like (click here for word ideas), it’s also a good idea to choose words from a book or selection that you are working on with your child.

  1. Pick out some synonym pairs (the number will vary depending on your child’s age and reading ability – anywhere from 5 pairs for younger kids to 15 pairs for older kids) and review the words with your child. Have your child practice reading the words and take the time to discuss their meanings.
  2. Lay the word cards face down in rows on the floor or table.
  3. Have your child choose a card, read the word aloud, and try to find the word card that matches its meaning. If they find the right card they get to keep the pair. If not, they put both cards back where they were and it’s the next person’s turn.
  4. Continue until there are no cards left. The person with the most cards wins!
  • You can make this as simple or as difficult as you like. For younger kids you can use simple words with pictures to help them with the meaning (ex: small/little, hat/cap) – harder words for older kids (ex: alone/isolated, exhausted/weary).
  • This is an excellent time to introduce your kids to mature vocabulary words that can be tied to easy words that they already know – this really helps to expand their vocabulary in a rich way! Examples: sad/melancholy, friendly/amicable, mad/indignant.
  • You can also change this up by making the word pairs antonyms.