Over the past year we have been exploring different words that have come up during conversations or from something we have heard on a documentary or from a book that we have read. We have spent sometime talking about the word of interest and have explored these words further using Montessori inspired activities, different games, though play and everyday life. Here are some of the ways and resources we have used to learn about antonyms and synonyms.
Learning about antonyms (opposite words) and synonyms (words with same meaning) can develop naturally through conversations, stories and life. When children are engaged in rich language environments that support and encourage meaningful conversations with lots of stories and play, they are continually exposed to language and develop an awareness of words that maybe unfamiliar to their vocabulary.
Learning about simple antonyms, such as the word ‘hot’, is easily reinforced by the feeling of being hot and knowing that you want to be cold or at least cooler. When an interest in antonyms came up, I searched for resources that could encouraged independent learning. I found a Learning To Read – Antonyms game that is recommended for ages 4+ and uses self-correcting cards that has both pictures and words. At first we played together as I introduced the cards and words before independent learning occurred. As an alternate resource, you can use The Opposite Game, which is a free printable, to support your early learner in their discovery of antonyms.
As my son has grown more confident in his understanding of antonyms, I made our own set of Antonym cards for him to work with. I introduced a set of six cards at a time (sometimes more) and spent a number of days using them.
With the cards we looked at what the words mean, looked at their spelling and talked about and practiced how these words are used in both spoken and written language.
Synonyms are just as easy to learn when there is a rich language environment. Building an awareness and understanding of synonyms helps expand vocabulary and supports expressive and descriptive writing. An understanding of verbs (a describing words) would assist learning about synonyms.
I made some synonym cards that focus on two words that mean the same. I introduced each set of six cards over the course of a number of weeks. We used our movable alphabet to reinforce the words and their relationship while making a visual representation of the word to support recall and memory. We talked about these words, how they are used in language both written and spoken. Sometimes we even chose a word for the day to see how many time we could use it in our everyday language. My son came up with this great everyday example when he said, “Mum, I’d like to inquire about the produce we are going to consume for dinner”.
For those who are interested, you can download my FREE printable Montessori Inspired Antonyms and Synonyms cards that I have shown in the pictures above (I have just changed the colour of the cards).
Over at Elementary Observations, they share a Montessori lesson about Introducing Synonyms and have available their FREE printable synonym cards. We downloaded their cards and, using their idea, acted out the different synonyms on the cards building an awareness of how these words mean the same thing. This is such a fantastic activity where the learner is not only reading but also engaging their senses to support understanding.
Currently we are playing the Synonyms Bingo Game which is recommended for ages 10+. This game focuses on learning 37 different synonym words as you match words from the cards with the same meaning words on the bingo board. In doing this, it is building vocabulary and readings skills. The game comes with 36 playing boards/cards, bingo chips, calling cards and a instruction and answer guide. You can find this game at child.com.au
child.com.au gifted us the Synonym Bingo game. However all ideas and thoughts expressed here are my own.