Play with your words

  • Post category:Blog / Parenting

Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bugs bite…

Do you do wordplay with your children?

I lasso you…
I label you…
I link you…
I list you…
Oh, I LOVE you!

Do you do word games, plays on words, puns, double entendres, spoonerisms, mixed metaphors or rhymes?

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…
I spy with my beady eye, something beginning with…
I spy with my tiddly eye, something beginning with…

Wordplay is beneficial in so many ways.  You don’t need to know the technical names, just have fun with words.  Here’s why:

  1. It builds connection.  Children love wordplay, the funnier the better.  Laughter brings good feelings, which builds connection.  And connection is so important.  If you have noticed an increase in tantrums, meltdowns, defiance or other behaviour problems, it may be that you need to repair or increase your connection.  Laughter through wordplay is one way to do this.
  2. Stress relief – another byproduct of laughter and fun.  Try this on the way home from school after you’ve shoved a snack in their hand and you might find yourself with a smoother transition from school to home.
  3. It teaches language (but they don’t know it).  English is such a funny language.  There are ways you can play with it and it works, and ways that don’t work. Children work out quickly which is which and what is funny.
  4. It enforces musicality.  Through little rhymes or alliteration, you are helping to develop their musical ear.
  5. It can help build their creativity.  If they start playing back with you, they are exercising their own creativity.

Come on, it’s winner time!
No?  Ok, it’s tinner time!
Really?  Alright, then come on.  It’s time for breakfast…

I often make things up as I go along.

“Mum, what’s for after-school snack today?”
“Oh, just some roasted beetles / unicorn poop / dried crickets / Martian mud”
(Cue giggles and “Muuuuuuum!”)

Take a page from Dr Seuss’ book, like this one in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish:

Did you ever fly a kite in bed?
Did you ever walk with ten cats on your head?
Did you ever milk this kind of cow?
Well, we can do it. We know how.
If you never did, you should.
These things are fun and fun is good.

Play! Laugh! Have fun with words. No one is recording you, no one is marking you, there’s no test to fail.  

And in case you’re having trouble getting started, here’s a hilarious book to help you out (available most good bookshops and online):

Clarrie’s Pig Day Out by Jen Storer and Sue de Gennaro.



This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Donna Gibbs

    Great ideas, Pam. And you are so right about the educational and other benefits all achieved painlessly.

  2. Zoe

    We love Clarrie too. I die laughing every time I get to the bit where the dog barks… ‘boof boof boof!’ Never gets old…

    1. pamela

      Oh my gosh, the first time Clarrie almost had a “fart attack”, I had to stop reading as we were rolling on the floor. Still makes me giggle every time 😀

  3. Norah Colvin

    I so agree with you about word play. It’s great for fun and great for learning, even better for relationships. You can never have too much fun. I’ll have to check out Clarrie’s Pig Day Out. What a fun title with lots of promise.

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