How to Teach Kids Descriptive Writing

Once kids start stringing coherent sentences together, it is time for them to make their writing interesting. They need to move from functional language to one that is rich in details. This forces them to use new vocabulary, pay attention, make connections and increase their ability to comprehend. Good descriptive writing has the ability to evoke visual images and feelings.

Adjectives Bulletin Board

Adjectives Bulletin Board” by Evelyn Saenz is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Character Sketch
Animals are always fun to write about. Ask kids to pick out their favorite virtual pet from the pet games they play. These are often colorful creatures with interesting characteristics. Kids have to describe the pet. They can start with the pet’s physical features and then move on to describing how the pet acts or thinks.
This can be turned into a game if you have at least two kids. They can write descriptions of the pets but leave out their names, and take turns in guessing which pet is being described. Paintings and photographs from magazines can also be used.

Describe Settings
Kids can be taken out to a park, a beach or a café. Ask them to keep a notepad and pencil handy, and write down their observations. Encourage them to use their senses. These observations can be brief like orange roses, brown chairs and cool breeze. They can later write a detailed description of the place they visit.

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Created by Alex (Age 8)” by MrsGooding is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sense Challenge
This is an exercise that will help kids develop their five senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. We take in a lot of information that is often sensory but it takes practice to stay aware and distinguish between them. You can blindfold your child and give them a fruit like an apple or even a toy. Kids have to feel the shape, texture, smell and taste to identify the fruit they have been given. By canceling out sight, children will be forced to visualize the object and use their other senses. They can then write a description of it.

Adjective Bank
For descriptive writing to be powerful, kids need to have a strong vocabulary. You can help children build their vocabulary by creating various charts. Kids can start with the five senses and write as many words as possible related to each sense. For example, under ‘taste’ you would include ‘sweet’, ‘salty’, ‘bitter’ and ‘tangy’. Similarly, adjective word lists can be created for feelings, physical characteristics and so on.
With these simple activities, kids can improve their descriptive writing skills and develop their ability to communicate experiences and ideas clearly.

Traditional Games to make your kids smarter

Hopscotch.jpg
Image Source - https://flic.kr/p/3oFvbX

There are simple games that help develop your child's critical thinking skills and spatial awareness while at the same time entertaining them for hours at a stretch. These games can be played regardless of age which means that you can have fun with them even in a grown-up party. You have played these games as a kid and your parents before that and their parents before them. These not so secret games are so simple yet so effective; you should introduce them into your child's life straight away (if you haven't already)

Without much ado, here are the top games I would recommend.

1. Hopscotch -
This is not only great for exercise; it's excellent to teach numbers to toddlers and to teach motor skills. I love that it is customizable to make it more challenging.

2. Chutes and Ladders –
While this is a game of luck, the board has a great math component attached to it. It also leads kids to calculate how far they are from their goal, what they need to get in order to win or beat their opponent.

3. Jenga –
An oldie but goodie, I don't need to say any more about this classic game that was a staple in my household growing up. It is excellent to develop hand eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. It also helps you develop spatial awareness.

Science News for Kids, January 2015

For the budding scientists, a new year means exciting new science news for the mind! So here are the top 3 stories in the world of science news for kids, for the first month of 2015.

Aliens May Exist After All!
There’s good news for those who thought the world may come to an end very soon and that all of us will perish along with it! A team of astronomers have identified eight planets beyond our solar system which apparently have moderate climate just like the Earth’s, so life doesn’t look like a distant possibility there. The scientists, led by Dr. Guillermo Torres of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, made the discoveries using data collected by the planet-seeking Kepler telescope. But before we get further confirmation on the possibility of life on the planets, astronomers must first verify if the planets have heat-trapping atmosphere like Earth’s, a key ingredient for life. Let’s wait and watch!

Traces of Earliest Twins Found in Siberia
The belief that having twins is a comparatively recent phenomenon is about to be put to rest. Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Neolithic Era tragedy that is helping them trace the existence of twins thousands of years back. The remains of a woman has been found who apparently died of an obstructed labor, called dystocia in medical terms, along with her twins in her womb. What’s remarkable is that even though the discovery suggests that twins existed in prehistoric times, there isn’t any direct reference or evidence of having twins in the prehistoric era. The discovery has been found at a prehistoric cemetery called Lokomotiv, near present-day Irkutsk in Russia. The babies were found in a ‘locked’ position in the womb which may have resulted in the mother’s death.

Small is the New Smart

Apple-Smart-Watch.jpg
Image Source - http://antyweb.pl/smartwatch-wyprze-tradycyjne-zegarki/#

Most of you must have already started to carry the big, quintessential electronic gadget in your pockets by now if you’re in high school, namely a smart phone. The news is that big, smart gadgets are all set to get smaller and smarter – in the form of a smart watch! The smart watch is a smart device that can be worn on the wrist, just like a normal watch, but promises to do all the things a cell phone does. Soon after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced the launch of the Apple watch, Swatch too has announced its plans to launch its own smartwatch within the next three months, as confirmed by its CEO Nick Hayek. The device will link up to the internet without needing to be charged, will make mobile payments, and will work with both Windows and Android software. Now you now know what to ask for your next birthday!

Keeping kids abreast of all the developments in the world of science is one of the best ways to help them cultivate an interest in the subject. They must be encouraged to browse for regular and updated science news on the internet and subscribe to a few online science magazines too!
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brionnasimpson

Author:brionnasimpson
I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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