Grandparents and YouTube; a great combination to help preschoolers learn new words

Research shows that pre-school children have a vocabulary of around 1,000 words by the time they are three and they will continue to learn another 500 – 600 words by the time they are four years old.

Recently I had been sitting on the floor with Daisy while she played with her mixed collection of small world of animals. There had been a lot of imaginary play going on until Daisy had to stop for her lunch. After lunch we had to go out, so the animals were collected up but not put away.

Later when we returned home I again sat with Daisy and her animal collection and this time we talked together.

A young girl standing in front of a collection of toy animals.

We talked about the animals and named the ones Daisy had seen on a recent visit to a wildlife park. Then we sorted the animals into groups by the number of legs that they had. First of all we looked at the group of two legged animals and named their parts, talking about how these animals eat, where they live etc.

A set of avian children's toys, a fluffy chick, a wind-up chick, a hen and a robin

Onto the four legged animals – this time we when we looked at the animal’s features. We looked at their tails; we found there were lots of different types of tails to look at and describe: – curly, straight, long, short, longest, shortest. Then we moved on to their ears.

A set of toy animals arranged by size: a dog, a horse, a tortoise, a giraffe, a ferret or stoat, a fox, a squirrel, a pig, an elephant and a tiger.
A set of toy animals arranged randomly: a dog, a giraffe, a ferret or stoat, a fox, a squirrel, a pig, an elephant and a polar bear

Our talking homed in on the gorilla and chimpanzee and as we were looking at the model animals I showed Daisy that a chimpanzee and gorilla walk using their knuckles. This fascinated Daisy and then sent her in a different direction because she pointed at the television and asked her Daddy if she could watch a gorilla, please.

Oh, the joys of today’s technology that gives us instant access to such information. Daisy’s parents have started to use You Tube to enable them to show Daisy details which give her an insight and help to answer her question(s). Our talking had stimulated Daisy’s curiosity so together we watched a couple of short videos on You Tube showing a gorilla moving about as well as caring for its baby.

Daisy was satisfied, the television went off and Daisy went off to play with her mother and baby gorilla, balancing the baby on the mother gorilla’s back….

Opportunities to talk

We need to keep talking to our pre-school grand children. Their word learning takes place in these conversations – and this also enables our grandchild to continue to develop their understanding of the world.

Granny Smith says

This is an activity can go on for as long or as short a time as you think suits your grandchild, and be prepared to go off at a tangent!

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