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Practicing Antonyms, Synonyms, and Homonyms

Your kids may be learning about different kinds of words at school:

  • Antonyms are opposite (good, bad).

  • Verb – action word (run)

  • Synonyms mean the same thing (bowl, dish).

  • Homonyms are spelled differently but sound the same (so, sew).

Here are some activities that you can practice with your child at home!

  • Guessing Antonyms : With your child, think up some opposite word pairs, such as fast/slow, stand/sit, big/little, up/down, laugh/cry, sleep/wake, enter/exit, open/close, and tall/short. Then secretly select one of the pairs and act out the two words. Can your child guess the opposite words? Reverse roles.

  • Substitute Words :The next time you are out with your child, look for words on signs, on menus, or on billboards. Take turns reading a word and thinking of a word that means that same and that could be used instead. You can even rename whole stores; the Hat Shop could be the Cap Store.

  • Same Sound, Different Meaning : How many words can you and your child think of that sound the same, but have different meanings? List the words and then make up sentences that use the words. Here are some examples: “Sing a hymn for him.” “Write it right!” “That’s not a knot!” “I ate eight grapes.”

  • Magazine Opposites : Have your child cut pictures from old magazines to show opposite words. If you cut out a picture of a boy, they should look for a girl. If you cut out something smooth, your child should find something rough. If you wish, glue the pictures into a spiral notebook and label the antonyms.

  • Synonym Charts :Children tend to use the same words, especially in their writing. Start with a word like pretty. Write it at the top of a page. Think of other words that mean the same thing and write them on the page. On other pages, write other words and their synonyms. In no time, you’ll have your own thesaurus!

  • Homonym Bingo :Have your kids help you identify at least 12 pairs of homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings) – toes/tows, steak/stake, and nose/knows are just a few. Make bingo cards (3×3 squares on each) and fill in the squares with one of the words from each pair. Put the matching words on index cards. Make each bingo card different, with some different words. Start drawing index cards and marking the matching words on the bingo cards to see who can win Homonym Bingo!

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