Dictionary Day is the perfect excuse to dust off your Websters (you still have those, right?). We’ve got five easy-to-medium dictionary-based games that can be easily adapted for lil’ literati of all ages. Read on to get the word.

dictionary lego guy photo: kyle tsui via flickr

Fictionary. Choose six to ten words your kid may not know. For each word, write out four possible definitions and have them vote which one they think is the real definition. For little ones, keep it simple with one or two word definitions and don’t forget to add in at least one very silly one! For older kids, choose more difficult words and throw in a couple “realistic” sounding definitions.

Dictionary for beginners. Put that ABC song to the test with a simple word search. Teach dictionary use with starter words, like CAT, BALL or BUG. Give them one letter at a time to help them locate the word. Example: CAT. Have them look up the C, then the A, finally the T until they find it. They’ll see the alphabet within the alphabet on every page. 

Pictionary, light. Flip through the pages of a dictionary and have your littles place their finger on a word at random. Work together or on your own to draw the word you’ve landed on. (Let’s hope you get castle and not existentialism.)

Pictionary, advanced. You’ll need at least 4 players for this one. Using a dictionary, one member of the team chooses a word at random (see flip method above). Their next task is to draw the word they picked, hoping their team member guesses it. (Not unlike the board game by the same name). Teams take turns, and each member alternates drawing. You can up the ante by adding a time limit to the drawing.

Variation: If the drawing team’s mate doesn’t guess, the opposing team gets one guess at it.

Variation 2: 5 people. Have one person be the random word generator. They can either write or show the word to the player who will be drawing. This role is best played by mom or dad.

Fake it up.  Have the kiddos make a word up and then explain or write the definition out to you. Example: decision-ing. What a four-year-old says when he is trying to decide between two equally fun ideas (ice cream vs. cake, bath vs. shower, etc.).

What words did your kid make up today? Share it with us in the comments below! 

—Amber Guetebier


dictionary games