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Games for acquiring syntactical skills

Games for acquiring syntactical skills

Four games designed for developing syntactical skills, with an emphasis on the connection between language and cognition:

  1. “This & That”: Teaches conjunctive sentence structure – Ages 2 and up.
    In this game, the child collects pairs of cards that together make up a single picture, and then uses them to build conjunctive sentences. The card pairs can also be placed alongside each other to create a larger picture composed of four cards, which describes an everyday scenario (a playground, a birthday, a child’s bedroom, a street, etc).
  2. “If… then….”: Teaches conditional sentence structure – Ages 2.5 and up.
    If the glass falls, then it will break.
  3. “In order to…”: Teaches purpose sentence structure – Ages 2.5 and up.
    The girl is getting a paper and markers, in order to draw a picture.
  4. “That…”: Teaches relative sentence structure – Ages 3.5 and up.
    The boy is opening the gifts that he got for his birthday.

Games 2, 3, and 4 are memory games, in which any two cards can be combined to create a compound sentence. Each game allows creating 15 logical sentences (for example, “If the children play in the puddle, then they will get wet”), as well as a large number of illogical, humorous sentences (for example, “If the children play in the puddle, then the balloon will pop”). The use of the absurd helps the child understand the sentences and encourages him/her to try building a variety of compound sentences. In addition, these games encourage the development of cognitive flexibility, through such questions as “What would happen if…?”, “What would happen if… does not…?”, “For what…?”, and “Which…?”
Furthermore, the games enrich the child’s vocabulary related to various areas of life and encourage him/her to include the other players in his/her personal experiences.