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Pre-primary

Nouns, Adjectives and Verbs for Young Children

We all know what verbs, nouns and adjectives are correct? I would guess many of you cannot reel off the definition, but understand the correct usage when reading and writing.

verbYou may very well be squinting your eyes, looking at the sky as you try to answer the loaded question “what is a verb and noun mum?” Oh dear, your 5-year-old has posed a beginners question after hearing talk at the office (school) today. When these mysterious words were bandied around by his teacher, his wandering mind was concerned with more pressing issues. “I hope my spider is still under the trampoline when I get home, I will need to find suitable sticks for prodding him with. I am going to eat my cake before fruit at recess. I might give Jimmy a Pokemon card today if he is nice to me” etc. Now he’s looking to you for the answer, here is a parental refresher.


Noun – a part of speech that names a person, place, thing or idea. A naming word.

Verb – the part of speech that conveys an action, occurrence or state of being. A doing word.

Adjective – a word that modifies, quantifies or describes a noun. A describing word.

Example Sentence: A beautiful woman walked the quiet streets of Paris. Can you pick the verb, nouns and adjectives? The colour coding might help.


Okay, now we are all honed up on the subject again, let’s teach the kids.best noun image

Nouns – start by asking your future novelist a few questions.

  1. Do you know what a noun is?
  2. Do you know what a person is?
  3. Do you know what a place is?
  4. Do you know what a thing is?

Back it up sister, I am asking YOU what a noun/verb/adjective is, ah ha yes child that is right. Now if your kid knows the answer to 2,3 and 4 you are heading down the right track. If not, then firstly learn a little about these concepts before venturing into the grammar world.

Some basics to try at home with young children are

  • Books – reading to them and asking if there was a “person, place or thing” in the sentence.
  • Poke a Noun – this is fun if you are having all the family over for dinner, encourage them to give Dad a good poke up the … pets and electrical appliances are also in danger here.

Verbs – question time first

  1. Do you know what a verb is?
  2. Do you know what an action is?
  3. Do you know what a state of being is?
  4. Name something you do?
  5. Name something you are?

I would hazard a guess many small children know the last two, some are close but no cigar at explaining number 2. As for question 3, I suspect only if mum and dad have philosophical conversations as they sip red wine of an evening meal. However, if kids are also stumped by 4 and 5 you need to discuss ‘doing’ things versus ‘being’ things.

An activity to try at home that doesn’t stretch the imagination

  • Simon Says – we all know this one, “Simon says jump” – it’s an action right. Try out a few non-verbs “Simon says table” – whoops it’s a noun, your kid should be standing still now. You get the jist.

AdjectivesAdjectives – only two questions first up

  1. Do you know what an adjective is?
  2. Do you know what it means to describe something?

As we found out above, most cannot answer the first question, however hopefully kids are on track with describing something. Framing this issue correctly might be the key, the word ‘describe’ can be changed to ‘tell me about.’

  • Pictures – cut from magazines/view on a screen/look in books. Get your child to tell you about i.e. describe what that person does for a living, looks like, how old they are. You are hoping for answers that include ‘describing’ words such as tall, long hair, happy, etc.

There are a mountain of activities online, but if you want to start slow and steady just stick with the basics and don’t stray too far from your daily routine.

3 Tips to help master the almighty Pencil Grip

pencils imageWhen your child hits the school system they are immediately confronted with one of the first educational milestones, developing a Pencil Grip. Many, if not all, have given this a fair crack prior to schooling, however for those of us with children uninterested in pen and paper activities this stage is not as straightforward as you thought. It is highly likely you will still be grappling with teaching this scholastic benchmark when your kids are 7, so cut yourself (and them) some slack.

At kindergarten, you may suddenly find yourself discussing Fine Motor and Gross Motor skills. What is this all about you wonder? Put plainly, the fine motor is the coordination of small muscle movements e.g. writing and drawing. Gross motor are larger movements i.e. running, jumping, throwing, kicking, lifting and sitting upright. The gross motor directly influences the fine motor, we can’t have one without the other. So get those kids moving as they will need power in their bodies to master the writing gig.

sofa slouch play
sofa slouch play

Tip 1Core Strength is compulsory for sitting upright. A lack of core strength will affect your child’s ability to sit up straight for extended periods of time, and this isn’t good for a school environment. Playground equipment, swimming, gymnastics and the classic baby manoeuvre tummy time will enhance the core in kids. Hang from monkey bars, climb ladders, lay on your tummy when playing and get down to the local pool.

Tip 2 – a Strong Hand Grip is required. Little kids do not have the strength to hold standard pencil grip TIP topteacher.com.ausized pens and pencils. Think big fat writing tools if you are encouraging children in the early years.  Strong hands are not bestowed upon us at birth. Bring out the play dough and modelling clay. Build some Lego spaceships together. Start spraying water bottles and hose guns around the garden, your plants will love you. Bring forth the board games, ideally Operation. Let them mess with your clothes pegs, however, watch out for grubby hands.

pencil grip stages
pencil grip stages

Tip 3 – do not fret if they haven’t mastered the holy grail of pen holding, the Dynamic Tripod Grip in Kindergarten or Pre-primary. Most kids are not proficient until 6 or 7 years old, and many get by without it. Do not fret if you suddenly realise you don’t hold your pen correctly. Do not fret if your child is exhausted from the sheer thought of picking up a pencil and writing their name. And, do not fret if you find the worksheets, tip sheets, grip gadgets and online resources overwhelming. Send them back outside to play and they will conquer it another day.

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