Vocabulary Building Game for Children: Word Runner

The Word Runner

With children spending so much time at home because of the pandemic, not going out to play with friends, it is a natural tendency for them to want to watch more television or play games on the tablet. However, excess screen-time can be very harmful.

Read Screen Time – How much is too much?to know how much screen time is recommended for various age groups.

Parents are continually asking about activities they can do to keep their children engaged. It stresses them out to see their children being idle for even a few minutes. As parents, you must never forget that it is not your responsibility to entertain your kids all through the day. Let them be on their own at times. It increases their creativity. Read the article onHow to Raise Creative Children.

Having said that, playing fun games with children helps to strengthen the bond between parents and children, is fun and entertaining for both and if the game is chosen well, it can also help to increase some knowledge.

Word Runner – The Vocabulary Building Game

Today’s game is Vocab Builder. It is fun and easy to play and will help build your child’s vocabulary. It will make them notice new words when they read so that they can use them in the game. It will make them notice new words when they hear other people speak. In short, it will make them more consciously aware and desirous of learning new words.

Number of Players:

2 or more

Age Group:

5+ years (younger can also play if they know enough words)

How to Play:

First, choose the type of words which will be used in the game. It can be adjectives, verbs, adverbs (we have even played it with fruits and animals). Choose one category that you want to play with. Changing the category of the game next time you play will keep it fun and entertaining.

One player (could be the youngest one) starts by saying a word in the chosen category. The next player has to say another word starting with any alphabet in the word spoken by the player before him/her. The circle continues. If a player cannot think of a word, his/hers point increases, and the chance is passed on to the next player. The player with minimum points wins. The game ends when all players pass without being able to answer.

To make it more difficult, you can also have each player say a word in the category starting with last alphabet of the previous word, but we have seen that for young children (and sometimes for older ones too) it becomes very difficult.

For Example:

You choose the category of Verbs.

Player 1: Walk

Player 2 can now say a verb starting with W, A, L or K.

Player 2: Kiss

Player 3 can now say a verb starting with K, I or S

Player 3: Kick

Next player can say a verb starting with K, I or C

Check out more games here.


  • The words have to be of the category that is chosen.
  • A word cannot be repeated.
  • Different tenses of same word are not allowed.

Useful Tip 1: Tell your children the meaning and usage of a new word that you use.

Useful Tip 2: Encourage your children to use some new word that they read recently.

Useful Tip 3: The player who starts has to use a new word and also tell its usage/meaning.


Apart from the fact that children really enjoy it, it helps in building their vocabulary. Their ability to notice and remember new words that they read significantly increases. Only recently, a 7-year-old used ‘fastidious’ in the game and surprisingly he also knew how to use it (he had read it that same morning in a book he was reading and learnt it specifically for the game).

You can get some tips here on Developing the Habit of Reading in Children.

I hope you and your children also enjoy playing and learning. Happy Playing!

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