5 ideas to get kids talking

Amazing activities to engage your kids in conversation

Written by James Murphy

“How was your day?” you beam, when you and your pride-and-joy are reunited at the end of school.

They’ve just spent 6 hours away from you… 6 hours! Think of all the things they did, people they spoke to, things they ate, hilariously witty things they said! You can’t wait to hear about every single minute…

“Fine,” they shrug. “Can I have a biscuit? I want to watch TV.”

If you’re struggling to find out about your child’s secret school life, try one of these 5 ideas to keep kids away from the TV and talking to you. We’ve thought up 5 easy games, because it’s always more fun to play then chat.

They’re perfect for kids aged 4-plus and can be used after school, after playdates or whenever you need to know what’s going on in their heads (apart from wanting biscuits, of course. There are no secrets there).

 1) Alphabet game: all the way from a to z

What to do:

1. Choose a conversation topic, like school, and then take it in turns to go through the alphabet and think of a word that starts with each letter. Apple, Adam… Ball, Breaktime
2. Pause at different answers and ask open-ended question about that thing to get them chatting. For example, “Playground – who did you play with today?”
3. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get all the way through the alphabet. The important bit is starting a conversation.

2) Question Bowl: conversation game

What you’ll need: small pieces of paper, pen, a bowl

What to do:

1. Write out a list of open-ended questions on individual pieces of paper. The questions can be silly, funny, sensible and serious. Then drop them in the bowl…

– What did you do at playtime?

– What made you laugh the most today?

– What did you have for lunch?

– What was the kindest thing you did today?

– If you could teach a lesson, what subject would it be?

– Who had the best lunch today, and what was it?

– What was the best thing you saw on your journey home?

2. Take it in turns to pick a question from the bowl and read it out loud. Make sure each person takes part, so the conversation isn’t just focussed on your child.

3) A picture is worth a 1000 words: get everyone to draw their day

What you’ll need: A4 paper, crayons

Serve up dinner with a side of paper and crayons so everyone can draw a picture of something that happened today. If half the family’s still at work, tell your child they’ll do a picture when they get home and they can look at it tomorrow.

4) High, Low, High: an active way to talk about the good bits, and not-so-good bits, of your days

Take it in turns to make yourself high or low – kneel on a chair or lie on the floor! Then say a highlight (the BEST thing that happened today), and a lowlight (the WORST thing).

5) In the classroom I saw: play a memory game

A bit like I went to the shops and bought… only this game is based on events that happened that day. So, you might say, “I had my lunch and ate…” and then take it in turns to list what you had, remembering what the other person said before.

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