• Cindy and Alison

Tips for Building Children's Vocabulary

Listen to Teaching Vocabulary to Young Children on the podcast for more tips.


We should always be lifting children’s vocabulary. We do that by using new words and defining them as we use them. Here are a couple of examples:

To introduce the word “immediately,” I might say:

Let’s do that immediately. Let’s do it right now.

To introduce the word, “gigantic,” I might say:

That’s really big. It’s gigantic!

Once you introduce a word, use it often. You should repeat the definition the next few times you use the word to be sure that the children remember what it means. It takes many repetitions for a new fact to be learned.


I find it important to use big words with children. I do not shy away from using large words when we are learning about something. For example, I use the words hibernation, evaporation and condensation when teaching science units.

I use the word and then I explain what the words mean to the children in terms that they can understand. I use the words often until it becomes part of their language.

Many people become surprised when they hear a preschooler use terms like hibernation and evaporation properly in conversations! Children are capable of knowing, using and understanding these words.

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