Fun learning with word games

JUST FOR PARENTS

Advice and strategies to help your children read

September 09, 2001

Editor's Note: Today Jerdine Nolen shows you the hidden benefits of word games.

People love to have fun with each other. A regular dose of laughter is healthy for the psyche and the soul. Some forms of entertainment can help with language development. Besides being fun, word games and riddles help increase vocabulary and verbal fluency -- and they can be carried along on long driving trips. Riddles can be based on themes like sports (baseball and football are popular choices in these parts) or stories we have read. Children enjoy games and activities that allow them to act things out. (Boring days and rainy ones can bring out the creativity in all of us.)

Games are full of learning opportunities. Kids can sharpen their:

* social skills

* imagination

* understanding of sequential order

* methods of organization and evaluation

* ability to interpret behavior

* problem-solving abilities

Word Games, Jokes, and Riddles:

* Twenty Questions

* Rhyming Games

* Knock-Knock Jokes

* Word Jumble

* Mad Libs

* Word Search

* Boggle

* Crossword Puzzles

* Hangman

* Tongue Twisters

* Spell It

* Mazes

Acting Out Games:

* Charades

* Pantomime

* Who Am I?

Setting the stage for sweet dreams

Now that the kids are back in school, keep them at their most alert by helping them get at least nine hours worth of Z's each night. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute thinks good sleep habits should start early in life and are spearheading an initiative to help prevent yawning in classrooms across the country called the Star Sleeper Campaign. Director Dr. Claude Lenfant hopes that starting a lifetime of good sleep patterns removes kids from the 70 million-plus Americans who currently suffer from sleep problems. Some tips he offers:

* Set a regular time for bed each night and stick to it.

* Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.

* Avoid big meals and caffeine close to bedtime.

* Set a comfortable bedroom temperature.

* Keep the bedroom dark or lit with a small light.

* Keep the noise level low.

For more information, including a fun pad filled with games and puzzles with sleep messages, go to http: / / starsleep.nhlbi.nih. gov.

-- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Children's

Chapter Book Best Sellers

Editor's Note: The children's best-seller list has three categories -- picture books, chapter books, and paperbacks -- which are published in rotation, one category per week.

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (weeks on list: 60)

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (103)

3. The Prayer of Jabez for Teens by Bruce Wilkinson with David Kopp (7)

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (142)

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (117)

6. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (44)

7. Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot (5)

8. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket (22)

9. Jedi Quest: Path to Truth by Jude Watson (1)

10. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket (8)

Contact us

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on sunspot.net, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to sun.features@baltsun.com; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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