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Fun with your thesaurus

By Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist

Here’s a writing exercise and a way for kids to get familiar with a thesaurus. Have each child take something they’ve written (it doesn’t have to be long) or have them write a short account of a recent happening or trip. They can also use a paragraph from a book they are reading. Then pull out the thesaurus. Now have them find an alternate word for the words in their chosen piece and see how it is changed by these word choices.

This is a great exercise for talking about how important word choices can be in conveying meaning or creating an image.  It’s very different to say “I love you with all my heart” than to say “This person deeply cares for your person with complete cardiac involvement”.

To introduce this activity you can play around with just a sentence or 2, then work up to a longer project. Be prepared for a bit of craziness, as the whole thing takes on a mad-libs feel to it.


Another way to play with your thesaurus is to have someone choose (secretly) a familiar passage from a children’s story or nursery rhyme. Change each word using the thesaurus and then read it aloud to the family. Can anyone guess what the original passage was? Take turns being the story modifier.

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