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Language and Communication use descriptive language to describe objects  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Use descriptive language to describe an object so that a peer can guess what it is.

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Scientific Enquiry
P-scales/Curriculum level:L1
TAP skill:Language
TAP level:TAP60
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
What's in the bag?


Either two sets of pictures or a set of objects and a set of matching pictures (can be related to class topics).

Description prompt cards (cards with questions like "what do you do with it?", "what is it made of?", "what does it look like?").

Score chart (optional)

1. Explain that you are all going to take it in turns to describe something from the bag. All the others must listen to the description and guess what the item is.

2. Set out the pictures as a visual prompt.

3. Take it in turns to describe an object, making sure you keep it out of sight. Use the description prompt cards to help.

4. If someone is able to guess what the object is, the describer gets a point.

To make this harder, do not use the second set of pictures as a prompt.

You will need to use just one or two description prompt cards at first, building up to using the whole set.

When new to this game, some children may just say the name of the object before saying anything about it - in this case you might need to ask a question such as "What do you do with it?" before they have a chance to say the object's name.

Treasure Hunt

Objects to hide around the room (optional)

Description prompt cards.

Score chart (optional)

Make sure the describer does not point at the object or stare at it!

Present list hints

Pictures of toys or other things the children would like as presents (Argos catalogues are good, or other catalogues)

Description prompt cards

Score chart (optional)

It might be best to use this activity before an occasion when the child is likely to get presents, such as birthday, Christmas / Eid or other festival, etc.


Commercial 'Taboo!' game


Set of cards with 'Don't say...' header on them, and space to write a word underneath

Objects or pictures of items.

If you are using the commercial Taboo! Game, you may need to adapt how you play it to make it easier. The main adaptations are to not use the timer, and go through the cards to check that the words are ones the children will know.

Using your own version:

To make it harder, put more words per object on the card of words they cannot say. You could also introduce a timer, but only if the children are very confident - this is not a test!

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