Use your words

I admit to using a few choice words while running last minute holiday errands. When I admonished my young children to “use your words,” these weren’t the ones I had in mind.

And though families are hoping for tender moments as relatives gather for holiday rituals, we all know that tensions can run high. So consider this your friendly reminder to “use your words.” The nice ones.

And keep these simple word games in mind for family time that needs to be a bit more fun and focused. All were inspired by a recent trip to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, where you’ll find all sorts of colorful word art in their “Someplace” exhibit.

Grab pen and paper for a simple game of “Hangman.” Choose a word without revealing it to your partner. Then have them guess as you build the “hangman” each time they guess a letter not found in your word.

Pull out those old magnetic word kits — or make your own using magnetic backing available from local craft stores. Local bookstores and museum gift shops won’t mind you stopping in for a set.

Create your own letter and/or word flashcards using index cards, construction paper or other items at hand. Use them to create story chains (everyone adds a word to build a story together), play sorting games (find all the words that begin with a single letter) or make up your own activities.

Go on a word treasure hunt, choosing certain words around the house for players to find before rejoining the group to share word locations.

Let the kids cut words out of old cereal boxes, magazines and such — then string them together into stories, glue them together into collages and such.

Choose a word or collection of letters and challenge players to find as many words as possible using only the word or letters provided.

If using homemade word tiles feels too passé, rev up your technology du jour and explore more than 60 online word games for kids at

Most importantly, remember to “use your words” to express your gratitude for gifts of time and talent, for random acts of kindness, for the simple joys that fill the season. And to focus on the words that matter most.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the Children’s Museum of Phoenix (which is closed Dec. 24 & 25, but open on Dec. 26). Word art included in this post is part of the “Someplace” exhibit featuring the work of Bisbee artist Peter Goldlust. Click here to read a post featuring more of his musings.

Coming up: Freckle time!


2 responses to “Use your words

  1. Cool – I love these word art works.

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