I guess being a librarian and a reader has always meant that I like words. I like the way words sound. I like the funny meanings some words have for everyday things.
Take the word "prestidigitation." It's a fancy word for sleight of hand. In other words, magic tricks.
"Anthropomorphism," which means giving animals human feelings, is another fun word. The Web site www.merriam-webster.com lets you look up thousands of words online and, what I really like, lots of them have a pronunciation toolbar. You can actually have someone tell you how to say a word.
How do you pronounce "ennui," which is a feeling of boredom?
There are thousands of word games to play with yourself or with someone else. Remember, "Scrabble," the word game? It still is lots of fun. You can play that game with your child and make it as easy or hard as their ability.
How about the board game "Apples to Apples," "Boggle" or "Upwards?" Try one of those on your family fun night.
Type in the word "free word games" on www.google.com and literally 14,500,000 different hits appear. I've heard several teachers recommend www.funbrain.com for different word games.
I tried one that came up under the Shockwave site www.shockwave.com/wordgames.
It had a fun game on it called "word vine." You take groups of words and put them together in a vine shape to make combinations of words. I spent several minutes trying to figure out different ways of putting together groups of words.
Also, have books of crossword puzzles and word searches around the house for your child to play with when they tell you they are bored. There are several Web sites to create your own crossword puzzles or word searches.
If your child has a spelling list from school, try making one of these to help them have fun with words.
A couple of free sites are www.eclipsecrossword.com and www.awesomeclipartforkids.com/crossword/crosswordpuzzlemaker.com, or for word searches try www.puzzles.ca/wordsearch.html.
Remember to have a family dictionary handy for all the contested words, and enjoy playing with words. Remember, the more you read and the more your child reads, the more fun words you can collect. Try having your child collect the many strange words they hear or read in a week and see who can collect the most.
Most children love stumping their parents. Make it a game to see if they can find a word you don't know.
Jean Meadors is the children's librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.