Games and Activities
You can build your child’s confidence by using puzzles, oral and verbal activities to provide valuable skills away from written testing. Here are just a few ideas:
Researching Collective Nouns
Word games where the challenge is to invent new terms and words help to widen vocabulary and stimulate imagination for writing tasks.
Finding collective nouns using a dictionary or the internet, leads to the invention of new ones. For example:
- What do you call a group of mobile phones? A chatter
- What is an alternative collective noun for kittens? A cuddle
Have fun thinking up new collective nouns for unusual groupings.
This game develops skills in considering a variety of adjectives and practice in alliteration.
Choose a car colour as you are driving along together. Every time you see a car of that colour, take turns in adding another descriptive word beginning with the same letter as the colour. For example:
- Rusty red car
- Revolting, rusty red car
- Revolving, revolting rusty red car…
Find cartoon strips and ask your child to cut out the individual picture scenes and reorder them.
This helps them to think up original ways to structure stories using flashback, time changes or dual action (where two events are happening at the same time but in different places).
This is an excellent activity for practising counting in multiples.
Choose a vehicle with a set number of wheels. Count on by that number of wheels every time you see that type of vehicle. For example, if you choose a bicycle (two wheels), then every time you see a bicycle, add two more to your total.
This becomes more difficult when you choose a car or bus!
Give Me a Sign!
To develop understanding of the properties of 2D shapes, try looking out for shapes as you drive or walk along. This game is a challenging one.
Look for shapes with increasing numbers of sides on signs. The shape must be named as it is spotted. For example:
- one-sided shape – circle or ellipse
- two-sided shape – semi-circle
- three-sided shape – triangle…
You can allow pub and shop signs. For example, ‘The Half Moon’ could be a semi-circle.
There are many games you can play using car number plates. This one is useful for algebra practice.
You will need a pencil and paper.
Write out the alphabet and assign a number to each letter, i.e. A = 1, B = 2, etc.
Each person chooses a number plate. They must convert the letters to numbers and then add all of the values together. The person with the highest total wings the round.
Practise coordinate skills with this simplified version of ‘battleships’.
The game is designed for two players.
Create four 6 x 6 grids – two for each player.
One grid is to record the ‘hits’ on your opponent, the other is to place your alien transport.
Plot out your craft on your ‘transport’ grid, allowing the following number of squares for each type of craft. Make sure your opponent can’t see this:
- Space Buggy 1
- Flying Saucer 2
- Space Module 3
- Star Ship 4
Take it in turns to call out a coordinate, e.g. B5, E4, etc.
If you hit one of your opponent’s craft, you get another turn.
The winner is the person who hits all their opponents craft first.
Words within Words
You can play this game with any long words.
Using the letters from the long word you have chosen, see who can make the most other words. Letters can only be repeated in the small words if there is more than one in the long word. For example:
…you can probably find lots more!
Start a word chain using nouns. Each word has to start with the final letter of the previous word. For example:
To make it harder, you can choose a theme for your word chain, e.g. animals or types of food.
Any of the following activities can help to build non-verbal reasoning skills:
- spot the difference games
- puzzle cubes
- memory game (a card game in which the object is to pair up cards bearing the same pictures / symbols by memorising where they are on the table).
There are many words in the English language that sound the same or similar, but are spelt differently and have different meanings. The selection below shoes some of the words that are most commonly confused.
To agree to take something.
Example: Sarah accepted the surprise gift.
Example: All the parts of the model were there except for the legs.
A suggestion about how to do something.
Example: Andy was not happy with the advice Dad had given him.
To suggest something.
Example: I advise you not to do it!
The past tense of the verb 'to allow'.
Example: I was allowed to stay up late.
When a thought is spoken.
Example: Jenny was reading aloud to her brother.
Something eaten for breakfast.
Example: Tammy ate a large bowl of cereal.
A long-running programme; a series of events.
Example: The popular serial won 10 awards at the ceremony.
Example: The sandpaper was very coarse.
A study programme, part of a meal.
Example: Anwar signed up for the maths revision course.
A dry, sandy landscape.
Example: They rode camels across the desert.
Example: We ate chocolate cake for dessert!
The noun to describe animal or human hair.
Example: He brushed his hair.
The noun to describe a large rabbit-like animal.
Example: The hare ran across the field.
Short for ‘it is’
Example: It’s a long way home.
Belonging to it – no apostrophe!
Example: She stroked its head.
Unfastened or released.
Example: He opened the box to let the bird loose.
To mislay something.
Example: They knew it was precious and didn’t want to lose it.
The ability to see.
Example: Anne’s new glasses improved her sight.
A location or place.
Example: It was an excellent site for their tent!
Belonging to them.
Example: They read their books.
Belonging to them (it is theirs) – no apostrophe!
Example: The books were theirs.
Example: He sat over there.
Short for ‘there is’.
Example: There’s a fly in my soup!
Short for ‘they are’.
Example: They’re reading aloud.
The start of a verb.
Example: To jump.
Also or excessive.
Example: They came along too. There were too many rabbits.
The number 2.
Example: There were two elephants.
Example: Bad weather was expected.
Introducing an alternative.
Example: I didn’t know whether to buy a chocolate bar or an ice-cream.
To put clothing on.
Example: Can I wear your scarf?
Short for ‘we are’.
Example: We’re going on holiday to Spain.
The past tense of ‘to be’.
Example: Ahmed and Jamil were reading the newspaper.
The location of something.
Example: Where did I put my MP3 player?
Short for ‘who is’.
Example: Who’s sleeping in my bed?
Belonging to ‘whom’.
Example: Whose book is this?
Here are some number facts that your child might find useful in the 11+ Tests.
Factors of Numbers to 100
The number 1 and the number itself have been omitted from the list. Numbers greater than 1 that are not featured are prime numbers.