Your child learns about plural nouns in school -- and you can reinforce the lessons at home. Kindergarten students typically form regular plural nouns orally by adding “s” and “es” to words like boy and church. By the end of second grade, they should also know how to form irregular plurals, such as teeth and mice. When you play games and use entertaining activities that include plural nouns, they will likely soon become second nature to your child.
Print out a variety of pictures from clip art or computer images and ask your child to sort them into two piles, singular and plural, suggests Brynn Turkish, a second-grade teacher at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School in New York. Your child can then label each image with the name of the noun. Offering colorful pens and label-makers to do this can help encourage participation.
If you have a group of participants, such as family or friends, you can also play a game of bingo to encourage the use of plurals. You can find and download bingo cards, which have plural nouns in place of traditional numbers, on the Internet. Write the singular form of the nouns on strips of paper and put them in a container. Pull a strip out and read the word aloud. Participants must then place a marker on the matching plural. For example, if the caller says, “wolf,” the participants cover the word “wolves.” The winner is the first person to cover a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line.
Cut pictures of places, persons or things from old magazines or newspapers and have your child glue them into a notebook, writing the name of the singular or plural noun. For example, she might paste a picture of one lemon and write the singular form, “lemon,” and then paste a basket of lemons and write the plural form, “lemons.” Make sure that while some nouns have regular plural forms, like "lemon" and "lemons," others have irregular plural forms, such as "man" and "men."
Create a set of cards for a plural-noun memory game. Make matching pairs, whereby one card has a singular noun and another has the plural form of the word. Spread the cards face down on a table. Have the players take turns turning over two cards, trying to find a singular and plural word-match. They should pick up their matches -- and turn cards back over that don’t match. The player with the most matches wins.
Kids typically love going online, so turn that experience into something educational. There are plenty of games online in which a player has to recognize or write the plural form of a noun. The Appleton Area School District in Wisconsin posts a collection of plural-noun game links on their website.
Fill in the Blanks
Another idea is to help your kids learn plural nouns is to rewrite a short story or book, leaving blank spaces in place of the nouns. Depending on your child’s ability level, have him name or write singular and plural nouns in the blanks to plug into the story. Read your creation together and share it with friends or family members.
If your child is having difficulty with particular plurals, such as irregulars, try using letter boxes to help him out. Write a list of nouns in singular form. After each noun, make enough boxes for the plural form to fit in exactly. For example, make six boxes for “babies” after the word, “baby,” and five boxes for “geese” after the word, “goose.” When your child finishes writing the plurals, put a happy face next to each correct answer, and then discuss and have her rewrite those that she missed.
Karen LoBello is coauthor of “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition.” She began writing in 2009, following a career as a Nevada teacher. LoBello holds a bachelor's degree in K-8 education, a secondary degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in computer education.