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Language - Grammar
Verb icon.jpg
Age5.5 +
Materialsred ball
writing tray (pencil, red, pencil, paper slips, scissors)
Grammar Symbol set

In this activity the child is introduced to the concept of verbs.


Actions with a Ball

Could be done with a few children together.

  1. Take the material to a mat or table.
  2. Set the ball in the center of the space.
    "What is this?" ("A ball.")
    Verb 1.jpg
  3. "Right, it's a ball. Since there's only one here, I'm going to write the ball for its label."
    Write 'the ball' on a slip of paper.
    Place the label under the ball.
    Verb 2.jpg
  4. "'Ball' is the name of the object. Do you remember what we call naming words?" ("Nouns.")
    "Let's get the noun symbol."
    Verb 3.jpg
  5. Point to the word 'the'. "What about this word?" ("It's an article.")
    "Let's get the article symbol for it."
    Verb 4.jpg
  6. "Today we're going to talk about another type of word."
    Get a slip of paper and a red pencil ready.
  7. "What's something you can do with a ball?" ("Throw it!")
  8. Write down the word 'throw' (or whatever action word the child said) in red.
    Verb 5.jpg
  9. Hand the child the slip of paper.
    "Where should this word go?"
  10. The child should place the word before 'the ball'.
    Read the words together: "Throw the ball."
    Verb 6.jpg
  11. "What else can you do with the ball?" ("Spin it." "Roll it." Kick it." etc.)
    (The child may act out these actions with the ball as they are suggested.)
    Write down the words as the child says them, and put them in a column under the first one that was said.
    Swap out these words to complete the sentence: "Spin the ball." "Roll the ball." etc.
    Verb 7.jpg
  12. Point to the column of words, "These are all action words. They're called verbs."
    Verb 8.jpg
  13. "Here is the symbol for verbs." Take out the red circle and place it over the verb.
    Verb 9.jpg
  14. "What are action words called?" ("Verbs!")
  15. Put the ball and the labels in basket for the child to take out independently later if they wish.
    Verb 10.jpg
  16. Put the material away.

Actions the Child Does Independently

If the child shows interest, you can do this section right after the first part. Otherwise, save it for another day.

  1. "How about some actions you can do on your own without the ball."
  2. Write 'the child' (or 'the girl' or 'the boy' or 'the kid') on a slip of paper.
  3. "What is an actions you can do?" ("Jump!")
    Write down the verb in red on a slip of paper. Be sure to put it in a format that fits in the sentence: jumps.
  4. Hand the child the slip of paper with the word.
    "Where does this word go?"
  5. The child should place the word after 'the child' on the mat.
  6. Read the sentence out loud, "The child jumps."
    "Can you jump?"
    The child may demonstrate the action.
  7. "What are some more actions you can do?"
    ("Skip!" "Sit!" "Wave!" etc.)
  8. Write these words down on slips of paper and line them up in a column with the first verb.
    Swap out the verb to change the sentence and have the child act them out.
  9. "Let's get the grammar symbols and show what the different types of words are that we have."

Points of Interest

Control of Error

Variations and Extensions


Make Your Own

Free printable Grammar Symbols (black outlines, print on the appropriate color of cardstock and cut out):

Grammar symbols could be cut out of card-stock, craft foam, or plastic (maybe from plastic lids).


Where to Buy

Prices and links checked: 23 January 2022

Basic Grammar Symbols Box
Store Price
Adena $20.92
Affordable Montessori $39.00
Alison's $27.56
Alison's $54.60
Alison's $46.00
Bruins $85.00
E & O $35.10
ETC Montessori
no box?
IFIT $23.00
Kid Advance $22.99
Leader Joy $24.95
Materials Co. of Boston
Materials Co. of Boston $65.00
Materials Co. of Boston $75.00
Montessori Concepts $25.00
Montessori Outlet
no box
 Montessori Outlet
box only
Thinkamajigs $32.95
Waseca $70.00
Basic & Advanced Grammar Symbol Set
Store Price
Alison's $46.00
Box for Both Sets
Store Price
Montessori Outlet $15.95
Nienhuis $57.75
Advanced Grammar Symbols only
Store Price
Adena $17.92
ETC Montessori
no box?
Materials Co. of Boston $40.00
Montessori Outlet $7.95
Grammar Symbols Stencil
Store Price
Affordable Montessori
for 2
for 5 large
for 5 small
for 2
ETC Montessori $8.10
Mandala $10.00
Montessori Outlet $3.95
Nienhuis $8.10
Waseca $5.00
Grammar Symbols Stamps
Store Price
Alison's $29.95
Great Extensions $55.00
3D Basic Grammar Symbols
Store Price
Adena $20.92
Alison's $37.48
Bruins $90.00
E & O $120.60
IFIT $28.00
Kid Advance $65.99
Leader Joy
no base
Leader Joy $34.95
Materials Co. of Boston
no base
Montessori Concepts $38.00
Montessori Outlet
no base
 Montessori Outlet
base only
Montessori Outlet $57.95
Nienhuis $183.90
Thinkamajigs $45.95
3D Noun and Verb
Store Price
Adena $10.92
Affordable Montessori $17.00
Alison's $16.53
Bruins $40.00
E & O $15.30
Kid Advance $11.99
Leader Joy $15.95
Materials Co. of Boston $48.00
Montessori Concepts $13.00
Montessori Outlet $13.95
Noun only
Verb only
Thinkamajigs $17.95

Further Reading