How to Teach Children Verbs & Adjectives

Updated April 17, 2017

Verbs and adjectives are important elements of language and grammar. They, along with nouns, pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections, form the eight parts of speech taught in elementary education. Still, students may become bored when learning about these parts of speech. Incorporating word games and activities keeps students actively engaged in the lesson while effectively teaching about verbs and adjectives.

Explain the definition of a verb to students. Tell them that verbs are the part of speech used to show action or indicate a state or condition. Discuss the use of past and present tense. Go over words that can be changed from present to past by adding "-ed" ("dance-danced") and those that can't ("run-ran," "go-went," "do-did," and so forth).

Discuss with children the difference between the two types of verbs: action verbs and helping verbs. Explain that action verbs ("run," "jump," "laugh") show action. Allow children to "act out" these verbs to emphasise the action taking place. Helping verbs ("is," "are," "be," "have," "do," "can," "must") help express action. Describe how helping verbs are sometimes paired with action verbs ("is running," "can jump," "must laugh," and so forth).

Explain the definition of an adjective to the children. Tell them that an adjective is used to describe a noun or pronoun (a person, place or thing). Also, explain that adjectives typically precede the noun or pronoun in the sentence (the "big, black" cat, the "small" boat, "five golden" rings).

Provide children with printable worksheets with numbered sentences. Have children identify the verbs and adjectives in the sentences. Advise students to pay close attention when identifying helping verbs. Helping verbs are sometimes overlooked when they are used with action verbs.

Read "Mad Libs" books with children. These interactive books allow the children to fill in nouns, verbs and adjectives to create a funny story. Read the story silently to yourself. When the story calls for a noun, verb or adjective, ask the children for suggestions. Write whatever the children say in the blanks. Read the story aloud once all the blanks have been filled.

Things You'll Need

  • Printable verb worksheets
  • Mad Libs books
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About the Author

Drew Woods is a native of Milwaukee, Wis. who has written articles for the international basketball website USbasket. He holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Bethel University and has been writing professionally for various websites since 2009.