Activity Idea: Design A New Language… and then some

My kiddos have been talking in their own “language” for a while now.  It’s not really a formal language, just jibber jabber that they say they understand and will periodically translate for us.  Which at times can be hysterical.  But why not have them formalize it? 

How to Start: Talk with your kiddos about language.  What makes up a spoken language?  A written one?  If they are not reading/writing yet, they can still develop symbols for sounds.  If they are older, then can design letters that match our alphabet, or even make-up unique letters that represents sounds that occur only in their language.  Have them record their written alphabet and include explanations of pronunciation.

What to do next: See how far they can go.  After coming up with an alphabet, design a sentence structure.  Have them write a story in their own language.  Better yet, have them design a whole culture.  Use the following guiding questions, or come up with your own:  Is it an ancient or current culture?  If they are an ancient culture, when did they exist and why do they no longer exist? What traditions are associated with the culture?  Do they have their own unique religion(s)?  What great inventions and scientific advancements are they responsible for?  What type of environment do they live in?  Do they have a flag?  How are they governed?  What does their artwork look like and was it influenced by other cultures?  What foods do they eat?  There are so many directions they can go with this!!

What we found: We are currently finalizing the language and practicing writing.  My kiddo even made a flip-chart describing the language, letters and words, to use as a quick reference.  Our plan this week is to develop a culture, starting with holidays (why didn’t I think of that?!?!).

Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?

  • Science: Use the location of the culture to investigate different habitats/biomes. 
  • Technology: What technological is your culture responsible for?  Consider where they are located to determine societal needs.
  • Engineering: What does the architecture of your culture look like?  How has it evolved? How do they build?  What materials are used?
  • Arts: Design a flag.  Design samples of artwork that use common themes of the cultural.
  • Math: Are there patterns in their artwork and architecture?  What are they and how are they created? 

STEAM Resources:


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