What are collective nouns?
Collective nouns are special names for groups of people, places, or things. These names describe a group as if it were a single entity. They are often used to describe groups of animals, but can be used for other things as well. Some examples of collective nouns include: “herd of elephants”, “bunch of bananas”, “forest of trees”, “deck of cards”, and “bowl of rice”.
Learning Activity: Fill in the Blank
One fun way to help your child understand collective nouns is to do a fill in the blank activity. Write or read phrases that include a blank, and have your child fill in the blank with a collective noun. For example:
- An ___ of soldiers
- A ___ of singers
- A ___ of soccer players
The answers would be: “army”, “choir”, and “team”.
Learning Activity: Guess the Collective Noun
Another fun learning activity is to play a guessing game with your child. Give them descriptions of groups and have them guess the collective noun. For example:
- A group of students
- A group that has a singer, drummer, and guitarist
- A group of animals that hunt zebras
The answers might be: “class”, “band”, and “pride”.
Collective Nouns and Animals
Collective nouns are commonly used when describing specific groups of animals. Some common examples include:
- Lions: prides
- Monkeys: barrels
- Giraffes: a journey
- Sheep: a flock
- Crows: a murder
- Cattle: a herd
Learning Activity: Research Collective Nouns
Challenge your child to see how many collective nouns for animals they can think of. Then, have them research the rest. This can be a fun and educational activity.
Singular or Plural
It’s important to note that collective nouns can be singular or plural. For example, “a jug of honey” and “jars of honey” are both collective nouns, but one is singular and the other is plural. Keep in mind, just because a noun is plural does not mean it’s a collective noun. It must describe a group contained in a singular object or collection.
Learning Activity: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down
Finally, play a game to see if your child understands the difference between collective nouns and regular plural nouns. Read out nouns and have your child give a thumbs up if it’s a collective noun and a thumbs down if it’s not. For example:
- Puppies: litter of puppies (thumbs up)
- Paper: stack of paper (thumbs up)
- Boxes of crayons (thumbs down)
- Playground: crowd of people (thumbs up)
- Balls of yarn (thumbs down)
- String: string of lights (thumbs up)
By doing these activities, your child will have a better understanding of collective nouns and be able to use them in their writing and speaking. Collective nouns are a fun and interesting aspect of language, and these activities can make learning about them enjoyable and interactive for students.