Using Lists as a Teaching Tool

I am constantly bombarded by busy parents complaining that they never have enough time to sit down and help their kids with whatever they are struggling with at school.  Out of all the activities you can do with your kids, I have chosen making lists as one of the easiest to do.  Below are ways in which you can use lists as a teaching and learning opportunity:

Make lists.  Making lists is easy because you dont have to write in sentences, and you can choose the number of items on the list.


  1. If your child needs to improve vocabulary, ask her to make a list of words she could use instead of “nice” or “big” or “said”.

  2. List 10 questions you would ask your favourite cartoon character/TV personality/pop star.

  3. List the top 5 things you would take with you if you went to live on your own on the other side of the world.

  4. List words belonging to the same “family”.  For example list words with “igh” or “ea” or “tion” in them.

  5. Read a book and list the first ten nouns/verbs/adjectives/adverbs that you come across.


  1. Make a list of all the objects in the house which are cylinders, or cubes or spheres.

  2. Collect 10 random items from around the house, weigh each one using electric kitchen scales and list them in order of weight.

  3. Grab a handful of coins and make up 10 different combinations of the coins.  Add them up.  List the coins you add up and the answer.  You might need to vary the coins here depending on the child’s age.  The simplest combination is to use only 1p and 10p coins.


  1. List all the items in the house that are made of cotton, or list all the different types of materials things can be made of.

  2. List fruits and vegetables that grow only tropical climates.

  3. Write down all the things you find in the house which are neither pure solid, liquid or gas.  (you will need to explain what these could be, for example, gels, foams, emulsions, pastes).


  1. How many capital cities do you know, how many rivers do you know, how many mountain ranges or mountains do you know the names of.

  2. Name as many people as you can in your extended family.

  3. List names of famous scientists, famous artists, famous composers, famous writers, famous inventors etc.

  4. Find and list the top 3 news stories of the day on the internet.

  5. Take a walk and list the different types of houses and buildings that you come across.

The lists are endless and it’s up to you which topic you choose, how difficult you make it and how many items you want in the list.   You can even make mental lists whilst on long car journeys.  Lists can be useful for revision and general organisation purposes as well.  Sit down together and make a list of chores your teen has to do, or organise a revision timetable in the form of a list.  Teach your child how to use lists as a means of checking their work or targets.

The list of things you can do with lists are endless.

2 comments on “Using Lists as a Teaching Tool

  1. Great idea.
    We are always on the look out for ways of making learning fun for our 3 year old.

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. Pingback: Helping Reluctant Writers | Kip McGrath Luton Tutor's Blog

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