In addition to reading games and crafts, an intrinsic way for children to develop vocabulary skills is by reading a wide variety of books, novels, magazines, and even newspapers for children. Children should be exposed to a variety of types and styles of reading and not just one genre or author. Here is a list of a variety of genres for elementary aged children.
In addition, here is a reading pyramid of skills that your child should be mastering at each grade level as they are reading. This includes vocabulary as well as print awareness, phonics, and reading comprehension. You can incorporate these skills if you are reading to them and if they are reading independently. You should engage them in conversation about the book they are reading based on these skills and if you see them having difficulty responding, then go back into the book together and try to work together to build the skills in the areas where they may be struggling.
Here is a list of picture books appropriate for children ages 2-8 for vocabulary development. I strongly suggest the Patricia Pollaco books as they provide a wide variety of experiences, appealing illustrations, and are well written. The concepts in these books are appropriate for both younger and older readers.
For older children, Amazon has put together a list of chapter books that are good for helping children to build their vocabulary. I especially enjoyed reading The Tale of Despereaux and The Chronicles of Narnia. Both provide very descriptive language that will transport your child into the story while providing them with a challenging set of vocabulary.
The best newspaper for children is Time for Kids. This “newspaper” provides children with articles about current trends and topics in America, but it is written at a level for children to understand. It provides a meaningful way for them to expand their vocabulary using new media. Here is the top list of children’s magazines. I remember loving Ranger Rick as a child and how much it taught me about nature and animals. It expanded my vocabulary by introducing non-fiction topics. Using a variety of resources exposes children to new ideas and vocabulary that they may not cover in the classroom.