The Big Word Factory

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Developed by:mixtvision Digital GmbH & Co. KG


Ages 5-8

We love this app for its poetic and playful exploration of language, and the real emotions behind a fantastic, imaginary world and story.

Get Ready

Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities:

  1. Storytime.The Big Word Factory explores words and language in a way reminiscent of poetry. Each word is valuable. The words people use might not be in complete sentences. And so on. Share some poems with your child so that they might see this similarity, as well. Good options include: Talking Like the Rain, Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems, and Make a Joyful Sound.  
  2. Title Talk.The story app has a different name than the published picture book the app is adapted from. The app, as you now know, is called The Big Word Factory, while the English translation of the book is entitled Phileas’s Fortune: A Story about Self-Expression. In the picture book, the characters’ names are Philea and Cybele rather than Paul and Marie. Tell your child the two titles. Ask them how each one changes (if it does at all) their expectation of what the story is about. When you have finished using the app, revisit this discussion. Why does your child think they changed the title and character names? Would the story feel any different if Paul and Marie were still named Phileas and Cybele? Why or why not?

Dive In

Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities:

  1. Get Wordy.The Big Word Factory includes a slew of fun word-related activities and games. Encourage your child to spend time with each one, and learn some new words while doing so. For example, when words are clicked and spoken aloud, have your child repeat them. On the second page or scene when they tap on the various word signs, “Funny Words,” “Greetings,” “Obsolete Words,” etc., your child can write down words they do not know. Later they can look up the meaning and practice using the words. Perhaps “brabble” and “victuals” will no longer be obsolete in your household! Or add to the lists with your own words. When the factory workers create words and have to sort them into the three language bins, urge your child to listen to each word spoken and see if they can recognize patterns in the sounds of the languages they are not familiar with. Do they notice any similarities between different languages? When your child reassembles words from the garbage, ask them to think about why they think someone might have thrown those particular words out. When words go on sale, can they suggest other words that might be on sale? Words that do not have much “use?”
  2. Imagine.Tell your child to imagine they lived in the same land as Paul and Marie. What words would they hope to buy or catch? Why? What words would they miss being able to say anytime they want to? Are there any words they would not mind living without? What words would they hope someone would share with them?
  3. Connect.Paul feels anxious about what he has to say to Marie, and what her reaction will be. Ask your child if they have ever felt nervous about a situation or unconfident in themselves. What happened? What was the outcome? How could they boost their confidence in the future?

Branch Out

Extend the app experience with a real life activity:

  1. Create Meaning.Write out a big list of words, using a mix of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Then cut them up and put them in a bowl. You can also make photocopies of a page or two from a favorite children’s book (wordy picture books and chapter books are both great options) and then cut the words out from the copies. Once the words are mixed up in a bowl, tell your child to pick five words. Now tell them to create meaning with those five words. Remind them that the words do not have to form a complete sentence. They can be more like a poem. Your child also can choose not to use all five words. Do the activity at the same time as your child and share your phrases with each other when you finish. Repeat as desired, and have fun!
  2. Act.In the story, Marie cannot express herself with spoken language to Paul, because she has no words. In this instance, as in many in life, actions speak louder than words. Talk to your child about this expression, “actions speak louder than words.” What does it mean to them? What is something they could do that would be meaningful to someone else? Remind them it does not have to be a grand gesture, such as Marie’s kiss. It can be something small, too, like cleaning their room without being told (and without telling you repeatedly first that they will!) or setting the table. They could surprise a grandparent with a visit or help make and bring a meal or treat over to a friend who has recently lost a loved one or pet. Urge them to act on one of their ideas.
  3. Pantomime.Encourage your child to pick a favorite story and act it out…silently! They cannot use any words, and have to mime the scenes. They could also modify this and choose one or two words only to use during their performance. How is acting this way different than acting with a script to read from or lines that they speak? What must they do instead to communicate meaning to their audience? Facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language suddenly take on a whole new level of importance!