What are directions? (spoken or written instructions or demands of what must be done in order to reach some objective)
What are instructions? (spoken or written statements to perform an operation)
What are the similarities between directions and instructions? (they are very close synonym, and both have multiple meanings in other contexts)
What are the differences between directions and instructions? (directions are when you are directed or directing, and instructions are being instructed or instructing someone to do something – instruction is often associated with teaching, directions are often associated with location)
Why are directions and instructions important? (to maintain order, & structure; to accomplish tasks more effectively and efficiently)
Discuss directions that we have to follow everyday, whether they be directions in traffic (e.g. signs, lights, street names, etc.), laws we abide by as a society (e.g. don’t steal, pay taxes, etc.), or even family rules (e.g. don’t talk to strangers, brush your teeth twice a day, etc.). Talk about what happens (the consequences) if you don’t follow directions – what the possible outcomes are (e.g. getting lost, confused, disoriented, etc.). Sure, you might skip to the end at times, but what about the process? Furthermore, chat about how to improve directions through clarity and detail.
If your child has or has played video games, ask them to show you how to play… In every game, there is usually some kind of initial visual and/ or verbal directions of how to use the controls. Can they add hints, tricks, or details to those directions? Furthermore, reading manuals or online game guides for video games will tell you specific directions for passing certain levels, etc. If your child hasn’t already looked at these, have them read one and summarize its contents for you, so you can apply it to your gaming experience.
As you may have noticed in many manuals for assembling products, pictures are often used to bridge the language barriers. Have your child draw pictorial (and write matching text) step-by-step directions for a favorite activity of theirs. Examples: throwing a fast ball, playing a specific video game, making a sandwich, braiding hair, etc.
With a map, give your child a starting place/ point, and have an ending point in your mind. Give them directions to that place, having them follow each step-by-step direction (e.g. turn left on Sutter, go past Overland, etc.). See if they made it to the “final destination”! Using this as a model, tell your child to do the same thing, but now they practice giving the specific directions. See if you can make it to their endpoint!
If you have a pet or other child in the family, this is an ideal situation for this tip. Have your child practice giving specific directions to another living thing, which is a challenge in itself. Help them teach the dog, bird, or cat a new trick (e.g. sit, lay, speak, shake, play dead, roll over, jump, fetch, etc.) or a younger sibling how to do something new (e.g. turn on the television, chew with their mouth closed, brush their teeth, etc.).