We’re excited to welcome language learning mom Rashawnda back to our blog. She provides us with some fun, family friendly games and activities that can make learning another language seamless (and exciting). Be sure to also comment and share what games you use to keep your child engaged!
Looking for ways to help build your child’s fluency and knowledge of words? As a part of learning a new language, check out these cool games below you can play with your child or a group of kiddos. They’ll help make learning a new language fun and engaging, and the bonus is that many of these things you’ll have on hand or are free in
1. Learning Colors, Shapes, or Animals
Supplies Needed (for each box you make)
A face tissue cube tissue box (not the larger ones)
6 pictures of the shapes, colors, or animals with the target language written under the word
Index cards (3” x 5”)
construction paper or paper bag
(To increase durability, use plastic badge holders or vinyl envelope along with a stronger adhesive)
Once you decorate the box with paper and taped the sides, glue a picture on each side of the cube. Make sure the picture is secured to each side.
Now roll the block on a flat, indoor surface and look at the picture.
Find something in the room or book that matches what you’ve found. For instance if the card shows something verde, you have to find something that is green and put the item in a group.
For the reusable one, glue pictures to index cards. Slide index card into each slot. Follow the directions above.
2. Father/Mother/Teacher May I?
Supplies needed: your body and at least two people
This simple game may help your kid learn how to ask questions. Have the leader stand at one end and the players at the other one. They can take turns asking questions such as, “¿Madre puedo caminar cinco pasos? Then have the leader Things they can do include bailar (dance), saltar (hop), correr (run), caminar (walk) etc. You can do this in any language, and it’s fun to do. The first one to reach the leader becomes the new leader, and the game starts again.
3. Swat that Fly!
Fly swatter (1 or 2)
Index cards with target words on them OR white board and dry erase marker (also chalk and chalkboard will do)
Painter’s tape or masking tape (optional)
Write the target words in a grid-like format. I’d start with a small one depending on their age and fluency level, such as 2×2 and 3 x 2. Make it bigger as they learn more words.
Call out the words in the native language. Each player has to swat the correct word. The first one gets the point. Set a timer to see who gets the most correct, or the first to get a certain number correct (e.g. 10) wins. This works well as a team game as well.
If you’re using index cards, use tape on the back to keep them from moving around and put them on a flat surface (e.g. table, floor, wall). Follow the rest of the instructions above.
4. Say What?
Old juice boxes, rectangular baby food containers with lids, or old rectangular wooden blocks (cleaned and dried)
Washi tape or decorative duct tape
Labels to fit on the side of the boxes and thin permanent markers OR dry-erase tape (1” in width) with thin dry-erase markers
Sample sentences, numbers, phrases
Wrap boxes/containers/blocks in washi or duct tape. Put labels on each side or cut the dry erase tape to match the sides. You can use this in several ways.
Numbers: Write the numbers your child needs to learn or review on each block. Start 1 – 10, by 10s, or by unit (e.g. ones, tens, hundreds, thousands). Have students order or stack them from smallest to largest. Try not to do too many, as they’ll fall off.
Sentences: Write a sentence, putting each word on a block. Scramble it up and then either have a copy of the sentence (for beginners)
5. Catch It!
Supplies Needed: Beach ball (larger works better, but it should be able to be held by your child)
This game is great for larger groups, but you can play if it’s just your kiddo and you too!
Write words, numbers or common questions on the ball. For words and numbers, you can write them at will, and for questions, put one or two per section. Let the ink dry. Then make a circle and gently toss it around. You can add music to it similar to musical chairs or just toss it between the players. As you toss the ball, call out a hand. Have the child repeat to you in the target language the answer or respond to the question in the target language. You could reverse it and put the target language words on the ball and have your child recall it in their native tongue.
There! I hope these simple games will get you having fun and learning with the kids as a part of the language learning journey. They may be a great way to end a lesson or a brain break during a lesson. Feel free to use these ideas however you wish!