Monday, July 23, 2018

Foreign Language Teaching Games for Kids

Foreign Language Teaching Games for Kids
Teaching a Foreign Language to a child is a challenge - especially if you're not living immersed in that language. Immersion teaching is often touted as the ideal, and these games offer some of the immersion benefits - without the plane ticket. 

Here are some games that we have enjoyed as part of our Foreign Language studies. We alternate between make believe games and board games. In any board game, you can practice words like "Your turn" and "My turn," "I win!" and "Ten spaces." In any make believe game you can practice greetings and small talk "Good morning!" "Isn't it a lovely day?" and "This is my brother, Aristotle." For beginners, you can do the talking, and have them simply perform what you're requesting - for instance, you say, "May I have a cup of tea?" - and the child pretends to pour tea.

Playing one of these games occasionally helps make your language learning more fun, while at the same time giving practice in actually forming sentences and making conversation.

Look these over, and see if some will work for your students : )

Teddy Bear Tea Party -  (make believe) Pull out the toy tea set and the teddy bears or dolls. Practice such things as greetings and making introductions, and social niceties. Practice, "Sugar, please" and "Would you like a cookie?" and "More tea?" 

Bingo - this is a great way to practice saying and recognizing numbers from 0-99. Make sure the kids get turns both to call numbers and to fill in cards.

Grocery Store  - (make believe) set up a small area with items that you're learning. Have one child play storekeeper and another play customer (obviously, if you have a only child, you're going to get to play a part!). Each player gets to practice greetings, asking for items by name, saying "Here you are" , "How much is. . . " and "Do you have. . . ?" Also they can practice money terminology ("That will be two Euros" "Here's your change"). We have even played this one bilingually (with one English learner and one Foreign language learner playing together - so the children are practicing each other's language : ) As children get more proficient, they might enjoy doing the actual family grocery shopping in the target language, as you tell them things like "three red tomatoes, please" and they pick them out and put them in the basket. This is even more appealing when you tend to yield to the occasional request for a treat - it it's done in the target language ; )

Candy Land - Perfect way to practice color names! Simply make a rule that you have to name your color before you can move to the color you drew.

Real Estate Lady/Man - (Make Believe) Child gets to give a tour of the house to a perspective buyer, naming each room and describing how lovely it is and saying things like, "Don't you love this Fuchsia color?" 

Dolls- This is a perfect way to practice family relationship terms, "Daddy's home!" "Mommy, lets go to the grocery store!" and "I need to go to the potty!" etc. 

Restaurant - Take orders, read menus, complain about the food ; )

Flash Card War - Make flash cards of difficult vocabulary words, with the English (or First language) on the reverse. Each person takes a turn saying the English for the Foreign word as their turn comes. The right answer wins the card, the wrong answer loses the card. Whoever gets the most cards wins. You can also play with the English word up, and say the Foreign word for the answer. When my daughter and I are learning the same words, we play together. If your students are not matched for ability, they can each play their own stack, and compete for the highest number right on their own level.

Charades - A friend who teaches foreign languages told me that she plays vocabulary charades (pantomime) with her students to help them study their words. An improvised "Pictionary" or "Win Lose or Draw" would also be great.

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