How to Teach Kids a Foreign Language with Activities
There are fun and engaging activities that promote language learning with children. On English Language Day, we share how to teach kids a foreign language with activities.
Speaking a foreign language is such a valuable skill. People who speak more than one language can strive both professionally and personally. This is why children should start learning a language other than their native, in the earliest stages of their childhood. Plus, when they’re younger, they have the power to acquire a language faster and more easily than in the later years.
1. Memory Games
Memory games are kids’ favorite, especially when played in larger groups. And, they’re brilliant for language learning as well.
Here’s a fun memory game for a group of children in a class or a birthday party:
- everyone sits in a circle
- you decide on a topic e.g. grocery shopping
- the first person to start says: ”I need to buy eggs.”
- the next person repeats this grocery and adds one more ”I need to buy eggs and ice cream.”
This continues around the circle, with everyone adding one grocery item to the list. In case someone is unfamiliar with the vocabulary used, the game can pause for the teacher or parent to explain the meaning.
2. Picture Storytelling
Kids have a wild imagination. Use it to make language learning productive and fun through picture storytelling.
All you need is a couple of pictures or illustrations to show the kids. Then, ask them to come up with a story behind the pictures.
For instance, give them a portrait of an old man looking at the sky and have them invent his life story. It’s fun, creative, and will boost their language learning process.
They’ll enjoy this writing assignment. Who knows, it might inspire them to become professional writers working for an online dissertation writing service, like the ones I use to type my essay.
3. Body Numbers
If you’re looking for a simple beginner’s activity for kids, this may be the perfect match. Most kids enjoy activities that are designed for kinesthetic learning.
For this activity, have kids work in small groups of three or four. Go over the numbers you want to learn- first verbally or in writing. Then, start the activity:
- say a number the kids are in the process of learning
- have them shape this number using their bodies
- assign a point to a group that did the best job or was the fastest to succeed
This activity involves physical effort, teamwork, and competitiveness which is everything the kids love. You can do the same with other types of vocabulary, and have them put together a house, a cloud, or a horse!
4. Touch Game
Touch is an icebreaker game for shy learners who need a bit more time to relax when speaking a foreign language.
The game is simple. The teacher or the activity facilitator gives commands. The command is for the student to find and touch something of a certain characteristic. Here’s a couple of examples:
- Touch something rusty.
- Touch something cold.
- Touch something made of wood.
Students need to look for the nearest object with such characteristics and touch it. Plus, if they’re not sure what the command means, they can look around and see what the others are touching.
5. Finding Something in Common
This language learning activity is great for bringing the kids closer together and encouraging them to be friends.
The goal of the game is for the kids to learn about each other. Here’s how it works:
- write down some questions on the blackboard or a piece of paper
- have everyone answer those questions individually, in writing
- have the students walk around the classroom, comparing answers, and finding something in common
The questions can vary from simple like ‘‘What’s your favorite color” to more complex like ‘‘What was your favorite summer vacation?”. It’s great for building writing and speaking skills in kids. They’ll practice simple conversations in the foreign language and even improvise while talking to each other.
6. The Hat Game
This is a truly fun game that kids love playing. All it takes is as many different hats as you can find. Give each kid one of the hats and ask them to act like the person that’s most likely to be wearing such a hat.
For instance, a student puts on a shabby old winter hat. So, they start acting like an old lady walking slowly on a cold winter day, saying: “Back in my days, winters used to be way worse! “.
Learning language through fun games and activities is a great idea. You can teach kids a foreign language using the activities listed above and ensure they’re all participating and enjoying.
Choose your favorite activity and give it a shot today!
About the author: Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at Valuablewriters. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.