9 Great Games for Learning Languages that Can Be Adapted to Your Target Language

Let Us Introduce You To Some Great Games for Learning Languages …

As we mentioned in one of our previous posts, playing games is a great way for children to learn a new language. Almost any game is ideal for this purpose, so long as the target language is used. To make it easy for you, we have come up with some great games that can be adapted to your target language so that you and your children have lots of fun together while learning languages!

Of course, these are just suggestions on how to play these games. You can always change the rules or ways of playing to suit them to your needs, as every child learns in a different way!

Word Association

A vocabulary based game is a fun way to learn new words. Word association is definitely a fun game to practise our language skills. The idea is that one of you thinks of a word and then says it out loud. The next person has to say whatever comes to their mind when hearing that word (in the target language, of course!) and then the next person does the same and so on.

What’s great about this game is that you have to think really fast, as the point is to say the first thing that comes into your mind. This helps develop quick-thinking which is really important when learning to speak a new language. It will definitely be entertaining, fun and educational. You may be very surprised what comes out of your mouths 😉

Games for Learning Languages

Hangman!

This is a well known traditional vocabulary game and definitely useful for those learning a new language. To play, just decide who is going to be guessing and who is going to be thinking of the word.  You can have a pre-selected list of vocabulary that you want to practice if you prefer.

Participants say a letter of the alphabet. If the word contains the letter, it is written in the correct place. If the letter does not exist then you start to draw the hangman. Once the hangman is complete, the game is over. You can guess the word at any stage to win the game.
This game is perfect for learning and revising vocabulary and also for practising the alphabet in the target language.

Rhyming Words.

This game is great for passing time when the children are likely to become bored, such as during a car trip or while waiting for something. The point of the game, as the name states, is to rhyme words. To begin, one of you chooses a word in the target language, for instance: “hola” and then the next person has to find a word that begins with the last syllable (or the last letter, to make it easier), for instance: “largo”. The next person does the same and so on. It’s great because the children have to be creative and think of many words as none of the words can be repeated! It will definitely help them learn while they have lots of fun!

I Spy With My Little Eye …

This game is also really good for learning new words and practising words you have already learnt. The point of the game is that one of you will look at an object and think of it and the other has to guess what it is after you say “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…” and then say the letter of the thing you are thinking of that you have seen.

Now, most languages have their own version of what’s said to play the game and each region or country might have its own specific version. Seeing as we have been focusing on Spanish learning, we will give you Spain’s version of “I spy” named “Veo, veo”.

Veo, veo.

¿Qué ves?

Una cosita.

¿Qué cosita es?

Empieza con…

Other Spanish speaking countries use the same “dialogue” but they have small variations. For now, you can start to practise with this one and see how many words you can guess!

NOTE: For younger learners, playing I Spy Colours is a fabulous adaptation of this popular game. Instead of using letters, you say “I spy with my little eye, something the colour ….” This makes playing the game fun and easy for even the youngest language learners!

Simon Says

Simon says is a great way of practising verbs in addition to learning and practising vocabulary.

To play the game, one of you will be giving the orders and the others will have to do as they say.

The trick to the game is that you only have to do as they say if they begin the order with “Simon Says…” (or “Simon dice…” if you play in Spanish). If you do the action when they haven’t started the sentence with that, you’re out. The game continues until everyone else fails.

A good way of making the game fun and a bit faster is giving the orders really quickly so that you have to act fast. That will also help the children get used to hearing the foreign language spoken quickly and having to react to it in a fast way which will definitely help them understand people better the more they learn.

Categories

This simple game is also great for having some fun while practising vocabulary. One of the players of the game chooses a category (for instance: food) and a letter (for instance, the letter M)  and then, taking turns you have to say a word from the target language beginning with that letter and belonging to that category so, following our example if we played in Spanish: manzana, mandarina, madalena, macarrones, menta, melocotón…

This will help children practise their memory and their vocabulary in the language they are trying to learn.

Games for Learning Languages

Change “on a Picnic” for “to the Beach/Park” etc … for variations

I’m Going on a Picnic and…

This is a fantastic game, this one! It’s perfect for building vocabulary when the children are bored and want to do something to pass time. The first player begins by saying the sentence: “I’m going on a picnic (or camping, on a holiday…) and I am bringing…”.

Now, the first thing we say has to begin with the letter A, the next one with the letter B, the third with C until you complete the whole alphabet and them, you can just begin again but choosing a different “destination” so that new words come up.

If someone misses an item, they are out of the game for that round. This game is perfect for children’s concentration as well as for them to get used to using many different words from the target language in a fast and entertaining way.

If you are feeling clever and want to push yourselves, you can always make it a rule that you mention all the previous items too … this can get rather tricky though!

Point and Name.

Definitely a fun and easy way for children to learn new words. When we speak, we do it to refer to things around us, so what better way than pointing at things around you and trying to name them in the target language. This is great because every place you go to will have different objects and it can be done literally anywhere; waiting in line in the supermarket, on a car trip, in the kitchen, the sitting room, in the street …

We also use our languages to express our ideas and feelings so maybe you can try to mimic different expressions that show happiness, sadness… for your children to try and name.e.g. laughing, crying, sad, happy, tired …

This will help them name everyday objects and situations which will eventually lead to them being more confident and eventually a fluent speaker of their target language.

Memory Game/ Pairs

Memory games are definitely a MUST when it comes to playing games for the purpose of learning a language. It can be played over and over and more and more cards can be added so that it never gets repetitive or boring.

The point is to create small pairs of cards with a picture and the name of the thing itself below the picture, in the target language. You might decide to target a certain topic (for instance, you might want to create cards so that your children learn the names of animals, foods, tools…) or just have a mix of different cards for your children to play with.

Now, when playing the game, arrange the cards on a flat surface with the picture and name face down and then mix them up. Every time someone has their turn to try to find the pairs, they flip a card over they will have to say the name they read out loud, so that they start to remember those words. The aim of the game is to collect the most pairs. The game ends when there are no more cards over the surface and then, you can just play again.

NOTE: Don’t forget to sign up for our updates and discover when our Arthur Apple and Nerea Naranja Memory Cards for learning English and Spanish will be available!

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Games for Learning Languages

Halloween: Traditions and Games and Free Halloween Printables in English & Spanish

halloween in spain

Which ingredients do we need to make Pumpkin Pie?

In this post we’ll share links to some great Free Halloween Printables  in English and Spanish that you can use in your language classes. We share some fun facts about Halloween and some traditional games that you can enjoy.

Did you know …

The word “Halloween” originates from the Middle English word ‘Alholowmesse’, meaning “All Saints’ Day”. The night before that day was named “All Hallows Even” which was then shortened to “Hallowe’en” until, in the 20th century, it became as we know it today “Halloween”.

Halloween is a great time for children to have fun.

The day is celebrated in many countries all over the world, all of them having different variations of the better-known traditions such as trick or treat and apple games.

Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday after Christmas and the candy sales average around $2 billion per year in the United States, with chocolate candy bars being the number one treat.

In some parts of Mexico, instead of saying “trick or treat”, it is common to say: “¿Me da mi calaverita? (“Can you give me my little skull?”).

Halloween in Spain:

Spain’s celebrations are different all over the regions, but it is true to say that in recent years, our country’s traditions have been mixed together with the Halloween we know from the movies and the USA.

In some areas, Halloween is celebrated by decorating houses with pumpkins and spooky objects and children knock on doors along their local streets trying to get candy by dressing up and saying “truco o trato” (literally meaning, “trick or treat”).

[bctt tweet=”Do you say Trick or Treat,  or  Truco o Trato ? #HappyHalloween”]

In some parts of Northern Spain, such as Galicia, they have Halloween celebrations that are much more enthusiastic than in other parts of the country. This is due to their Celtic traditions.

In most schools in Malaga, the children go to school in fancy dress and take part in games and other educational activities, learning about the foreign traditions.

In Catalonia, apart from Halloween they celebrate “La Castañada” where many local traditional foods are eaten, such as chestnuts(castañas), sweet potato (batata), sweet wine (vino dulce) and “panellets”, a Catalan soft biscuit normally topped with almonds or other nuts.

How about some games?

Children, no matter where they are from, like to have fun.  For them, Halloween is  just another day to enjoy themselves and get some candy while dressing up. All over the world there are many traditional and common Halloween games which we definitely encourage you to try with your children, as they will be a great deal of fun! Here are a few suggestions …

Bobbing for Apples

This is one of the probably the best- known Halloween game of all and kids always have fun! To play, set up a large bowl (a washing up bowl is ideal), filled with water and float apples in it. The aim of the game (apart from having lots of fun) is to grab one of the apples with your mouth and remove it from the water. Hands must be kept behind the player’s backs.

We advise you to you have some towels at hand as the players generally end up getting quite wet!

Pass the Apple

This game, even though named “Pass the Apple” can also be played with oranges. To start the game, line up all the children in two rows facing each other, with the same amount of children in both of the rows. The objective of the game is to pass the apple (or orange) to the person behind them using only their chin. They are not allowed to use their hand and they have to avoid dropping the fruit. If that does happen, the team must start from the very beginning!

apple

Snap Apple

To begin playing this game, you have to tie strings around apples and suspend them from the ceiling, a tree branch or anywhere steady enough for the apples to hang from. Once all the players are there, you might have to readjust the length to make sure that they all reach the fruit, which should be at mouth height or lower.

Each player has to try to eat the entire apple without touching it with their hands as they hang which will definitely be tricky, but that’s the fun part of it as well! A prize can be given to the first to finish or the first to manage to  bite the apple.

It might be quite tricky so if you are going to organise the game for young children, so the apples could be swapped for donuts. (Yummy!)

Find the Pumpkins!

A simple and fun game! Challenge all the children to try and find all the pumpkins hidden around the house! Hide them in the garden, in different rooms and places where they won’t expect them. If there are lots of kids playing, you can put them in groups so that it is easier for them to find them and more fun, as well! The prize for the winners… candy, of course!

Using the target language …

All the above games can easily be adapted to use your target language in lessons or at home. Prepare instructions, expressions and vocabulary to use before, during and after each activity.

As always, by focusing on the fun element, the children will be learning new words and using them, without noticing.

We have added some great Halloween materials, in English and Spanish, to our FREE STUFF page that you can download and use with your children. Download your freebies here!  

Happy Halloween

Free Printable A to Z : Food

Look at our simple but scrummy, totally free printable A to Z cards that are all about food.

These are some of the ingredients that we use in our simple but scrummy recipes.

There are all kinds of ways you can use these printable A to Z cards with your young language learners, here are just a few suggestions:

  • Use them to practice food names in English or Spanish

  • If you get the name right you get to keep the card

  • Give your child ingredients and ask them what recipe they could make

  • Practice colours by asking your child to collect all the foods that are “rojo” (red), “verde” (green) etc …

  • Ask your child to select all the “verduras” (vegetables), “frutas” (fruit), “postres” (desserts) etc …

 

CLICK HERE to get your free downloadable A to Z cards now…

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