Learning a new language can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but it can also be intimidating and overwhelming. One way to make the process more enjoyable and engaging is by using games as a basis for learning.
Here are a few reasons why playing games makes language learning fun:
Games are engaging:
Games are a fun and interactive way to learn, and they can help keep students engaged and motivated. By using games as a basis for learning, you can help make language learning more enjoyable and encourage students to stay involved.
Games are interactive:
Games are an interactive way to learn, which can help students practice their skills in a more realistic and engaging way. By playing games, students can practice their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in a more interactive and dynamic way.
Games are adaptable:
Games are flexible and adaptable, which means that you can use them to teach a wide range of language skills. Whether you want to focus on grammar, vocabulary, or conversation skills, there is a game that can help you achieve your goals.
Games are fun:
Above all, games are fun. By using games as a basis for learning, you can help make language learning more enjoyable and help students stay engaged and motivated.
Here are a few examples of games that you can use to make language learning fun:
Scrabble is a classic board game that can be adapted to teach vocabulary and spelling skills in the target language. Students can practice building words and improving their spelling skills, while also learning new words and phrases.
Hangman is a simple game that can be used to teach vocabulary and spelling skills in the target language. Students can guess letters to help fill in a word or phrase, and the teacher can provide hints or clues to help them along.
Word search puzzles are a fun and interactive way to practice vocabulary and spelling skills in the target language. Students can search for hidden words in a grid of letters, and the teacher can provide a list of words to look for or allow students to come up with their own list.
Charades is a classic party game that can be adapted to teach vocabulary and conversation skills in the target language. Students can act out words or phrases without speaking, and their classmates can try to guess what they are trying to convey.
Board games are a classic way to make language learning fun and interactive. There are many board games that have been adapted for language learning, such as “¡Arriba!” and “Let’s Talk Spanish.” These games can help students practice vocabulary, grammar, and conversation skills in a fun and engaging way.
In addition to these games, there are also many online resources and apps that can help you make language learning more fun and interactive. For example, we offer a range of exercises and games to help children practice their skills, and it provides feedback and rewards to help keep them motivated.
Overall, playing games can be a powerful and effective way to make language learning more enjoyable and engaging. Whether you use traditional board games, online resources, or apps, the key is to find the tools and techniques that work best for you and your students. With a little bit of creativity and flexibility, you can make language learning a fun and rewarding experience for all.
A language classroom is not just about learning the grammar and the vocabulary. It is also about learning the culture or cultures to better understand the language. We all know how food is a fabulous way to get to understand a culture and its people. So what better or more fun way to learn a language than through food?
Today, we share 5 simple and easy tips to incorporate a country or a language’s food culture into your language classroom, your homeschooling routine or your language learning experience.
The key here is the authenticity of the content. Every decent educator will know that to learn a language authentic materials work best and are the most useful. Nobody wants to learn about made-up artificial conversations between a French baker and a customer talking about bagels!
Here are our 5 authentic yet simple tips:
Design Your Own Food Packaging
In a globalised world, it is not difficult to find food packaging containing foreign languages. Just head to your local (ethnic) supermarket and pick something that fits your target language. You get to use the packaging to learn a few words (and taste whatever is inside if it is relevant). Alternatively, next time you are visiting your target language country, bring back food packaging.
Create A Menu
Once again, you don’t need to travel far to find menus written in a foreign language. Either visit your favourite restaurant or check out menus online from restaurants in your target country to get a taste of your favourite dishes.
As an activity, get your students to search for menus, study them and create a brand new one for their very own restaurant.
Role-play: At The Restaurant
You have created your very own menu, all you need to do now is to set up a little role-play with that menu: waiter and customers. Asking questions about the menu, ordering from it, paying the bill are all wonderful authentic practice situations for any language student. Food vocabulary is obviously important here too but you get to add much more to it.
Cook a Typical Dish
Of course, one of the most obvious things you can do to incorporate food into your language lessons is to cook a typical dish from your target country. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or complicated and if you have no cooking equipment, a salad could work too.
Write Your Own Recipe
If your students are up to it, you could even ask them to write or translate their very own recipe. Imagine you are to cook something typical from your own country for people who only speak your target language. You will need to translate the recipe for them. You could supply them with a recipe or they could make one up. Watch out for translation of weights and measure units! They need to be culturally appropriate too. This is a wonderful activity to do to practice cooking-related verbs too.
Have you got any other tips to add to this list? We would love to hear about the ways you do incorporate food into your language lessons or classroom.
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Let Us Show You How To Plan A Cooking With Languages Competition in Your Target Langauge
Learning about a country, its customs and its food is a fabulous way to motivate children to learn languages.
In previous posts, we have explained the many different skills children learn in the kitchen and how the kitchen is a great classroom for language learning.
Today, we are going to show you how to plan a Cooking With Languages competition in your place of learning.
Use Simple Bunting and Fun Food Facts for Decoration
Follow these Simple steps to plan a Cooking With Languages Competition in your Target Language (TL):
Select your target language (TL) e.g. English
List countries where your TL is spoken. E.g. England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, USA, Canada
Prepare templates for the flags for each of the countries
Research traditional and popular dishes for each country (Note: Keep it simple!) e.g. apple crumble, tatties, banoffee pie …
Invite your students to:
Choose a recipe (remember they can research their own too!) and prepare step by step instructions in the TL
Prepare photos or even a video in the TL demonstrating each step of the instructions
Invite one set of students each week to give a presentation and bring in a sample of their foods
Hold a Cooking With Languages Competition Day in your TL.
All students are invited to bring in their creations on a given day.
A panel of judges select the winning dishes.
Winners can be for specific age groups, food type or any other creative category you come up with.
Points are awarded for accuracy of TL, originality, taste and appearance.
Don’t forget to share pictures on your Cooking With Languages
If you would like templates of any materials, just email
email@example.com and we will send them to you 🙂
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Most children would love the opportunity to be put in the spotlight with the chance to release their inner diva. Whether it’s singing a song or acting out parts of their favourite movie.
How To Help Your Bilingual Masterchef Shine!
Today, we want to share a winning formula to help your children, a future bilingual Masterchef, shine. They will improve their language skills by feeding their imagination as a contestant on a popular television show such as Junior MasterChef or Great British Bake Off – but with a twist.
The icing on the cake is that the show will be conducted in the language they are learning (target language). They could be cooking a paella in Spanish, a kartoffelpuffer in German or a creme brulee in French. It will be fun, competitive and educational as they get their head around a recipe in a foreign language.
Learning a language used to be as dry as day-old bread but not anymore. Children will enjoy cooking with languages, especially if they have the chance to win a prize and be a television star for a day.
Organising a Junior MasterChef or Bake Off is relatively straightforward and could be your party piece for a birthday get-together or for a sleepover.
Unless you have a large kitchen with more than one cooker, it is a good idea to get them all to work from the same recipe and make something that’s relatively quick to cook. With younger children, they could prepare the recipe and you put in the oven for them.
[bctt tweet=”Play the Mystery Box challenge in your Junior Bilingual MasterChef #languagelearning” username=”cooklanguage”]
It’s a mystery…
For Junior Bilingual MasterChef, you could play the Mystery Box challenge so they all have the same ingredients to start. They would then be given 10 minutes to find a recipe in the language they are learning to create a meal which symbolises that country.
For Spain, for example, they could be given the ingredients to make albondigas (meatballs), cocas (mini pizzas) or empanadas (little pasties). The cocas would be ideal for younger children as they could just be asked to decorate ready-made cocas.
The German students could try kasespatzle (similar to macaroni cheese), kartoffelsalat (potato salad) – good for the little ones – or Bavarian apple strudel cake.
In the French corner, we’d suggest cherry clafoutis (fresh fruit and custard dessert), mousse au chocolat (chocolate mousse) or moules marinieres (mussels).
For younger children, we would suggest that you go through a recipe with them so they are copying what you are doing or ask them to do something simple like put the toppings on cocas or decorate cupcakes.
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Older children can follow a recipe in a foreign language while undertaking the Mystery Box challenge. They can be encouraged to put their own twist to it by adding a special ingredient or making it look very special.
Icing on the cake …
In the Bake Off, depending on their age, you can encourage the children to make their own cakes or simply create colourful toppings for ready-made cakes. Again, they will have to use ingredients from their chosen country and follow recipes or instructions in this language too.
Let them shine…
It is a fun idea to find a volunteer to film them while they’re baking. Then get them to introduce themselves and talk about their produce in Spanish, German or French. You can give score points for the best dish as well as the most authentic accent. If you want to be really clever, you could put these on a Facebook page or YouTube to ask their friends to vote on the best ones.
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What are the Best Foods to Feed Your Brain?
If you’re hungry for knowledge, then you are constantly researching and reading to get the information you crave. But you can help feed that hunger by eating the right brain foods. We all know about foods we should or shouldn’t eat if we want to stay fit and healthy. But did you know there are also certain products which help to boost your brain power?
When studying a language, you’ll want to stay alert so the information sticks in your head and so you can concentrate better. There’s nothing worse than feeling that your grey matter is like a sieve where information goes in but falls straight out again. We want that information to stick so that you are quickly conversing on holiday or your new life abroad.
Basically, you need to:
- get your five fruit and vegetables a day,
- avoid sugar,
- drink lots of water and
- make sure your meal is made up of many different colours.
You need to get at least seven hours’ sleep every night, eat well and live well if you want to be on top of your game.
To help you, here are some of the best foods to feed you brain, boost your memory and with a few ideas how to cook them:
1 egg / 1 huevo
Scramble eggs not your brain
One top tip is to go to work on an egg. Having an egg for breakfast is a healthy way to start the day as long as you don’t fry it. Either have a glass of milk or a milky hot chocolate or coffee with it because both are high in protein which boosts your brain power. Eggs are also rich in vitamins B6 and B12 to improve concentration and memory. You could try using free-range or organic eggs to make a quick omelette. Simply grease a frying pan, put in your beaten eggs, cook, add cheese or chopped herbs such as parsley or chives, fold your omelette and serve. Another favourite is scrambled eggs, or huevos revueltos as they are called in Spain. Again, beat the eggs – you can add milk if you wish – and cook in a small, greased pan. Stir the eggs so they scramble. You can add anything you wish such as tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, or a little chilli if you want to spice it up a little.
Put fish on your dish
Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fats in the form of EPA (essential fatty acids) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) so include salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, herrings, sardines, pilchards and kippers in your diet. Low DHA levels have reportedly been linked to an increased risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory loss. You could have a grilled kipper for breakfast or try tinned sardines in tomato sauce on toast for a snack, if you aren’t too keen on oily fish. Otherwise, just grill or pan-fry your fish and serve with salad or new potatoes and greens, especially spinach or broccoli to get even more brainy food inside you.
In Mediterranean countries fish cooked in vinegar or citrus juice with paprika or saffron is a popular and tasty way to eat fish. It’s called ‘escabeche’ and you can find it in restaurants or canned fish such as mackerel, tuna and sardines.
For non-fish eaters, we would suggest flaxseed, soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, linseed and chia or take an omega-3 supplement.
Popeye knows best
Spinach doesn’t just give you muscles, it also boosts your brain-power. Dark-coloured vegetables like spinach, broccoli and beans are great for learning, concentration and memory. You can add them to stir-frys or they make great, warming soups.
Broad beans, which are found in abundance in Spain and the UK, are packed with nutrients including fibre, iron, manganese, phosphorus and folate. A lack of iron can lead to low productivity, poor memory and apathy so it’s advisable to tuck into broad beans. Habas con jamon (broad beans with ham) is a tasty tapas or side dish. Fry up chopped onion, add ham and garlic. Once the ham starts to brown, add the beans and a glass of white wine. Cook for 10 minutes, then add a large glass of vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes. This is lovely reheated the following day so you can make extra.
Sage can be used as an essential oil or sprinkle some fresh sage to your savoury dishes. Just add it to the end of your cooking to protect the oils it contains. Sage, which means wise, improves memory and concentration. It has a strong flavour, so don’t go overboard. Sage and onion stuffing goes well with poultry such as turkey or chicken or you can add sage butter to gnocchi, pasta or fish. Otherwise freeze chopped sage in ice cubes for summer drinks, such as Pimms or sangria, or make sage tea.
Snack to it
If your energy levels are flagging, top snacking fruits to tuck into are apples, bananas, avocados and berries, especially blueberries. Nuts and seeds are great to munch on too as they are rich in different nutrients. You can wash it down with a cup of coffee as the Italian Longitudinal Study on Ageing found people who regularly drink one cup of coffee a day were in better mental shape than those with more erratic coffee habits.
What good food habits do you have to share with us? We’d love to hear your ideas!