(this post contains affiliate links)
Learning a second language isn’t as complicated as many people think. The key is repetition and having an environment to practice. Enter English through play! Children love to pretend, and if you introduce a new game, song or pretend activity in a second language, they will usually continue to play said activity in English. Choose a few key fraises and vocabulary words that can be easily learned and then repeat, repeat, repeat, play, play, play!
Here are some of my favourite games and activities for interactive play, as well as traditional games that I use to teach children English.
Kids love to play with stuffed animals, and they usually like to play doctor too, so pretending that their pets are sick and that they have to go to the vet is a popular game with my students. You can have them bring a favourite plush toy from home, or if you are a parent then you might have everything you need already on hand. Just spend a few minutes collecting some boxes and baskets and setting up a waiting area and examination area. It only take a few little “extras” to make the game feel special and exciting. Print off the “open” and “closed” sings from the free printable, and the “pet information” page and you’ll be ready to go. I like to laminate my “pet information” page and let the kids use a whiteboard marker or washable marker, so that you can re-use the same form again and again. And the kids like to wipe it clean when it’s their turn. Adding a few extras, like a Stethoscope and some empty pill bottles will really take the game to the next level! You might want to purchase a small doctor or vet kit, but you don’t need to, children have wonderful imaginations. Some suggested vocabulary: Pet, doctor, medicine, broken, tummy ache, head ache, and the body parts.
This game is great if your child/children are familiar with going to the post office and mailing letters or packages. However, not all children have this experience to glean from, as more and more parents move to online shopping. If you do play, just collects some envelops, boxes, some play money, stamps and make a box that they can drop letters into. Then get busy playing!
Pizza take away:
I already wrote a post on this game. I’d like to order a pizza, please
This is great fun if your child/children have recently been on an airplane. I like to use this free printable from Learn Creative Love (great website!) and of course some suitcases to make it feel real. You could also add a food and drink cart, I haven’t done that yet, but I can imagine it would be a big hit. Anything that includes giving and receiving food usually very popular!
Ice cream shop:
Make some cones out of rolled brown paper and crinkle up some tissue paper, add some plastic bowls and an ice cream scoop and you have yourself a pretend ice cream shop! Quick and easy, and the kids love it! Or head out to the sand box and let the children’s imaginations go wild (maybe use a thicker card stock or cardboard to make your cones if you’re playing with sand ;- ).
Restaurant: See post here
Free printable, visual menu for playing restaurant with non-readers link to the menu
And of course, the more popular traditional games are always a win!
I Spy speak: See post here
Go Fish: see post here
Memory: see post here
Picture BINGO: Make your own bingo cards with pictures of objects and verbs that you are using or that you want your child to learn. I often use photos from the free public domain stockpile, so I don’t have to stress about copyright issues. Here’s the link. Or of course you can buy them, there are so many fun ones on the market! Or check out these 21 Amazing sites with breathtaking free stock photos.
Happy Learning Everyone!