3 Games You Can Play at Home to Help Teach Your Child a New Language
Support your child’s academic language learning with fun games at home! Little ones respond best to homework when it is made into a game. Playing language games with your child is not just a great way to help them retain and build on their language learning, it is also an opportunity for you to learn the language with them, complete with a study buddy to practice with! Here are three fun language games to play with your child at home that will help them remember, absorb, and begin to actively use their new language skills.
Game #1: Clap Rhymes and Songs
“Cho-co-la-te, Cho-co-la-te, bate, bate, el chocolate”
Nothing sticks in the brain better than the combination of rhythm, rhyme, and clapping in time to a beat. From jump-rope games to circle rhymes, children have been learning this way for decades, if not centuries. One of the best ways to help your child become familiar with speaking a new language confidently is to practice saying it in rhyme with the aide of a fun clap pattern or even a little dance. Find children’s songs and chants from the language’s culture of origin and teach them to your child at home or use their vocabulary lessons to make up rhymes of your own. To help the meanings of the words sink in, use an English version as well and practice them side-by-side.
Game #2: Story Time Mad-Libs
“Once upon a time there was a prince whose favorite fruit was …”
Young children can get bored of normal flashcards quickly, but they make excellent props for games instead. If you have a set of simple color, noun, and verb flash cards, make up a story with your child that frequently uses these words. Let them fill in the blanks with their own ideas, as long as they’re in the new language, or use the flashcards to give them a clue what you’re thinking. You can also take turns making up lines in the story and using the flashcards to remember the right foreign language vocabulary word.
Game #3: Name That Snack
Then, of course, you can always use snacks as the motivation and inspiration that they so often are for young children. Traditionally, this game is played with colored candies, asking your child to name the appropriate color before they get a treat. You can make the game healthy instead with fruits, veggie chips, and other snack foods. When your child can ask for their favorite treat in the new language they’re learning, be sure to grant it to them (within reason). This activity can then open the door to further foreign-language conversation around the breakfast and dinner table. Inspire inquiry by showing your child how to lookup a word you both don’t know.
Practice at home is a great way to help your child retain and expand on a new language they’re learning in school. The more they stretch their minds to use the new vocabulary with familiar and fun concepts, and practice naming and talking about things in the new language, the more confident they’ll become. For a strong academic foundation for a preschool bilingual education, please contact us today!