“Those who know many languages live as many lives the languages they know.” – Czech Proverb

Do you wish to introduce more language games in your classes?

Students must have fun learning languages. This is what teachers are increasingly realising. Gone are the days of simply trying to drill verbs, nouns, adjectives and phrases into their heads. Fun activities have proven to be very effective in terms of getting students to learn the intricacies of a foreign tongue.

Let’s consider what the best ways are to include games in your language classroom.

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Self-made Games for Your Language Class

Here are three steps that you can follow if you wish to include language games in your lessons:

  • To start out, ensure that your lessons are adapted the level and age of your learners.
  • Provide concise and clear explanations.
  • Observe while they are playing – don’t interfere.

At primary school level, you can bring in other activities to support the learning of the target language. Activities such as drawing, colouring, cutting, writing, etc. will additionally help to develop their motor skills, as well as their linguistic skills.

How can you make games for language lessons?
You can even make the games for your language lessons or have the students make the games. (Source: EvgeniT)

Below are a few educational language games and activities that your learners could use to learn new vocabulary and expand their language skills.

Memory

This is one of the great language puzzle games available to help students to remember new information. All they need are pens, some scissors and several sheets of paper.

  • Get your students to cut an equal number of cards, each 5x5 centimetres square.
  • Write the words to be learned on half of the cards and the English equivalents on the other half.

The learners place the cards face-down and turn them over one by one to try to uncover a matching pair. If the cards do not match, they are turned face-down again. The student, who accumulates the most matching pairs, is the winner of the game.

A very simple game, yet it is a winner on so many fronts!

Connect 4

This is one of a number of timeless educational language games, that can be turned into a great activity for learners to practise their use of a language.

Pair students and instruct them to do the following:

  • Form a 7x7 table to use to play Connect 4.
  • From the students’ vocabulary lists, write down English version of a word in each square of the table.

To play the game, each student will be given a turn to place a counter on a word or square, as in the game Connect 4. Slightly differently to Connect 4, however, the student then has to say the translation out loud in the target language, before placing the counter on a given square. If they are correct, their counter can remain on the square. However, if they answer incorrectly, they lose their turn. The game continues in the same way that Connect 4 does, with the first player to get 4 counters in a row being declared the winner.

This is a wonderful game for beginners as it helps to strengthen vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation.

The Toy Box

The Toy Box is frequently used in nursery or pre-school classes, because it allows students to begin learning a second language. It can also be very helpful for young children in their first language.

The way it works is really simple. Simply place several objects into a box:

  • A book
  • A plastic bottle
  • A teddy bear
  • Tissues
  • Toys
  • Pens
  • Fruit

To win, the child must identify the object through touch alone, a wonderful way for kids to have fun learning languages. language puzzle games, fun learning languages (2), educational language games (2)

The Toy Box game can assist students in the learning of vocabulary and in the identification of objects, either in their mother tongue or in a foreign language.

For children who are very young, use larger objects, which are familiar with, to give them a leg up.

The Use of Card Games in Language Classes

Timeless, light and affordable, card games are a useful addition to any language class.

Which are the best card games for language lessons?
Ideally, you'll want card games that get the students talking to one another in the target language. (Source: Hucklebarry)

They are also brilliant for setting everyone at ease and generating a chilled atmosphere in a room full of new learners.

Taboo

This is a cool game for you to expand your vocabulary and make use of your language skills.

How does it work? Write down words, in the target language, onto cards. Describe the words (without saying them) so that your fellow-learners can guess what the word is.

No related words or synonyms are allowed. If, for example, the word is animal, they shouldn’t use words such as:

  • Mammals
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Elephant
  • Lion

The aim of the game is to get players to utilise their language skills so well that their peer or partner can guess the word quite easily.

This multi-player game is very popular and is one of the best-selling games in a large number of countries.

Board Games to Help Improve Your Language Skills

At institutions, at all levels, boards games are a favourite resource in the teaching of foreign languages.

Which are the best games for language lessons?
As long as the students are conversing and using the language, any board game is great. (Source: Kathas_Fotos)

And the games don’t even have to be expensive ones for learners to gain enjoyment from their lessons.

Board games are great tools, whether they are used in EFL classes or in foreign language classes and are a helpful resource for learners of all ages.

Below are some of the top board games for language students.

Guess Who?

The way to play this game is very simple: players simply ask yes/no questions about the physical traits of a mystery personality and, through a process of elimination, guess the person’s identity.

This is a very useful game to assist students in the formulation of closed questions. Also, since there’s no real text in the game, except the names of characters, any version of the game can be used. This means that the game can be adapted to any language, as only the characters’ names will change.

Monopoly

No introduction is necessary, right?

The aim of this game is to win as much money as possible and has proven to be popular across the world over many decades. Friends and families have been known to play the game through the night.

The game is very helpful in the learning of different nouns in many different languages, while also exposing players to some economic vocabulary. There are of number of versions available for different franchises and countries.

You should select the version that suits your needs best!

Time’s Up!

This is a memory game which can accommodate between 4 and 12 players – a whole class, if you have a small one.

40 cards make up the deck. On them are common names and fictional characters, whose names your partner has to guess as quickly as possible. You can use mime, descriptions and any other technique that you can think of to help them guess the answer. However, since they’re in a language class, it is best that students are encouraged to use their linguistic skills.

You can also make use of a number of other games that can be played or adapted to your language lessons:

  • Memory
  • Pictionary
  • Scrabble
  • And a number of others
Which are the best word games for language lessons?
Scrabble is a classic game for language lessons. (Source: Hans)

Including games, to assist with language learning, can be as much fun for the learners as for the teacher, so be bold about including them: your students will welcome it.

If you’re stuck for options, consider contacting a private tutor via Superprof.

Private tutoring is a wonderful way to uncover new teaching approaches or to expand your language skills. It gives you a great deal of flexibility, in terms of so many things – who you want to work with, when, how and for how long.

The choice is pretty much yours, as to whether you wish to participate in a group session or whether you prefer one-on-one sessions with a tutor, at a tuition centre or in the privacy of your home.

Group sessions are great for students who are on a limited budget and/or enjoy interacting with others. Students can also help one another as they go about learning the new language. Great friendships may even emanate from here and lead to a wonderful, new social life. The sky’s really the limit.

Of course, group sessions are not everyone’s cup of tea and, so, many students would prefer private tuition. Face-to-face sessions are really cost-effective if you consider the amount of time and attention your tutor will be spending solely on you. Also, the teaching plan would have been devised specifically with your needs in mind.

Either way, Superprof can put you in touch with a number of highly qualified and experienced professionals who can quickly set you on the right path. Also, don’t forget that most Superprof tutors offer the first lesson free of any charge (except that of your Internet connection, of course). Check them out – read other student’s reviews and maybe book a free lesson or two before making your final selection!

Go on! You know you want to! So, what are you waiting for?

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Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.