Taking advantage of games and activities to help young learners acquire a new language is one of the best ways to help them make great progress while also enjoying the experience of learning. Instead of fighting a child’s natural desire to play, it’s much more effective to channel that motivation into games or activities they enjoy playing that will also help them improve their English listening and speaking skills in addition to their confidence. Here is a games you can play using vocabulary flashcards with your young learner to help them practice English at home:
Three Card Monty – Take three flashcards and place them picture-side-up on the table in front of your child. Next, tell your child to follow one of the cards. For example, you can say, “Follow the cat.” Flip the cards over so the pictures cannot be seen and begin to move/mix them slowly while your child tries to follow the correct card. After a few seconds of this, stop and ask your child to show you the correct card by pointing at it. Pick it up and show it to them and anyone else who is playing and ask them if it is the correct card. Then, ask your child to tell you what they see on the card. If they picked the right card and can identify it, they win! If your child picked the wrong card, you can still use it as an opportunity to check if they know what is featured on the card. Ask them if what they picked is what you asked them to originally follow. If they say “yes,” help them by telling them the correct word. If they say “no,” ask them what they do see on the card. This is a great way to make not finding the correct card into a positive experience by having them successfully identify what they see on the incorrect card.
This game is a simple, fun way for kids to continue practicing English at home. It helps them continue to practice in the context of having fun, which will make them excited about communicating in English as they continue to practice. It also normalizes using English at home, which can be disconcerting for some students if they are not accustomed to speaking English with family members when they are not at school. Creating environments where children who are learning to speak English feel safe and secure practicing is one of the most important steps toward helping them continue to improve their confidence and conversational abilities. Remember, learning and practicing English should be fun! Give this game a try at home and don’t be afraid to come adapt games you play with your kids to help them practice their English![:]