Toggle Navigation

Family Conversation

By VIPKid  |  May 2, 2022

Ready to start teaching English online?

Teach with VIPKid

Family is one of the most popular conversation topics, so it is important that your students know family vocabulary in English. They might use this knowledge later when telling their friends in a new country about their family members. In this article, we are going to highlight some family activities that will strengthen your student’s confidence during family-related conversations. Use these fun ELD (English Language Development) activities and vocabulary games to help with learning.

Try these activities to teach English Learners family vocabulary

Family tree activity

The family tree game is the most obvious way for your students to learn family-related vocabulary. For this activity, you will need a large family tree that depicts the relatives such as mother, father, sisters, brothers, grandparents, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Each branch should have a picture and the title of the person. Go over the family tree clearly and slowly to ensure that the students understand the meaning of the words and how to pronounce them. After you are sure that the students have understood everything, present to them another version of the family tree but this time with blank titles. Now the students should “climb” the family tree by guessing each title.

Synonyms activity

Some of the family titles in English have synonyms, for example, grandfather – grandpa, granddad, granddaddy, etc. The lists may vary depending on where the English speaker lives. Discuss all of those synonyms with your students and explain the differences between those synonyms. You can do it by showing the students the synonyms on cards and encouraging the student to guess to which title the synonym refers.

Comparisons activity

A lesson plan on the family for English Learners can also include the practice of comparatives. For example, “My sister is younger than me” or “My uncle is taller than me.” Have various pictures of families available and encourage the students to come up with similar statements. For more advanced students, you can encourage them to come up with statements regarding the pictures that may or may not be true. For example, “The mother is taller than the father in this picture. – That’s not true. The father is taller than the mother.”

Making a lesson plan? Check out these tips and be done in no time.

Ball game

Standing in a circle, the students toss a ball to each other. Each student who catches the ball should say a title of a family member. A student who is unable to come up with the title within 5 seconds should leave the circle. The remaining student is a winner.

Explanations activity with taboo words

Family conversation - Adult male listens to a boy and girl while discussing a book.

Working in pairs, the students should describe various family members to each other. One student explains while another one tries to guess the title. However, the “explainer” should refrain from using titles of other family members, e.g. “a mother’s or a father’s mother” for “grandmother”. A description without such taboo words can be as follows: “An elderly woman who can cook delicious pancakes.” This will spark fun, family conversation.

Family-related proverbs and idioms activity

Working in groups, the students try to come up with as many family-related idioms and proverbs as they can. The winning team is the one that comes up with the greatest number of idioms and proverbs, such as “black sheep of the family”. The idioms and proverbs should not necessarily be English – the students can translate those from their native language and then explain their meaning to the class or search for analogs in English.

Guess a family activity

Ask the students to bring printed pictures of their families to the lesson for a more interesting family conversation. Gather those pics and put them into a hat or a bowl. Mix the photos up and take them out one by one. The students should guess whose family they see and which student they look most alike. The students should also name the depicted family members. For example, “I think it is Jerry’s brother.”

Number relations activity

Each student says a number that is related to their family (e.g. someone’s age or the number of children). The other students try to come up with a question to which that is the answer. For example, 6 – Is it your brother’s age? Is your sister 6 years older than you? and so on.

Guess the famous family or person

During your family lesson, make statements about a famous family or a famous person’s family relationships one sentence at a time until the students guess who it is. Make sure that you choose people famous enough, so that almost all students know about them.

Two truths and a lie

Each student should tell three facts about their families, one of which is a lie. The rest of the students should guess which of the facts is a lie. There are many ways to inspire students to use vocabulary and be more confident during family conversation.

Try Learning English with VIPKid for Free!

Teaching your child on your own can be exhausting. At VIPKid, we offer online English lessons from qualified teachers––we’ve taught over a million lessons to students around the world!
Want to try it for free? Sign your child up for a free trial lesson with VIPKid and see if online English learning is right for them!

Share This Story

Related Articles

Ready to start teaching English online? Teach with VIPKid Contributing Writer: Anna Claire Miller Summer is a time for fun, relaxation, and enjoyment, and what better way to celebrate that than with a vacation! But what if you’re worried your child or student will lose some of the amazing English skills they worked so hard […]

June 6, 2022