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Engaging young English students is essential for English speaking practice. But with such a large language barrier, it can be difficult to know how to keep the interest of students who are still beginners.
One of the most effective ways to do practice speaking English in an engaging way: games! Play-based learning gets even the most hesitant new language learners engaged, and here’s the best part: there are lots of games you can choose from, and most of them require very minimal preparation. Let’s look at 3 of the best games that you can play with your young learner.
I Spy is a very common game to play with children to practice speaking English by visualizing the objects around them. And once they can visualize the object, they can then describe it.
I Spy requires students to notice the color, texture, size, and any other unique detail about the object they are looking at. It’s a fantastic way to encourage your child to practice asking questions and apply common vocabulary words!
How to Play I Spy with your Child or Student:
- Choose an object that you and your student can see.
- Give a clue by describing the object. Say something like “I spy something that is blue.”
- The student will look around the room to find the object that matches your description. Have them say their guess in a full sentence like “Is it a ball?”
- If they don’t get it right the first time, encourage your student to ask other questions. Things like “Is it big?” “Is it soft?” will help them narrow down their guesses. (And as a bonus—extra vocabulary practice!)
Once your student has guessed the right answer, switch roles and give them a turn. But be warned, they’ll do their best to trick you!
What’s in My Bag?
What’s in my bag? is a great game for students to practice speaking English through kinesthetic learning. We use this game to allow students sensory skills to imagine what is inside the bag. Choose different objects that can allow your child to use their imagination and ask questions about what it could be.
This game is best in the traditional physical classroom, but you can alter it to use in your online classroom, too!
How to Play What’s in My Bag? With your Child or Student:
- Grab a bag or container that the student cannot see into and put something inside.
- Allow the student (without looking) to put their hand in the bag and feel the object for 30 seconds to a minute.
- While their hand is in the bag, ask them very simple questions about what it feels like. Ask things like “What do you feel?” and “Is it soft?”. Ask them questions to encourage them to use their sensory skills.
- Once they are on the track to guessing the object, ask questions about what color they think it is or what it might look like.
When they guess the object correctly, they win!
Some great objects to use include fruit, LEGOs, sand, and liquids.
We all know the classic game Simon Says. But it’s actually a really effective way to engage students using the Total Physical Response (TPR) method, and tests students on their vocabulary and listening skills.
The goal of the game is to (eventually) trick the other players into making a mistake, so you’ll also see how well they can listen and follow instructions!
How to Play Simon Says with Your Child or Student:
- The leader (or “Simon”) is in charge, and the rest of the players must follow their instructions only when they use the words “Simon says”.
- Simon will give an instruction—something like “Simon says touch your toes.” The other players have to touch their toes—if they don’t follow directions, they’re out.
- Simon can also give instructions without saying “Simon says”, but. If Simon just says “Jump up and down 3 times,” it’s a trick—there was no “Simon says”, and players shouldn’t follow instructions. If they do, they’re out!
- Keep playing until everyone is out, then switch up who gets to be the leader.
What Games Do You Use in Your Classroom?
Those are 3 of the best games to play with your kids, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list!
What do you like to play with your students? Tag us on Instagram @thevipkidlife and show us some of your favorite games!