Whether you are raising your child bilingual, tutoring students in a second language, or teaching a foreign language in a school setting, one of the most effective ways to keep your students in the target language is to make it fun.
Music, videos, and books in the target language are great ways to use authentic resources while keeping language learning fun. But sometimes, kids just need a good old fashioned game to distract them from the fact that they're acquiring vocabulary and using new grammatical structures.
In some situations, you just want to inspire your students to engage in target language conversation while lowering their affective filters.
These games are easy to adapt to whatever type of vocabulary or structure you're targeting. They don't require a ton of preparation, and can be done with just a few, or many students. Happy playing!
great minds think alike
(found at The Creative Language Class)
Working in groups of three or four, each person takes a turn selecting a question in the target language. If your students are novices, include pictures with the questions, or make the structure of the question repetitive. Use lots of cognates. This students (secretly) writes their answer on a white board, note card, or piece of paper. Everyone else in the group writes on their white board or note card what they think that student wrote. Whoever matches their answer with that student gets a point!
This is a twist on that classic childhood favorite. Create your "cards" as slides on PowerPoint, then print them out as multiple slides to a page. Either print them on card stock, or cut them out and glue them to sturdier paper. Each new vocabulary word should match a picture. Avoid translating the word into the students' first language as the matching card.
2 truths and a lie
This is a wonderful game for novices working on structures such as "I am," "I like," and "I have." Each student writes three things about themselves in the target language - 2 are facts, and 1 is a lie. The rest of the group must guess which item is a lie.