I think one of the failures in English speaking countries when it comes to teaching second languages is that we do not make it fun. I remember starting French at age 7 and just repeating phrases over and over again. I remember being bored out of my mind and just squirming on the chair.
So how can we make learning English as a second language more fun for kids… English language games!
Think back to when you were young, what did you enjoy more? Reading from a book aloud, embarrassed at your terrible accent and stumbling across words, or jumping, singing, dancing and playing! I do not think I would be alone in saying I preferred the latter! So, how do you want to teach ESL children? Do you want to make them repeat English phrases after you, or use a method that gets 100% of their attention and gets them to retain an amazing 80% of the their learning? It’s not much of a choice really, is it!
But what kind of English language games are best to teach ESL beginners? That’s the great thing about English language games there are so many to choose from. One of my favorites is something called The Rainbow Path, or The Magic Path. You could also call it Don’t Swim With The Fish!
I love it so much as it has a craft time before the game starts. I think this gets kids motivated and the energy levels of the class way up!
1. The first step of this game is to get sheets of different colored paper and get the kids to cut different shapes. Depending on the age of the class, you can help them with this or give them stencils to use.
2. The next step is to place the colored shapes in a path, making sure you create different color patters. This path is your bridge and to emphasize this I usually create water either size using paper or fabric and even put fish or crab in it!
3. Each child has a turn in crossing the bridge, you call out colors and the kids have to step on the right color shape. If they get it wrong they fall in the water. I make a big deal out of this and record splashing noises on a CD. I love the fact that you are teaching kids it’s OK to laugh at their mistakes – that they do not need to be embarrassed because it’s all part of the game. If you want you can give a small reward to kids that make it to the end of the path you can.
This game is great as it connects with kids on different learning levels. They get to move around, which is always a must. It also connects with kids who like patterns and you can even add songs for children who respond well to music. For me, it includes the two most important factors of English Language Games, laughter and props! So try these English language games out with your kids. I guarantee they will enjoy it! Also, keep an eye out for other games online. There are so many games to choose from that can make your kid’s learning experience interesting and fun.
English Learning School in Kumamoto 英会話 小学生