Language learning is a hard task that can sometimes be frustrating. Constant effort is required to understand, produce and manipulate the target language. Well-chosen games are invaluable as they give students a break and at the same time allow students to practice language skills. Games are highly motivating because they are amusing and interesting. Furthermore, they employ meaningful and useful language in real contexts. They also encourage and increase cooperation. Games offer a fun-filled, relaxed environment where they can practise using new words and are free to express themselves. Participating in recreational activities is an effective way to develop language and communication skills. It also helps your children to be more socially confident and maybe a way to forge friendships.
Games can be a very worthwhile teaching element. A successful game is successful because for the reason that it is based on specific time allocation, it has clear relevance to the material, there is appropriateness to all members of the class, and ultimately, the enjoyment of the learners is increased through their actively engaging with the language. Below are some examples of games and playtime activities that integrate language learning with fun.
Expand your children’s vocabulary with word games. It can be as simple as pointing out items at home or during a road trip e.g. “I am now mixing the butter into the batter” or “Tall buildings are also called skyscrapers”. You might even give the definition or share background information about these words. Games like Scrabble, Pictionary or a round of Charades also encourage vocabulary development and communication skills.
Telling age-appropriate puns will also help foster good humour and creativity in children. This also encourages wordplay and imagination. You can read through kid-friendly joke books and take turns telling witty stories. Avoid being too critical of their gags, speech, or articulation. Instead, model proper pronunciation or grammar by repeating the statement back to them in the correct way. For example, when your child says “I goed so fast!” instead of saying, “That’s not how you say it”, you can opt to say, “Yes, you went so fast!”
Riddles are fun ways to use words and paint pictures of scenes or situations. Read or say riddles aloud to each other and explain to your children the different definitions of a single word. For example, school as in a place of learning or school as in a group of fish to help them understand the riddle better.
The repetitive chanting, reading, writing, or hearing of rhymes promotes good listening skills and memory retention, aside from developing speech. You can also narrate what you do at home with rhyming words or let your children tell you about their favourite toys using rhyming words.
Promote listening and comprehension skills by playing with words that sound the same but have different meanings. Allow your children to think of words that sound alike and let them try to define each one. This is also a good gauge of how much your children’s vocabulary has expanded and if their understanding of the words is correct.
While storybooks provide ample entertainment, sharing stories – whether real or make-believe – can provide a good bonding time with your children while helping develop their communication skills. Exchange stories about daily events. Broaden their imagination with fantastical stories and let their creativity grow as you make up stories about anything and everything around them.
Aside from harnessing their musical abilities, songs also help children learn new words. Lyrics have a sense of rhyme and rhythm so it will be easy and entertaining for them to sing along. Besides, simply putting a tune to an activity can be a fun game that you can play with your children.
Tongue twisters are an excellent and fun way to teach children the correct pronunciation and enunciation of words. It is a fun way to train their tongue to pronounce words. Start with simple ones and work your way up.
Words can be a lot of fun if we know how to maximise their use. Together, they can be made up of stories, songs, and a whole lot of other things that will help your children be more eloquent. Continue to encourage your children to speak well by constructing a healthy and fun learning environment where they can unleash their creativity and broaden their linguistic skills. Guide them on how to express their thoughts, feelings and actions better through the use of words as this will prepare them to face the world with confidence as they grow.
There is a common perception that all learning should be serious and solemn and that if one is having fun and there are hilarity and laughter, then it is not learning. This is a misconception. It is possible to learn a language as well as enjoy oneself at the same time. One of the best ways of doing this is through games.
There are many advantages of using games in the classroom:
- Games are a welcome break from the usual routine of the language class.
- They are motivating and challenging.
- Learning a language requires a great deal of effort. Games help students to make and sustain the effort of learning.
- Games provide language practise in the various skills – speaking, writing, listening and reading.
- They encourage students to interact and communicate.
- They create a meaningful context for language use.
Therefore, the role of games in teaching and learning vocabulary cannot be denied. However, to achieve the most from vocabulary games, suitable games must be chosen. Whenever a game is to be conducted, the number of students, proficiency level, cultural context, timing, learning topic, and classroom settings are factors that should be taken into account. Learning vocabulary through games is one effective and interesting way that can be applied in any classrooms. Thus games are used not only for mere fun but more importantly, for the useful practice and review of language lessons, thus leading toward the goal of improving learners’ communicative competence.