French, a romance language, is spoken in France, Haiti, Switzerland and numerous north African countries. Teaching children a foreign language like French opens up their minds to new cultures while teaching them a valuable skill set. But children can get bogged down in traditional learning strategies. Instead, use games to help them learn vocabulary in a way that is fun and interactive.
Crossword puzzles are an effective tool to help students learn French. Crosswords help them use vocabulary in a way that doesn't seem tedious. You can find interactive crosswords online, such as the one on the BBC's website (see Resources), or you can print them and assign them as worksheets for students to complete on their own. The crosswords can have themes, such as sports or food, to help teach specific vocabulary, or they can be more general in nature.
Create a board game or print one online that helps students learn French. One board game, called "Go Get It!", lets students use game pieces and dice to move around a board and learn vocabulary relating to animals, health care, clothes, shapes, food and people, among other things. The game requires one die or two dice, game pieces (these could be anything) and goal cards. If you create your own board game, you can use an existing board game board as a template.
Create a bingo card that helps students learn specific vocabulary. Instead of numbers, fill each square on the card with a pictorial representation of a word: a picture of a house to represent the noun "maison" or a picture of a man running for the verb "courir." Then, call out the vocabulary words and have students colour in or mark off the picture of the word if it is on their card. This game helps students recognise vocabulary words on their own.
A word seek game, best for students at the beginning of the French learning curve, allows them to learn vocabulary and become familiar with recognising French words. You can create a word search online using French words. To make the game more challenging, list the word in English on the list and have students find the French version of the word in the word search grid.
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