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Games to play with children to help improve their French

From the Alphabet ball game to Chinese whispers, there are plenty of fun ways to learn languages with youngsters this summer

Language learning should be fun - especially for children Pic: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

With the summer holidays just around the corner, we look at games to help keep children amused and learning French.

Où est Georges? 

With a group of children, this game is perfect to get them to practise introducing themselves. 

One member of the group leaves the room. While they are outside, designate one child Georges. 

When the person comes back into the room, they sit in the middle of the circle and choose someone to ask, “Comment tu t’appelles?”. If the person asked is not Georges, they reply “Je m’appelle + their real name”. If the person selected is Georges, they reply “Je m’appelle Georges” and the game is finished. 

The guesser has three tries to find Georges. 

Read also: Films to watch with children and improve your French

Chinese whispers 

This is a great one to keep children entertained while practising their listening and speaking skills. 

Start with a simple phrase or word and see where it ends up as it is passed between ears. 

Alternatively, if a few people are playing, split them into two groups and put them in lines. 

Get the teams to race up the lines whispering the phrases or words to each other. 

When the word gets to the front, the person must write it down and then move to the back to read the next word. This way everyone gets a chance in different positions. 

Alphabet ball game

This one is a simple one for practising vocabulary. 

It consists of throwing the ball between you and giving a new word of vocabulary for each new letter of the alphabet. 

Once you have gone all the way through, you can go backwards through the alphabet too. You can also define the category to practise specific sections of vocabulary.  

Read also: Games to help improve your French language skills

Who am I? 

People love this game in English, and transferring it to French works really well and is good for practising yes or no questions.

Give each person a sticky note with the name of someone they will know. They can then ask yes or no questions to try and guess the person. 

Hangman 

This is a classic and a good one for teaching new vocabulary. 

You can choose any word because even if they do not know it, they can guess the letters and you can then explain the meaning of the word. 

The fact that you can play it anywhere is another benefit to hangman. 

Jacques a dit

This is the French answer to Simon Says.

It is good for both listening and speaking practice as well as giving instructions.

Like in the English version, when someone says “Jacques a dit” followed by a command, everyone else must do the command. However, when someone gives a command without saying “Jacques a dit”, the rest of the group do not do the action. 

Tear-off bingo 

Designed to help practise numbers in another language, tear-off bingo requires paper and some pens. 

Cut paper into bingo strips and fold them so they each have 7-8 boxes. 

Give one to each player and ask them to write a different number in each box. Give a limit - for example, 0-20, 20-40 etc depending on what numbers you want to practise.

Then proceed to call out numbers. If the number called is at the top or bottom of a player’s strip, they can rip it off. This continues until one player is left with no numbers and calls bingo.  

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