It’s a known fact that the best time to learn a language is childhood. While it’s easy for a child to learn the mother tongue, learning non-native languages like English can be difficult. While English is spoken widely in India—according to some estimates, India has the second-largest number of English speakers in the world and taught widely at almost all schools in the country—learning the language itself can be tough if one or both of the parents can’t speak the language well or the language is spoken at home, at least even intermittently.
However, there’s a way out in which you can teach your child English at home— during playtime with games.
A lot of children benefit from playtime. Games offer a fun-filled and relaxed atmosphere where children can practice using new words. It’s said that taking part in games and activities is an effective way to develop language and communication skills in children.
Here are some examples of games and playtime activities that can be useful to learn the language with fun.
Word Games: Word games help your children to improve their vocabulary. The games can be as simple as pointing toward items either at home, out of home, or even while driving. For example, you can tell your child “I am now going to wash the apple with water” or “This fan runs on electricity” or “We must drink water several times a day.” To make things interesting for the child, you can give more information about these words such as apples are amongst the most nutritious fruits one can eat or water is the most abundant resource on earth and every living being needs to drink water to survive. You can also play games like scrabbles or Pictionary as these will help them improve their vocabulary and communication skills. Scrabbles and Pictionary are available at your neighborhood book store or stationery shops.
English Newspaper: Englishnewspaper is one of the best ways to teach your child English. If you already get the newspaper at home, then you must read the newspaper with your child by your side and ask him to read at least one page by himself. You can tell him to ask you any doubt regarding language or words or sentences. With newspapers, they learn English as fast as they learn the language in the classroom. This includes weekly and monthly magazines devoted to politics, current affairs, business and economy, and sports as well as children’s magazines.
Books: Another way to teach English to children is to buy them age-appropriate books. Books could be anything they like- story, cartoons, general knowledge, poetry, or science. Every book has a new word that catches children’s attention. Children will also get attracted to the sentence formation and words used and will try to use that in their usage.
Cinema: Another way to teach your children the English language is to show them English cinemas with subtitles. Firstly the English used in these cinemas is top-notch and children will easily learn a lot of new words. Secondly, the subtitles will help them learn the authentic and varied language.
Games can be a lot of fun when played properly. Games can be made into an event, competition, or even into a family game.
Here are some games that you can play at home with your child or with other children to teach them English.
Idioms: In this game, you need to use every day, animal, and body parts idioms to help the child learn English. Idioms help children to express themselves expressively and creatively. Open this link to teach your child everyday idioms https://examples.yourdictionary.com/idioms-for-kids.html. You can form your sentences looking at the idioms and encourage your kid to use them in everyday conversations.
You need a Pen/Pencil, paper, and a container/bowl.
Game: Write down all idioms in a paper and pieces of paper and put them in a container/bowl. Pick a paper every day and tell your child the meaning of the idiom and tell him to use it several times in the day. Take for example the idiom “Give it a shot” which means to “try to do something.” You can tell your child to use the idiom many times in the day.
Fruit/Vegetable Naming Game: Keep a bunch of fruits or vegetables on a table and ask your child to tell the name of the fruits/vegetables loudly. If the child is small, just telling the name should be enough. If the child is older, the game can be turned into a sentence formation game and the child has to make sentences using the name of the fruit or vegetables. To make the game more interesting, hide the fruit bowl away from the child and ask the child to remember the names of the fruits.
You need a fruit basket, pen/pencil, and a notebook.
Game: Ask your child to write or you can write the names of fruits that are kept in the fruit bowl. If the child is old and capable of writing sentences, ask him/her to write a sentence about the fruit.
Sight Words with Chalk: This is an interesting game in which youwrite a word and then erase a few alphabets and write a completely new word. Children will be very excited to play this game and will easily remember the words.
You need colored chalk, duster, blackboard.
Game: Write aword on the blackboard and ask your child to read the word loudly. You can later remove/add new alphabets to form a completely new word. For example: Write a CAR on the board. Let your child read it. Later change the word to CARD/CARE. Again change to word to CARBON. Now you can shorten the word to make it ON. Later remove CAR and replace O with U. The new word will be BUN.
Another word you can try is a ROCKET. In this word, you can replace R with P and the word becomes Pocket. In the same way, remove ET from ROCKET and the new word is ROCKET. Remove R and ET and add SH and the new word you get is SHOCK.
Spellings in The Air
Some kids often find it difficult to remember or recall spellings while writing in their class or during exams. You can help your child overcome this difficulty by asking him/her to do a simple yet unique spelling activity. This will help them not just to remember to visualize but also to remember the spellings.
Game: In this simple game, all that you have to do is to ask your child to visualize a spelling and draw it in the air. For example, ask your child to draw and write his/her name in the air. Watch carefully the spellings they are using. Ask them to write random spellings to ensure that they know the spellings. This way they will remember all the spellings.
This is one of the easiest games that a child can play to learn English.
You need random items like toys, pencils, mugs, spoons and one handkerchief.
Game: Blindfold your child with the handkerchief and keep the random items in front of him/her on a table or in a tray. Ask them to identify the objects in front of them by touching and feeling. Tell them to name the item loudly so that they remember.
The word hunt game is an amazing game to help children learn English quicker. This game involves asking the child to pick up random pieces of words and paste them on cardboard.
You need cardboard, glue stick, scissors, old newspapers, and magazines.
Game: Use scissors to cut words from newspapers and magazines and put them all in a bowl or box. Now ask your child to pick up a word from the bowl or box and paste it on the cardboard. For example, you can cut words like names, animals, fruits, vegetables, country or city name. Just speak a word and ask your child to pick out the word randomly and paste it with the help of the glue stick.
In this game, you ask your child/group of children to make words with the help of alphabet charts. It’s a very simple game and children love assembling the words.
You need cardboard, alphabets chart, scissors, and glue stick.
Game: Buy several English alphabet charts and cut alphabets individually. Put them in random in a bowl. Now give your child a word and ask him/her to paste the alphabets that make the word on the chart. This way they will remember to form sentences and will remember easily.
In this simple game, children learn to write words or names beginning with a letter. It’s a very simple game that kids will love to play.
You need notebooks and pens or pencils.
Game: This game can be played by many kids together or even by one child. Divide kids into smaller groups and give them notebooks and pens/pencils. Give them a letter and ask them to write any word they can remember using that letter. For example, give them the letter E and ask them to write all the words they know that start with E. This game will help them remember and think of as many words as possible.