The Best Games to Practice and Learn a Language


Learning a language should be fun!

It doesn’t matter which language you’re learning, and it honestly doesn’t matter what age you are. If you’re having fun, you’ll remember the lesson better. Adults enjoy playing games and laughing just as much as children do, but we sometimes forget that.

Whether you’re teaching a language, or learning one yourself, games are a really fun way to do “homework” without feeling like a drag.

For example, I Spy is a great game to promote conversation. It’s free, it’s easy, and you kind of trick the student into talking. You can play this anywhere, and in any language, whether you’re in the classroom or in the car.

I remember being in Spain and looking for towels. I couldn’t remember how to say the word “towel.” I was trying to describe them by saying the words I could remember. I told her “it’s something I use to dry myself off.” In essence, I was actually playing I Spy with the her!

Another quick, fun game that’s also FREE is Hangman. I love playing Hangman with my students in English and Spanish. It’s a great way to practice letters, vocabulary and spelling. It’s also great for two people or group lessons if you put students in teams.

Any of the following games work fabulously in an ELL class, as well as a foreign language class. Instead of describing the words in English, you simply describe them in the language you study. Bam! It’s a great way to do family/friend time while keeping those tongues sharp.

Apples to Apples Junior (green box) is a great game for young and adult learners. The words are perfectly conversational; however, it’s not too easy.

 

 

 

 

The adult version of Apples to Apples (red box) is also a lot of fun, but there are a lot of proper nouns in there like “Oprah” and “World War II,” which might be more difficult for younger speakers to explain even in their native language.

 

 

 

I love Scrabble for vocabulary practice. Plus, it’s super fun if you’re as competitive as I am!

It’s a great game for up to four people, but you have to be careful that you don’t spend the whole time silently thinking of words to use. We are practicing language after all!

 

 

Hedbanz is a fun game where you put a card on your head. You can either practice asking questions to find out the word on the card or you can have teammates describe it to you. It’s a fun, silly game to get you talking no matter how you play it. There are adult and kid versions, so you can choose based on difficulty level.

 

 

Taboo is another favorite of mine for private and group lessons. It’s even more difficult than the games listed above, as there are words that you cannot use to describe the word you’re looking for.

It’s a wonderful game for EFL classes and there are so many variations that you could use to get students talking. Even if you don’t use it for language practice, it’s just a really fun game to play.

There are so many ways to learn a language and you don’t have to feel like your only option is workbook exercises. The best way to learn is by using a variety of different methods, so why not use some really fun ones?

Are there other games you love that help you with your language skills or are there other games you love to use in the classroom? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

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