Children love games! When they have fun, children forget that they are practising English and are just happy to play. Most of the games here are very easy even if you don't speak much English.
Role-play games, like the café game, will help your child to use language in a real situation. Games that practise vocabulary are great to help your child remember new words or to review words.
This is a sheet of helpful language (PDF, 200KB) from the video. Use it to help you do the activities with your child.
Play cafés. You can make a café with real or toy food and practise the vocabulary when you set it up, e.g. What's this? Find a biscuit. If you want your child to practise writing words, make a simple menu. In English-speaking countries, people use please and thank you a lot.
Take it in turns to be the waiter and the customer.
What would you like?
Can I have a sandwich, please?
Can I have some more coffee, please?
How much is a coffee?
Here you are.
No, sorry. We haven't got any sandwiches.
This cake is delicious.
I don't like pizza!
Do you like biscuits?
You can play shopping games like this with clothes or toys.
Funny fashion show
Get out some fun dressing-up clothes and have a funny fashion show. Your children can dress up and introduce each other. They can say what they are wearing and say something about the clothes.
This is Sophie. Today she's wearing red shorts and a very big T-shirt. Perfect for a sunny day.
This is Martin. Today he's wearing a jumper and a pair of green trousers. Perfect for a cold day.
Use cards with two of every picture or with words and matching pictures.
Put the cards face down on the table.
Take it in turns to turn over two cards and say what is on them.
When a player turns over two pictures that are the same, or a word that goes with a picture, they keep the cards.
Play until the cards have all gone. The winner is the one with the most cards at the end. You can print these pictures (PDF, 3MB).
Order the words
Have a set of picture cards each. Shuffle your cards and read them out in order. The other person listens and puts their cards in the same order. Then compare your cards to see if they match.
Group the words
Make word cards with lots of different words that your child knows in English. The words must be from a few different vocabulary sets. Tell your child to put the words into two or three groups. They can group them in any way they like. Ask your child to list the things in each group and explain what this group is called – they may need to use their own language to explain. For example:
snow, Monday, zebra, crocodile, rain, Tuesday, monkey
Animals: zebra, crocodile, monkey
Weather: snow, rain
Days: Monday, Tuesday
Odd one out
Say four words where three are part of the group but one is not, e.g. dog, cat, table, rabbit. Ask your child to say which word is the odd one out (table). Make the odd one out more difficult, e.g. four-legged animals and a two-legged animal; odd numbers and an even number; words that start with 'b' and a word that starts with 'c'.
Take it in turns to describe a monster. Both of you draw the monster in secret. When you have finished, compare pictures. For example:
My monster has a big head and long hair. He has three green eyes and a small blue nose. He has a very big mouth with two teeth. He has a small pink body. He has six green arms and one red leg.
Use toy animals. Put eight or more (more is harder) different animals on a tray and check your child knows the words. Let your child look for 10 seconds then tell them to close their eyes. Take away one animal. Tell your child to look and say which animal has gone. You can use other vocabulary groups from your child's course book, e.g. food, clothes, toys.