INCORPORATING LANGUAGE SKILLS INTO BOARD GAMES

Today I thought I would share with you a few things we do to commit secondary language skills to memory. Our 4-year-old loves board games. He would prefer to play games all day long as opposed to doing ‘real’ schoolwork. Therefore we have come up with some creative and simple ways to incorporate and reinforce learned skills while having fun.

His top three favorite games as of late are:

Thomas & Friends Domino Game

Uno Moo

Clifford ABC Bingo

Incorporating language skills into a board game can be as simple or complicated as you wish to make it. Yesterday for example, we played Uno Moo. Each person had to say the color of the animal in Spanish before placing it on the hayloft door. For example, if I had a green chicken I would say, “the chicken is verde.” Our son would then go next, if his chicken was yellow he would say, “the chicken is amarillo.” As we advance in our Spanish skills we will increase the verbage used. For example, the chicken is yellow will then become, “el pollo es de color amarillo.”

Today we will be playing Clifford ABC Bingo. Instead of announcing the letters in English, we will be using ASL (American Sign Language). On Saturday we might play a round or two of Thomas & Friends Dominos. Before placing the domino piece on the table we will announce the color in French. The next day it might be in German. The day after in Italian.

If they become stumped, I might say, “Que’ es?” thereby asking them what’s this? Or I my query might be in French, “quelle est cette?” or in German, “was ist das?”.

My point being, it is very simple to reinforce learned skills while playing ordinary board games. You can also take the opportunity to drill numbers. When they deal out the cards, have them count in Spanish. Periodically throughout the game you could pause and have them count how many pieces they currently have, we might do that in German.

The most important thing to remember is to be creative and remember to have FUN!

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