Language studies have more benefits than the obvious. Besides improving literacy skills and improving employment and career prospects, learning a new language has benefits that may not be visible or measurable but are equally important if not more.
The efforts that go into learning a language strengthen the part of the brain responsible for memory, speech, and sensory perception. They also help in developing the critical thinking and analytical skills of children. To derive the benefits, the process of learning does not have to be strenuous and stressful. Taking it step by step consistently is sufficient, but you can also make it fun using your creativity.
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English is one of the top three languages spoken most around the world. It is the language used for most international summits. Some of the largest and most renowned universities use English as the language in which they conduct lessons. Scores of resources, online and offline, are available in this language. You open up so many opportunities for your children when you help them master this language.
If you are looking for ways to inject some fun into English lessons, here are a few creative ways to do so.
7 Creative Ideas To Make Learning English Fun!
1. Incorporate story time
Children love stories. Strike that. Everyone loves stories. Learning and teaching a language with the help of stories is not new; it is a time-tested method adopted worldwide. While homeschooling, some time before bed can be the perfect chance to indulge in stories filled with wonder, adventures, and excitement. If you are teaching English at school, a few minutes before the bell would be a good time to narrate a story.
Reading to children is a common practice. As your children grow older, they can tell you stories too. Making up stories helps sharpen their imagination. It doesn’t have to be limited to fictional stories. Ask them to share some noteworthy events from their day in English. It develops their linguistic skills and recalling power.
Another way to incorporate stories these days is to utilize apps like Audible. The children can listen to stories read aloud on such apps. These apps may prove especially useful to working parents. Such apps can also be incorporated into classroom activities.
Older children can choose and purchase story books that they find interesting. Encourage them to dedicate some time to reading.
2. Have fun with learning apps
These days most children can use apps even before they learn to read. A multitude of apps available online help in learning English, especially grammar in a very interactive manner. These apps usually feature colorful and intuitive dashboards and some kind of levels that can be unlocked as the learner progresses. Apps may be free or paid, and basic or complex. Let your child select from some curated options.
3. Use drama and role-play
Dramas and role play offer simulations of real situations and help children learn how to use language in similar situations. These are safe settings in which children can explore and develop their verbal skills.
Use scripts that exist already or make up your own scripts for dramas before enacting them. If the children can be involved in writing the script, it would be ideal.
Role-play is best when it is spontaneous. You could assign a role to a child and assume another role yourself. Lay out the situation verbally and let the child take it from there. Dramas and role play help all kinds of learners – auditory, kinesthetic, and visual.
4. Play games
Children love to play. If you use a game as an English learning tool, you won’t have to coax the children to take part; they would do so willingly. You have quite a few options here:
- Use board games or similar offline games that have been specifically designed keeping in mind the learning needs of children. You could go with a classic like Scrabble.
- Design some vocabulary-building games yourself.
- Customize some existing games to help build vocabulary.
- Use digital games that have been designed for English learning. Utilise trending games like Wordle to your advantage.
- Let them play good video games that have instructions in English (the language of game-play is English).
- Even having chitchat over playing a strategy board game like chess or backgammon can help improve children’s vocabulary and communication.
5. Make the best use of real-life situations
If it is possible or convenient, you can take the children out. For example, take the children along on a trip to the supermarket. The younger ones can learn the names of food items. The older children can learn to converse with staff and ask for things they need. Similarly, a picnic in a garden can help them learn and converse about plants in English.
6. Allow children to watch age-appropriate videos, cartoons, and movies
You can choose age-appropriate videos and movies for the children to watch. Cartoons, movies, and other videos are excellent visual aids that can be used to supplement your English lessons. They increase language comprehension; the children can see and learn how authentic words and slang are used and in which context. The older children can also write movie reviews in English.
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The best kind of videos would be follow-along art or hobby/skills videos with instructions in English, as the children not only learn vocabulary and language but they also get to pick up a new skill or learn an art form. The children can even try video transcription for maximum learning.
7. Conversation partners or English-speaking friends
Having a partner to try conversations with, or an English-speaking friend whom they can share stories with, can prove extremely helpful for learning the language. You can arrange for play dates for younger children, while older and more capable children may be able to utilize language exchange websites or apps. The learners can talk on various topics and even try sharing jokes for better comprehension.
Learning And Mastering The English Language
By using some creativity, most activities can become opportunities for learning and mastering English. It is up to the parents or teachers to guide the children and help them take advantage of each big and small learning opportunity.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.