Playing games is the best way for children to learn a second language! Children have fun while using vocabulary in a meaningful way. Some of the simplest games provide a wonderful opportunity to explore simple language in a second language!
Why use these games to teach a second language?
Simple games enable children of almost all levels of second language abilities to play along. If a child only knows colors in a second language, he can play Candy Land or Twister. If a child has just started learning numbers in a second language, Chutes and Ladders is a great game to reinforce numbers.
Check out these wonderfully fun, but simple games available on Amazon:
In our house, we have “Mandarin Hour” once a day– or at least we try for an hour, but sometimes it ends up being “Mandarin 15 minutes” instead and that is ok. The idea is that the children speak only in Mandarin for an allotted time each day. They can choose the activity (blocks, legos, games), but they need to speak only in Mandarin Chinese for that time.
In the video below, I chose the game Candy Land to illustrate how a child with more advanced speaking skills, my older son Lucas, can teach his younger sister. Lousha, colors in Mandarin Chinese.
I have written the pinyin and the simplified character on each of the cards so that my children see the writing as they play to get familiarized with the written forms of Chinese.
The following video captures and unscripted and unrehearsed video of my children playing Candy Land:
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