Do you find it difficult to get your child to speak English at home? All they may need is one of these engaging activities or games!

1. Get moving!

Start off the day with an exercise routine like Simon Says

Everyone follows Simon’s directions, e.g. Simon says, ‘Run on the spot’, but they should only follow the instructions if ‘Simon says’ is included. Everyone takes turns being Simon. You can also make it trickier by confusing them with the wrong action (e.g. touching your nose when you ask them to touch their chin).

This encourages them to listen carefully and since they are responding with their entire body, they are fully involved.

2. Table talk – I Have Never…

Try “I Have Never” as a conversation starter at the dinner table. Everyone starts with five fingers in the air. The first person names something they have never done (e.g. I’ve never cooked a meal on my own). Those who have done that activity put one finger down and say something about the last time they did that activity. The last person to have a finger up is the winner!

You can easily adapt this activity to other prompts, for example:

  • I wouldn’t be able to survive without…

3. Create your own board game

Board games are a great way to stimulate conversation while encouraging a sense of competition. Personalize your own board game by printing out a template from here (there are detailed instructions are on the website). 

It’s also adaptable – you can write questions, riddles, or grammar points in each box. Be creative about the special boxes to land on – e.g. move in any direction, do the chicken dance, etc.

4. Make your own comic strip

Children are naturally creative, and they love stories – funny ones, scary ones or exciting ones! Read a story together, then encourage them to write their own comic strip! If they are stuck on ideas, let them play around with this online comic generator.

Of course, traditional pencil and paper works too, just print this out. If your child is up for a challenge and would like to try writing a whole book, here’s an excellent template to use.

5. Charades

This is a fun-filled family activity that will give you plenty of opportunity to speak English (and practice deductive reasoning). Simply download the “Charades!” (FatChicken Studios) app from Google Play or the App store and choose a category, such as “Animal Kingdom”. The player guessing holds the phone to their foreheads, so that the others can see the word. The others describe the word which will give the kids more opportunity to use English. If they guess correctly, tilt the phone downwards. Flip the phone upwards to skip a difficult word. If you have a larger group, you could play in teams!

So, the next time you want to have some fun with your child, try one of these activities! Remember – you must use English!