We all want our children to become fluent and confident speakers. Practice is the key. Try playing some of the word games introduced below as a family…

The following games can be played with any number of players and with minimal preparation.

1. Popcorn storytelling! Players sit in a circle. Somebody gives the group a starting sentence, for example, “Once upon a time, a cute green lizard…”. Each player adds to the story based on what the previous player said. This is a great way to improve your listening and speaking skills. See where the story takes you!

2. Twenty questions helps your child with forming questions. One player thinks of a word and says what category it belongs too, e.g. animals. Other players take turns asking “yes” or “no” questions to guess the word. The winner is the person who guesses the word first. If nobody guesses the word within their 20 questions, the player who thought of the word is the winner.

3. Taboo is an excellent way to develop the ability to describe things. It’s easy to make. To play it, you’ll need:

  • cards with a key word  (e.g. football) and three “taboo” words (soccer, sport, goal). Sets of cards can easily be found online
  • a timer
  • pen and paper to keep score

You need at least 4 people to play the game. Cards are placed face down. A timer starts when a player from Team A picks a card. The player then tries to explain the keyword to their teammates without saying any of the taboo words e.g. “Manchester United play this.” If a teammate says the keyword the player picks the next card. If the player says a taboo word someone from team B shouts “Taboo!” and team A must move to the next word. Parts of the keyword (e.g. foot and ball) are also taboo. You cannot use gestures, sounds or mime. There are no penalties for wrong guesses. You get one point for correct guesses and minus one point if a taboo word is used.

4. The Yes/No Game is also played with a timer. A player is asked a series of quickfire yes/no questions e.g. “Are you a boy?” or “Do you like ice cream?” by the other participants. They must answer the questions without saying “yes” or “no”. Instead they may respond with “Absolutely!”, “Not really”, etc. They cannot nod or shake their heads or take long pauses. If the player says “yes” or “no” the other participants shout “Dong!” If the player can survive for 60 seconds they win the game.

Why not try out some of these games and help your child become a confident speaker!

Many more activities to improve vocabulary and develop speaking can be found here.