Barnakademin's Blog about Babysitting

Top 5 vocabulary games to play with a bilingual child

Language development
We at Barnakademin have studied and explored a lot about being bilingual parents and raising bilingual children. We have gathered lots of tips and facts for making the life of bilingual parents much easier and more relaxed.

In this article, we would like to share with you 5 popular game activities we recommend to our bilingual babysitters. It can help you to improve your kids' vocabulary in a funny way. We all understand that learning a language is not always pure fun but you can make it exciting through a game. It can be much fun when you both enjoy it! 

So here are the top 5 vocabulary games that will help your kid learn new words in the target language at ease.

1. Ball game

This one is our favorite. No matter how old they are, kids love ball games. So why not use this fact for learning new vocabulary in the second language. The kids learn new words or repeat the words they know with a quick reaction.

  • You throw the ball to the kid and say the word in the main language. It can be any word from the vocabulary. Possible categories are – food, fruits, vegetables, furniture, parts of body or face, animals, etc
  • The kid catches the ball, says the word in the minority language and throws the ball back to you.
  • You can do it vice versa after some time. It feels like the kid can check you if you know the name of the word in the minority language.

Playing games with bilingual kids

2. Ball game – eatable/not eatable

This may be a possible continuation of the previous game. The game not only teaches new words but also gives kids the opportunity to divide the words into two general categories quickly (things we can eat and things we cannot eat).

  • You throw the ball to the kid and say the word in the minority language.
  • If the word is eatable, the child catches it and throws the ball back to you.
  • If the work is not eatable, the child does not catch the ball but bounces it back to you with his hands.

3. Keep it going

The kid learns new words for objects and things that surround him. Make your way from preschool/ school a game. Name all the objects you see around (tree, street, streetlamp, car, bird, flower, butterfly, house, snow, etc) in the minority language.

  • Take turns: you name a word, the child names a word.
  • After kids memorize the words makes the game a little more complicated. Make the word a phrase. Add one more word to describe the first word. For example you say “ car”, the kid says “red”. Or you say “tree” and the kid say “big”
  • Turn the phrase into a small sentence. “We go home”, “I see a cat”, “I like a red car”, “The bus is blue”, etc

Learning language with bilingual kids

4. What am I

The game teaches the kid new words to describe the object. He will learn new adjectives and verbs that you use to describe the object through this game. You can play this game at home.

  • Ask your child to close his eyes, and choose an object in the room (this can be a toy, a fruit, a book etc) and hide it behind your back.
  • When the child opens his eyes, you start giving him hints on what this object is. The hints should describe the object, telling if it is small or big, what color is the object, what it is used for. (I am small, I am of blue color, you can eat me, I am shiny, etc.)
  • Give the child as many hints as possible until he guesses what this object is.
  • Try to start with simple descriptions. Later you will notice that the child will be able to understand more complicated descriptions and words.

5. Stickers on items

We know it will be a little mess in the house, but stickers are always fun to play with. Just remember yourself in your childhood. Besides, stickers in this case are a very important visual aid for your child. The fun thing with stickers is to note how soon you can remove an item so that the child already knows the word for this object in the minority language.

  • You buy a list of empty stickers.
  • Together with your kid you sit down and write a few words in the minority language on each sticker. One word per sticker. For example – Refrigerator, dishwasher, spoon, table, bed, door, etc.
  • You give the child one sticker, name the object written on this sticker, and the child should place the sticker on the right object.
  • You can make it even more fun by placing the sticker on the wrong objects yourself. The child should then correct you, removing the sticker from the wrong object to the correct one.

funny way to learn a new language

We will continue to share with you what interesting and fun ideas for learning new vocabulary there are! Keep reading us. We will also be glad if you can give us feedback on what worked well with your kid.

Enjoy these games together with your child!

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