Esl Game: Fish For Poisson D’avril

The “Poisson d’Avril” is a French tradition observed on April 1st, similar to April Fools’ Day in other countries. Literally translated as “April Fish,” it involves people playing light-hearted pranks on each other, often involving the placement of paper fish on someone’s back without their knowledge.

The origins of this tradition are somewhat uncertain, but it’s believed to date back to the 16th century when the start of the New Year was celebrated around April 1st, rather than January 1st as it is now. The shift in the calendar resulted in confusion, with some people continuing to celebrate the New Year in April. Those who adhered to the new calendar would mock them by giving them fake gifts and, eventually, by attaching fish to their backs.

Esl Game: Fish For Poisson D’avril

April Fool's Day in France - ESL game

Today, the tradition lives on in France and other French-speaking countries as a lighthearted way to celebrate April 1st, often involving playful pranks and jokes among friends, family, and colleagues.

The first of April this year is a jour férié (Lundi de Pâques) so you’ll have to save this activity for the week after… which doesn’t make it any less fun! 

The activity involves arts and crafts galore! Make sure there are some materials around the house that will allow the children to be as colourful and creative as possible. 

Whilst playing into a French tradition, this activity is a great way to introduce some new vocabulary: 

  • Fin,
  • Scales,
  • Mouth,
  • Gills,
  • Eye, 
  • All the materials you use, like scissors, glue, ruler, colouring pencils etc.
  • As well as colours, sizes, and shapes.

Materials Needed:
– Paper
– Pencils or markers
– Scissors (careful!)
– Glue or tape 
– Decorative materials like stickers, glitter, or coloured pencils

ESL Game: Fish for Poisson d’Avril – Instructions for you & the children:

Poisson d'avril in France - ESL game

Esl Game: Fish For Poisson D’avril

Step 1: Draw the Fish Body

Begin by drawing the outline of a fish’s body on a piece of paper. Start with a curved line for the body and then draw a tail at one end. You can make your fish as big or small as you like!

Step 2: Add the Fins

Draw two fins on either side of the fish’s body. These can be simple triangular shapes or more elaborate, depending on your creativity.

Step 3: Draw the Eye

Add a small circle near the front of the fish’s body for the eye. You can make it big and round for a friendly fish or small and sharp for a more mischievous look!

Step 4: Decorate

Now comes the fun part – decorating the fish! Use markers, coloured pencils, or crayons to add colour and patterns to your fish. You can make it striped, spotted, or even rainbow-coloured – let your imagination run wild!

Step 5: Cut Out Your Fish

Carefully cut out your fish along the outline. Take your time to make sure you cut smoothly and follow the shape of the fish.

Step 6: Attach a String

If you’d like to hang your fish up, punch a small hole near the top of the fish’s body and thread a piece of string or yarn through it. Tie a knot at the end to secure it.

Step 7: Display Your Fish

Now that the fish is ready, it’s time to display it proudly! You can use it as a decoration for your Poisson d’Avril pranks.

Bonus Tip: Get creative with your fish by adding extra embellishments like sequins, glitter, or even googly eyes for a fun and whimsical touch!

Esl Game: Fish For Poisson D’avril

Drawing and arts & crafts can be highly effective tools for helping children learn a new language for several reasons:

Visual Learning: Drawing and arts & crafts provide visual stimuli that can aid in language acquisition. Children can associate words with images, making vocabulary more memorable and easier to learn.

Hands-On Learning: Engaging in hands-on activities like drawing and crafting allows children to actively participate in the learning process. This kinesthetic approach helps reinforce language concepts and improves retention.

Creativity and Imagination: Drawing and arts & crafts encourage creativity and imagination, which are essential for language learning. Children can express themselves freely through art, leading to more authentic and meaningful language practice.

Contextual Learning: When children create artwork related to a specific theme or topic, they are learning vocabulary in context. For example, if they draw a picture of animals, they can label each animal in the target language, reinforcing vocabulary related to that theme.

Multisensory Experience: Drawing and arts & crafts engage multiple senses, including sight, touch, and sometimes even smell and taste. This multisensory experience enhances language learning by providing different avenues for processing and internalising linguistic information.

Fun and Enjoyment: Learning a new language through drawing and arts & crafts can be enjoyable and fun for children. It allows them to learn in a relaxed and stress-free environment, promoting positive associations with language learning, which is really important for us at Babylangues. 

Collaboration and Communication: Drawing and arts & crafts activities involve collaboration and communication with you as an instructor, between siblings, and eventually with parents or other family members when they show off their crafts. This social interaction provides opportunities for language practice and reinforces language skills through conversation and collaboration. 

Enjoy drawing your Poisson d’Avril fish and have a fantastic April 1st filled with laughter and playful pranks!