How to teach a child English
What Makes A Great Teacher?
Are you wondering how to teach a child English?
The best teachers make even seemingly mundane things such as getting from A to B exciting! After a long day sitting still at school, children often have lots of energy to burn off, and what better way to do this than playing some fun games before getting home to, you guessed it, more play (and maybe some homework too).
Games are also the perfect way for young children to learn language, just like they learnt their mother tongue. As the children start to pick up the language more and more, the games you play together can also become more and more complex, and likely you’ll lose any initial control you had of them in favour of the kids’ more creative minds!
Games To Play On The Way Home From School
Until you get to that stage though, here’s our top pick of games to play with the children on the way home from school:
Singing – How To Teach A Child English
Children love to sing, so clear your throat and teach them your favourite English language songs! And I’m not talking about the latest Dua Lipa hit, think more nursery rhymes and lullabies; these are made to be catchy and easy for the children to remember and repeat back to you. The best advice we’d give is to start with one song – if you get the bus home ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ might well be the perfect choice! Once you’ve got this down, then add the next song, gradually building up your repertoire as you spend more and more time with the children.
Don’t worry about your singing voice! Kids don’t care about that sort of thing – they just want to have fun with an instructor who is happy to play with them. Being energetic and silly is all that counts: make it into a game! Who can sing in the weirdest voice? How high/low pitched can you go? Who can make up the funniest actions to go with the song?
Counting Games – How To Teach A Child English
Luckily for French children, learning how to count in English is a doddle compared to the (infuriatingly) complicated numerical system used dans l’Hexagone. Nonetheless, practice makes perfect, so why not use the journey home to count every little thing you pass together. ‘How many cars do you see?’ is a great way to start, especially as the number is probably always changing! From there, you can always add in colours (‘How many blue cars do you see?’) and start using more specific descriptive words as the children’s vocabulary naturally develops.
Don’t Step On The Cracks
This is a game that kids of all ages love! The only rule is that none of you can step on the cracks on the pavements (sidewalks to our American instructors). When the children are a bit more used to speaking English, maybe introduce some fun forfeits: you could tap your heads or do a star jump if you mess up!
A list of games to play with children would not be complete without this classic. What better way to practice all the English that these kids are learning than by showing off that they can remember their favourite words? At the start, depending on the children’s level of language, this might be a rather tricky game, but stick with it and the more they pick up, the more fun you both will have. And anyway, some initial confusion with words can make the game equally as entertaining!
This game is also an extension of a really good practice to get into the habit of: talking about what you see. Whilst walking around/playing/eating, children will pick up language very quickly if the person they are with explains everything that they are doing or seeing. It may seem a little bit embarrassing at first, but trust us, the progress you’ll see in the children will make it more than worth it.
Hopscotch – How To Teach A Child English
Once you’re nearing home, it might be time to get the chalk out and get out that last burst of energy after school. Draw a hopscotch grid on the pavement outside the building and then start playing! Remember, you hop on the single numbers and jump with two feet on the pairs. Once you’ve played this a few times, see if the kids can say the number they’re hopping or jumping on as they go along.
TOP TIP: The best way to engage children is to join in all the games yourself! If they are unsure about new games or just don’t know how to play, you’re the best one to show them how it’s done, and how much fun playing in English can be. Don’t stress about making a fool about yourself, the kids will only find you funnier.
Babylangues Offers All Sorts Of Games To Keep The Fun Going!
Listen, we’ve done our homework and we know exactly what kids love and, more importantly, what they’d rather avoid. This is why we prefer play rather than more school-style learning. After a long day à l’école, the last thing children want to do is write: that’s why we have a toolkit with no writing allowed! Instead, let the kids’ imagination run wild, they can draw, put stickers everywhere and show you all of their favourite things. We also provide all our instructors with special cards to engage the children in play, as well as balloons because, well – who doesn’t like balloons?
There’s nothing we love more than for both our instructors and the families to be playing together and having fun! We know that being relaxed and creating a positive environment in which everyone feels safe to discover and explore is the real key to language learning, and we are much more interested in the children’s curiosity than ticking off arbitrary learning objectives.
And that’s our list. Apply to work at Babylangues to be an English instructor here: