Kids need plenty of free time to explore their personal interests in the summer. Finding an English-speaking friend is probably the best summer homework your child can do. Are you worried about your child’s printing and spelling skills? Look for fun games and activities you can do with your child that won’t feel like work. Here are a few ideas to make printing practice fun.
1. Beach Sandman
This game is like Hangman, but instead of using pen and paper, use a stick and the beach!
a. Ask your child to think of an object in English. Your child may need to ask another adult or friend to help with the correct spelling.
b. Tell your child to count the amount of letters in the word. You child will then draw that number of spaces (small lines) in the sand in front of you using a stick. (This game works best in wet sand near the water’s edge.) (more…)
Do your young learners love singing, clapping, and dancing to the music? Young kids are natural music lovers. Research suggests that our taste for a specific kind of music gets stronger with age. In other words, when we’re young, we’re tolerant of many types of music.
Listeners of any age appreciate the unexpected when it comes to music. This is why we pay attention when we hear an acoustic song that we are used to hearing with electronic instruments. We also take notice when a female sings a song originally recorded by a man. Mixing things up, especially when it comes to music, is the key to staying interested!
Here is a fun activity to try with your young learners. It includes a drum craft followed by a singing activity.
Make Some Drums
Choose one of the following recipes for making handmade drums with your students. (more…)
Young kids often giggle when they see things that don’t seem quite right! Get your youngest English learners giggling (and learning) with these silly Odd One Out games and activities.
You will need: Whiteboard markers or chalk and a board
1. Think of a category or theme that you have been working on with your students, such as “shapes” or “animals”. Don’t tell the kids the theme.
2. Invite four students up to the board. (your first set of doodlers)
3. Choose three related words from your category (e.g., monkey, hippo, bear) and one unrelated word (e.g., can of soup). Assign all of the students at the board one of the words you chose. If they don’t know the word in English, you can translate it.
4. Before the students start drawing, spin them around once or twice (to get them a bit off balance).
5. Give the kids a short amount of time to create their drawing.
6. When the drawings are finished, ask the class this question:
Who’s the Dizzy Doodler?
In other words, which student drew the picture that doesn’t belong in this collection? Have your students identify each drawing as well as the category or collection the drawings belong in. Which category or collection would the odd picture belong in? (more…)
My daughter, who isn’t really into sports, recently told me that she only likes gym class when they get to play sports that their teacher invents, such as “benchball”. She was surprised to hear that basketball was created by a gym teacher, and that it used to be played with peach baskets. My son loves anything to do with sports, but right now he’s obsessed with a running race challenge he invented at school. “You get to make up a new name for yourself every day, and every day is a new season. You have to win five races in a row before you’re crowned the champion!”
The idea of inventing anything (and making up the rules) is something kids get really excited about. This is why so many kids love obstacle courses! The end of the school year is a great time to have play days with obstacle courses. You can celebrate all of the obstacles that your students have overcome! Obstacle courses are useful for language learners because they can review vocabulary related to sports equipment and actions. They can also practice giving, writing, and listening to instructions.
Whether you are a teacher or a parent, here is an Obstacle Course Activity to try with your young English learners :
First, teach the word “obstacle course” and consider how it relates to language learning:
How is learning a language like going through an obstacle course?
- It’s mentally challenging.
- You have to figure out how it works.
- You can’t move too quickly.
Next, talk about some of the specific obstacles language learners face:
What are the difficult parts (obstacles) in learning a language?
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” ~ Jane D. Hull
Dear ESL parents,
Is your child learning English? Are you an English learner yourself? The most important thing you can do to support your child’s language learning is to be involved. After all, parent involvement is the key to early literacy!
Think back to when your child learned his or her first language. You were your child’s first teacher! Parents teach their children their native language by talking to them, singing to them, reading to them, and keeping them close by during daily routines and interactions with others.
Parent involvement is crucial when it comes to learning additional languages as well. Here are five tips for supporting your children during their language-learning journeys.
1. Be a role model. Show that you care about learning English yourself. Read books, newspapers, and magazines in English. Tell your child, “I’m learning English too!” (more…)
Have you played the In My Suitcase memory game with your students? This is the game where you sit in a circle and the first student says,
“We are going on a trip, and in our suitcase I will bring…”
After the first student names one thing, the next student repeats the sentence, names his/her classmate’s item, and adds an additional item to the suitcase. For example:
“We are going on a trip, and in our suitcase we will bring a map, and a cell phone.”
As the game continues, the packing list gets bigger and harder to remember.
The suitcase game is excellent for practising nouns, but you can play a similar game to practice using the simple present tense to describe daily routines. Write the following starter sentences (time markers) on the board: (more…)
One of the best things I’ve seen implemented at my children’s elementary school is called DPA. This stands for “daily physical activity”, and it takes place in the classroom or hallway at a set time each day. During the brain break, students and teachers move away from their desks and dance to a song that some of the older kids have choreographed. Not only does DPA amuse the students and give them something to look forward to, it boosts the energy of the teachers and unites the school.
Besides dancing, there are tons of games for keeping young kids active during the school day. Here are some ideas and adaptations to try with your young English learners:
Drip, Drip, Drop – This is a variation of Duck, Duck, Goose, and is played outdoors on a warm day. The teacher brings out a big bucket of water and a sponge. The students sit in a circle. The teacher gets the sponge quite wet, so that it drips a bit. One student is chosen to stand up and walk on the outside of the circle. She says “Drip, Drip, Drip…” as she drips a bit of water on each classmate’s head. Instead of tapping one person’s head and shouting “Goose!” she shouts “Drop!” and squeezes the sponge out on her victim. The victim with the wet hair chases the sponge holder around the circle, trying to reach the empty spot in the circle first. Try some other variations, such as (more…)
It’s Map Time: Using a Map with Young Learners
I was excited to see a tweet today from an ESL teacher in Iowa (@sturgeonesl) who is going to try using Sprout English materials with her young ELLs.
I immediately visited Ms. Libby’s blog and read a post about how she’s setting up her very first classroom. In her post, there are pictures of bookshelves, a calendar, and a map. Ms. Libby wrote:
“My roommate let me borrow this large map for my room. While right now I’m not planning on really doing anything with the map, I think it’s a good thing to showcase in an ELL room. And who knows, maybe it will come in handy later this year.” (more…)
We’re so excited about the launch of Sprout English, a resource site for teachers and parents of young learners of English. Let us tell you a little bit about who we are and what we do!
Who Are We?
We are a part of Red River Press, a company dedicated to quality educational websites and apps. We used to be called English Avenue, but we’ve undergone a big transformation that includes a beautiful new website, and we are now Sprout English! We feel that there continues to be a lack of resources available for young learners of English, and it’s our mission to change that. We will do for teachers and parents of young English learners what ESL-Library has done for teachers of teens and adults, which is to provide a wealth of valuable resources to make teaching easier and learning fun! (more…)