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Using Gaming for Learning a Different Language

5 Fun Language Learning Activities

Guest article written by Rachel Perez from at North Star Inbound.   

Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to have Rachel Perez compile a list of some games to use for learning a different language. Be sure to check out some other modern hobby games that can be great for ESL or language learning on our website.

Learning another language is a beneficial skill that helps everyone. Starting this journey as a child enhances the mind, boosts creative thinking, and gives them a head start in life.

To ensure your kids want to learn, turn their language lessons into fun activities. From board games to group activities, enjoyable lessons make learning easier.

These games make great alternatives to video games and TV. They also teach your kids language skills at the same time. Here are five fun language learning activities for your kids and the entire family!

1. Scrabble in Another Language

Few games are more synonymous with words and language than Scrabble. Known worldwide, it is available in more than 30 languages, and braille!

With different languages come different letters and Scrabble letter scores. Nearly every tile score is available online. If you have the tiles, simply apply the target language’s tile scores to your existing tiles.

If your language contains extra letters or other necessary tiles, then get creative! Create homemade tiles with the family. Use wood, cardboard, or even paper to expand the existing tileset to suit your new language.

In the era of socially-distanced classrooms, Scrabble games over a Zoom call with the class are a great tool to keep kids interested and engaged. And with responsible and monitored internet use, kids have made friends over Scrabble with fellow language learners across the world.   

Building words in Scrabble eventually leads to speaking in complete sentences. However, when kept fun and engaging through a game, your kids can learn language skills as they play. 

2. Kloo

Unlike most other board games, Kloo is a language learner’s game. It is available in English, Spanish, French, and Italian. Recommended for kids as young as 8, it also makes a great game to play with the family.

The basis of Kloo involves building sentences out of word cards. Every word card played earns one point. The magic happens with the cards themselves. Each card features a word or phrase. After a random deal, players have potential phrases in their hands to play for major points.

Kloo is educational from the beginning. For instance:

  • The game plays in one’s target language.
  • Each card features color cues to help guide sentence creation.
  • An easy game, each play is rewarding and fun.

For an added twist and incentive to learn, cards that a player can’t translate go to an unknown word pile. Players who translate a word from this pile earn extra points when played. And with 16 ways to play, everyone will find their perfect game. 

3. Foreign Language Bingo


The classic game of bingo makes a great language learning activity. These printable pages come in English, Spanish, and French. With over 35 pages to choose from, there is plenty of bingo to go around.

Consider some alternative uses of these bingo boards, including:

  • Scavenger hunt lists to find items around the house.
  • Trivia game answers—just make up the questions!
  • Matching games between the boards. Your kids will make connections between all three languages.

Foreign language bingo is a great game to play as a family, as well. Read the words in English, and have your kids find the appropriate Spanish or French word. Stronger readers should read the words in the appropriate language. This is an excellent tool for building pronunciation and speaking skills.

The included sheets come in many themes, such as animals and food. However, feel free to create additional sheets to enhance the lessons further. As your kids’ language skills grow, the activities they use to learn will grow with them.

4. Polygot

Polyglot is another board game designed to teach languages. It comes available to play in the following six languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Yiddish

Like Kloo, Polyglot features cards with words or phrases in the various languages. Following spaces on the game board, players spell words, create sentences, and translate phrases to move on. 

The board itself offers three game paths of different difficulties: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Plus, the players determine other rules, such as what language to use, how to play the cards, and more.

Though it is out of print, Polyglot is still found online from various sellers. For those looking to combine language learning with board games, you can’t beat this venerable classic.  

5. Mad Libs

Mad Libs is a wonderful party game that is also a great tool to teach vocabulary. Even when played for fun, Mad Libs offers plenty of linguistic benefits. The act of forming sentences and recognizing different parts of speech is highly beneficial, especially when learning another language.

Guided toward children and beginning learners, these Mad Libs sheets provide stories in English, French, and Spanish. Just like traditional Mad Libs, each sheet features a story with several blanks. The blank spaces indicate a specific part of speech to use. In other words, the sheets specify if the word should be a color, place, verb, or more. Best of all, choosing different words changes the entire story.

Mad Libs is a great tool for teaching common parts of speech, and how they differ in different languages. By comparing the stories in English, Spanish, and French, your kids will have access to a wealth of vocabulary education.

Final Thoughts

Language learning is easier with games and fun activities. These printable sheets are just a few fun possibilities to help your kids learn. By having these sheets on hand, though, you’ll always have a fun, family-friendly language activity nearby.



Guest article written by Rachel Perez from at North Star Inbound.   

Rachel Perez is a Media Relations Associate with North Star Inbound. An honors graduate of New York University, Rachel writes passionately about unique ways to improve our children's education, both in the classroom and at home. When not writing, she enjoys gardening with her younger cousins and soaking up the Florida sunshine. 

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