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Five fun ways to teach English to children

Dernière mise à jour : 6 mai 2023

As someone who is not a school teacher, I always try to make sure that the children I take care of enjoy their time with me, and don’t see it as an extension of their school day.

At MES, we see our families up to four times a week giving us the time to tailor our sessions to the age, stage and learning style of each child.

It goes without saying that children learn most effectively when having fun, which is why I've put together my top five tips for keeping kids engaged, motivated and (appropriately!) challenged when learning English.

Kids learn through play, so the first tip is to always approach learning through games. Some good examples of this are activities like flashcard treasure hunts, where you hide images all over the room and the kids have to find the image that corresponds to the word you have given them.

It is also important to personalise the game to the child you are with. For example, I work with seven year old Théo who loves cars. Instead of asking him to match up flashcards with his hands, I like to ask him to drive his car over to the corresponding flashcard.

Some simple, successful, and fun activities done by the MES brothers and sisters have involved drawing, painting, building and even making things out of materials around the house, like old toilet rolls.

Arts and crafts can be a great way to introduce beginners - especially younger children - to learning English. It can introduce key vocabulary like numbers and colours.

It is also fun to take inspiration from relevant events, for example, holidays, birthdays, or any public holiday or festival. Again, this gives you a whole new set of vocabulary to explore, which can be discovered through all sorts of arts and crafts. For example:

  • Writing birthday and Christmas cards

  • Drawing Halloween characters or pumpkins

  • Designing Christmas trees, jumpers or presents

Recently, our brothers and sisters have been engaging with the season of Autumn, using the colours (as well as real leaves that have fallen from trees) to create artwork with their kids.

Another great activity I love to do with my kids is going on little trips, whether to the park or to a museum. Changing the location of the sessions changes the dynamic, making it feel more informal and friendly.

Without labelling an activity as being ‘to learn English’, it can be easy and fun to sneak in new words or phrases, especially for things that the kids can see around them. Another great thing about spending time at the park is that it provides an opportunity to practise conversation skills. For example we can teach questions like ‘are you ready to leave now?’ and the appropriate replies, which are easier for children to learn in practice.

Children learn using their senses, and, as teachers, the activities we do with kids must reflect this. Of course, the previously mentioned activities are all great examples of sensory activities. However, the most popular activity for English learning at MES is baking!

Baking is an activity that can be done with families with multiple siblings, which also allows you to introduce new English vocabulary in a practical environment.

As well as listening to instructions in English, older children can benefit from reading the recipes, and of course there’s the added bonus that you get to taste whatever you’ve baked at the end!

Some of our favourite simple recipes to try include shortbread and cupcakes.

Chocolate chip cookies

Learning a language is difficult, but teaching it doesn't have to be.

The most important thing is to engage the children, and a great way to do this is to step away from the flashcards and classroom exercises and do something active.

It's easy to think that doing activities like going to the park and baking are fun, but not productive.

However, I've seen first-hand that this is when my children are the most interested in learning English.

By allowing the kids to do activities that they enjoy, you can teach them vocabulary that you already know they have an interest in.

Interested in teaching English to children in Lyon? Check out our opportunities online.

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