If you want to teach a child a new language, it’s best to start before they are six years old because they can learn up to 14,000 words before they are six when they are spoken this language by their parents. If the parents only speak one language, this is where a language teacher can help and the more exposure to another language, the better. Now, what’s important to know is that by just switching on the radio and letting the children listen to it when they don’t understand the stream of unknown words is not going to lead to any result. So how do they learn then? They will learn by you talking to them about the things that matter to them: things they can touch, feel and see. What is also important is that making mistake in a foreign language is not a problem and is an indicator that they are trying to figure out the exceptions to the rules. For instance, if a child says ‘to broom the floor’ or ‘to scissor something’, it’s not such a bad thing, because he/she is learning that some nouns can be used as verbs: a mop – to mop, a hammer – to hammer. So, not to worry! You might also ask, but what about the abilities of your child? Yes, perhaps when children are still babies, not all of them learn in the same way and not at the same speed. But guess what? The still arrive at the same destination. So if you persist with teaching the children about something that they find interesting, be sure, they will learn.
If you teach children a foreign language, why not read about what activities they would find interesting? But before you do that, I’m going to suggest a very simple activity: a game of pelmanism. All you need to do is prepare 2 sets of 20 picture cards on cardboard. Let’s say, animal cards. To prepare them, find some pictures online, copy them into a Word documents and once you have enough pictures, print them out and cut them out. The idea is to place the cards face down and tell the children they have to pick one and say what animal they see in the target language (I am assuming here that you have already presented these words to them a couple of times but would like to reinforce what you have taught them). They then have to pick another card of the table and if they match, they put these two cards on the side. The more they manage to collect, the better. This game is good with 1-5 children. Be careful to encourage and help them because they might lose interest if they feel they are not winning.
Here is a link to Youtube where I am showing you how to play Pelmanism:
Here is a link that has many activities for teaching a foreign language:Activities for English language classes
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