Our children learn English at school from a young age – with some even starting basic language classes from as early as 3 years old. While classroom work is a great way to introduce them to the language, it’s also very important that they continue to practise English outside of school so that they progress.
Unfortunately homework is often quite boring for kids who just want to go out and play. We parents, on the other hand, know just how essential learning English is for success in later life and are always encouraging our children to improve their language skills. This can cause some tension at home and can even make English study seem like a punishment.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
As our young learner teachers will tell you, the secret to motivating children to practise English is to make it enjoyable and something that they look forward to doing.
To help you, we’ve put together a list of our favourite fun English learning websites for our youngest family members. We hope you have as much fun as your kids do!
Looking for something to entertain your teenagers? Here are five fun ways they can practise their English at home.
Most younger English language learners love singing songs and the Super Simple Songs channel on YouTube has some really great ones to choose from.
Among our favourites are Put on Your Shoes and The Pinocchio. If you click on the Show More button in the description, you can find the lyrics for the songs as well, so the whole family can sing along!
The Singing Walrus channel also has lots of fabulous songs that include actions to get your children dancing too. One of our favourites from this channel is The Action Song, which has the lyrics on screen. Plus, they also have some lovely videos to practise colours and numbers.
Fans of Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol should check out the Nick Jr website where you can find lots of online and downloadable activities. Print out pictures of your favourite characters to colour, listen and sing along to traditional English nursery rhymes, or help Dora the Explorer on her great roller skating adventure.
You can also watch other shows on the CBeebies website and find lots of interactive games to play. If your children like animals, they’ll love watching Andy’s Wild Adventures and there are pictures of his favourite animals for them to print and colour. You can download join the dots pictures of their favourite dinosaurs too and travel back in time with Andy to learn about dinosaurs like the triceratops and the T-Rex!
Learn English Kids on the British Council website has some wonderful activities for you to do at home with your children. For example, you can write a comic strip together with its easy-to-use programme; you choose the background, the characters, the text…there are lots of possibilities! And, you can even print the comic strip when it’s finished.
They also have lots of other activities divided by topic, so there’s something for everyone. If your son or daughter loves bugs, they can make a spider mobile for their bedroom or play a matching game to learn new vocabulary. If they prefer monsters, they can read jokes like:
What is a sea monster’s favourite dish? – Fish and ships!
Or, for kids who love stories, they can read about Ancient Egypt, pirates, magicians and more!
You can also check out the Nickelodeon site which has all their favourite series, including; SpongeBob Squarepants, iCarly, Rabbids Invasion and Winx Club. Each includes trivia games, video clips and photos. Interestingly, if your child is interested in coding, they can learn how to code with SpongeBob and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
ESLgamesplus has lots of interactive games to help your children practise vocabulary and grammar. They can practise body parts in the crocodile board game, conjugate the present simple with sentence monkey or play a memory game to revise vocabulary. You can search by topic or activity type, plus they have lots of downloadable resources like flashcards and board games if you prefer to spend less time in front of a screen.
There are also some fun activities on the BBC Bitesize website. Although these are aimed at children who are at school in the UK, the KS1 literacy page has some interesting games to help children with spelling, punctuation and other aspects of English. You could also look at the Maths and Science pages as there are activities there which they might enjoy such as multiplication games or short videos to learn more about electricity.
If your children are fans of Cartoon Network shows like Adventure Time or The Amazing World of Gumball, you can find lots of fun games and quizzes on the Cartoon Network website.
Kids can take the quiz to find out which Cartoon Network hero or villain they are, vote for which has been Gumball’s dumbest idea and watch video tutorials to learn how to draw their favourite characters.
Another fun site for both kids and adults is Akinator, the web genie. To play the game, you think of a character and then the web genie asks you questions to guess who you are thinking of. Some of the questions can be a little strange and very specific, but it’s hard to think of a character that the Akinator can’t guess correctly!
Finally, Cambridge Funland has some great games to help children practise their English. There are different circus games to play; for example, in one game you choose the correct answer by filling a balloon with water and in another, there’s a clown sitting over a tank of water – get the answers right and, splash – he falls in!
Do your kids have any other favourite sites? Leave a comment to let us know!
Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.
Check out (pv): look at, investigate.
Nursery rhymes (n): songs children sing when they are very young.
Bugs (n): another word for insects.
Mobile (n)): a hanging decoration.
Coding (n) : computer programming.
Flashcards (n): cards with vocabulary pictures and words.
Quiz (n): a game with questions.
Dumb (adj) : stupid, silly.
Splash (n): the sound of something falling into watern.
n = noun
adj = adjective
pv = phrasal verb