With most students learning from home right now, many parents and teachers are looking for fun activities that introduce new languages and cultures. Here, we offer 5 of our favorite language games using children’s bilingual books. And check out our post for a chance to win a set of bilingual books.
Language Games Using Bilingual Books
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley
Books have a special kind of magic, especially when they feature characters and languages as diverse as the world we live in. Reading lets us immerse ourselves in another life, in another place. As we get to know a book’s characters, we come to understand ourselves better, too. Following their journey helps us grow as well.
Games that make use of bilingual children’s book are a great opportunity to learn about other languages, cultures and ourselves in a fun and meaningful way.
Go on a scavenger hunt inspired by a bilingual children’s book! Choose object words in the target language, and see who can find the most objects before time runs out. If you’re reading a bilingual book about food, who can find a banana, a spatula, and a bottle of paprika? Or use words from a favorite multicultural folktale – they’re full of (stuffed) animals and everyday objects to find!
Who Am I?
To play this fun guessing game, you need sticky notes, a pen, and a bilingual book. This game is great for kids with more vocabulary knowledge in the new language. Write the names of characters or objects from the story onto sticky notes. Each player places a sticky note onto his or her forehead without looking at it. The players then ask each other yes-or-no questions to try to figure out who or what they are. Am I a person or an animal? Can I be found in a kitchen? See who can guess what’s written on their own sticky note first!
This classic game helps develop a child’s understanding of the bilingual books they’ve read. Choose a favorite character to act out with gestures, but no speaking allowed! To increase the challenge level, choose objects from the book for other players to identify in the target language. Another version of charades is to draw the characters or objects instead of acting them out. Just remember that only images are allowed – no words or numbers!
Here’s an activity that combines bilingual learning and craft fun. Gather up socks, construction paper, buttons, fabric, or anything creative to make your puppets. Make puppets that represent characters from the book, and act out scenes using dialogue in the target language.
You Be the Star
Choose a favorite scene from a bilingual book and put on a show! A chair for a throne, a sheet for long, flowing hair – kids will get a kick out of creating costumes and scenes from items around the house. Once the stage is set, and the actors are ready, act out scenes using as many words in the new language as you can. Kids don’t have to memorize dialogue (unless they want to!), just convey the most pivotal moments in the story and have fun!
More Diversity Activities & Language Profiles
You can find many more language profiles and diversity activities in our popular book Building Bridges with Bilingual Books and Multicultural Resources. It’s a practical manual of lesson plans, literacy games, and fun activities from around the world to celebrate diversity. You’ll find lots of food and craft ideas, as well as physical and literacy-related games and activities.