Games and Language Learning
Finding games for kids in German is crucial to help maintain an interest in learning the language and also to break up the monotony of vocabulary drills and grammar lessons. Best of all, kids’ games in this language can underscore the topics covered during class time.
Quoting Andrew Wright et al.’s Cambridge University Press “Games for Language Learning,” TEFL Games(1) explains that — within the game setting — the instructor has the power to provide contextual application of language attributes. Practical application in the game setting makes language “useful and meaningful.”
German Language Games Online
If the class is sufficiently small or the number of available computers is suitable for the children present, then free Internet games are a great way to incorporate playing and learning. A basic translation game of daily phrases is Battleship from Quia(2); it features the use of German past participles in useful phrases.
The setup is simple. A basic battleship grid starts the game. The first couple of tries may land the player in the water, but thereafter she must translate a basic sentence. For example, “Then I went to a party” has four likely counterparts. They read:
- Dann bin ich zur Party gegangen
- Dann habe ich zum Party gegangen
- Dan habe ich zum Party gegangen
- Dann bin ich zur Party gegangen
Yes, one and four are identical. Other sentences also challenge the understanding between the terms “Zeitschrift” and “Zeitung,” which reinforces vocabulary building. A correct choice is denoted by a black circle in the Battleship grid; an incorrect answer shows up as an orange square. Spelling – especially the use of the double-s and -sz – is another focal point in the sentences provided.
The correct answer is not revealed in this German language Battleship game, which makes it possible to continue playing and taking another shot at the question during a subsequent round. Quia also offers games with the ‘Haben’ conjugation, which focuses on other aspects of German sentence building and phraseology.
German Preschool/Kindergarten Game
“Häschen in der Grube” (little bunny in the burrow) is a fun rhyme that German children recite in a singsong voice; at the end it is followed by enthusiastic bunny-hopping all around the floor. Listen to the melody at Mama Lisa’s site(3) and practice saying the words aloud. When you have found your rhythm, introduce the children to the words and also the pronunciation.
Häschen in der Grube saß und schlief,
saß und schlief.
"Armes Häschen, bist du krank,
daß du nicht mehr hüpfen kannst?
Häschen hüpf! Häschen hüpf! Häschen hüpf!"
Running short on supplies and time are not reason enough for missing out on fun with a few quickies just before the end of the lesson. Printable games for kids in German include the ever-popular word searches, such as those that deal with feelings from ABC Teach(4). There are games for the advanced speller or German student in higher grades. They are quick to complete and make excellent fillers just before recess or during transition times within the classroom setting.
- TEFLGames. “Games for Language Learning” (accessed March 24, 2010)
- Quia. “Battleship” (accessed March 24, 2010)
- Mama Lisa. “Häschen in der Grube” (accessed March 24, 2010)
- ABC Teach. “German Word Search Feelings” (accessed March 24, 2010)