Everyone who learns a foreign language strives to expand their vocabulary. A rich vocabulary indicates erudition, good memory and high mental abilities. So, you can do that through playing vocabulary games!
Vocabulary development occurs in the process of communication, with the emergence of new impressions, with the acquisition of interesting information.
To enrich and activate the vocabulary it is awesome to use specially designed vocabulary games and game tasks.
We want to offer you a few game tasks that are sure to interest you. These games will not take much time, and they can be played even during a walk. All games are played in the language you study, of course.
1. Who’s last
Two friends take turns picking up and naming one word describing an object. The last word is the winner.
For example: an apple – sweet, green, round, ruddy, etc.
An interesting game, the meaning of which is the following: take any friend whom you want to “please”, that is to say to him as many nice words as possible. You have to say the compliments one by one.
The game is won by the one who called the last compliment to the other.
If you do not have a matching friend for this game, you can use your favorite toy as a partner.
3. Finding details
It is necessary to introduce into the learner’s vocabulary not only the names of objects, but also the parts that make them up. For instance, your friend asks you: “This is an airplane, what does it have?” – you can answer: “Wings, steering wheel, seats, tail, motor, etc.” Then the turn comes to you: “What does a flower have?” – and your friend answers: “Stem, root, leaves, petals…”.
If the person who asked the question, names a greater number of constituent elements, the point goes to him. If the person who answered, it goes to him. The person who scored more points wins. By the way, such kind of rules can be used in different vocabulary games.
4. What happens
Your friend says a generalizing word (adjective) and you have to match it with some words for an object (nouns).
Your friend should ask you, “What is big?” – and you should answer, “A house, a mountain, an elephant…”. Or “What is solid?” – The answer can be “Stone, ice, iron…”. Or “What can be blue?”. And you answer: “sky, sea, eyes…”.
The winner is determined by the same rule as in the previous game.
5. It’s the other way around
In this game the foreign language learner’s vocabulary is enriched with antonyms. A friend says a word, and you have to match it with another word, the opposite in meaning.
“Good – bad”, “high – low”, “good – evil”, etc.
If the participant is able to name an antonym, he gets a point. If not, then the person who said the first word has to say the antonym. If the person says it, he gets a point, if not, no one gets a point.
It is important that participants be honest with each other and name words that should definitely have an antonym.
If the order from A to Z in the answer is wrong, the answer is incorrect.
6. Add a word
In this game your friend says the beginning of the action and you have to add a word which means the continuation and the end of the action:
- “Catherine put the porridge on her plate and…” (“began to eat”).
- “John woke up and…” (“washed his face”).
- “Mary got cold and…” (“went home”).
If the responding team was able to build a logical continuation of the situation, the score goes to her. If not, the score goes to the side that asked the question. The team who earns the most points wins.
7. Name with one word
The game is aimed at enriching the vocabulary of a foreign language learner with generalizing concepts.
Your friend should call several words, for example, “T-shirt”, “pants”, “shirt”, “shorts”, and you in turn should call all items with one word (“clothes”). The team that could not guess the generalizing word loses a point. The team with the most points wins.
You can play the game in a different way. A friend calls a generalizing word, for example, “dishes”, and invites you to remember and name as many items of dishes as possible.
In that case, you should follow the rules for determining the winner of game №3 “Finding details”.
This game should be played either in a group or in pairs. Write the word on separate cards. Then divide the players into two teams and ask one participant on each side to name the word. The team that first gets the translation or the word itself right gets a point.
The team with the most points wins. We can assure you it’s an incredibly fun activity.
9. Images from A to Z
The goal of the game is for students to name an object in a picture beginning with each letter from A to Z, using an image containing many different objects and characteristics (“I-Spy” or other similar books with lots of images are useful for this). After about five minutes, students compare their answers.
A detailed algorithm of the game:
- The teacher hands out the same picture with different objects, for example, from an I-Spy book.
- They are given a certain amount of time for the task (e.g., 5-10 minutes).
- Students study the picture and write down in alphabetical order the names of all the objects that are on it.
- When time has expired, the teacher checks the answers against the alphabetical order and the number of objects indicated correctly.
The winner is the player or team which has given the greatest number of objects in alphabetical order from A to Z. If the order from A to Z in the answer is wrong, the answer is incorrect.
Synonyms are a great way to make the connection between the meaning of a vocabulary word and its synonyms. Together with your friends or students, try the following activity:
- Your class should be divided into two groups.
- Give each group access to half of the vocabulary words that you have previously prepared for review.
- Ask students to find synonyms for each vocabulary word in a dictionary, thesaurus (dictionary of synonyms), or just the Internet.
- Then have the groups take turns reading the list of synonyms to each other.
- Test the groups’ ability to recognize the phrase from the synonyms.
- The score goes to the team that said the phrase closest to the original meaning. The team with the most points wins.
As you have already realized, the process of building vocabulary through games is much more fun than simply cramming. You get positive emotions, you don’t overload your brain, and the words are memorized better.
This is the concept that is used in the Langavia Personal Dictionary application. The whole process of memorizing words is one big game, during which you effectively learn not only the meaning of words, but also their correct spelling and pronunciation. Play this game every day and your progress in learning a foreign language will be inevitable!
In the Langavia app you improve your vocabulary while playing game-based exercises
– the first player guesses a word (optionally saying the number of letters in the word).
– the second player starts naming the letters of the alphabet.
– if there is such a letter in the word, the letter is revealed in the word (as in “Wheel of Fortune” TV-show), if there is no such letter, a part of the gallows is drawn.
– if the word is guessed before the gallows is completely drawn, the second player wins (otherwise he loses).