When attempting to reach your goals, the phrase “blood sweat, and tears” tends to be utilized. However, it doesn’t always have to be this way. After all, learning can be fun when the right strategy is applied. The good news is that research has shown that learning through games has a positive impact on deep learning. This means that you remember words and grammar for a longer period of time, compared to memorization practices (Perveen, 2016). In addition, it can also provide increased motivation, in combination with passionate involvement (Psychol, 2021). This almost makes you question why you don’t play around more often.
Here are 4 different games for beginners and advanced language learners. These will certainly keep you going for a while.
As a beginner, it is helpful to force yourself to speak a lot in the new language that you are trying to learn. Agree with your fellow players to speak the new language, or even better, do it with others who speak solely the new language. In some games, you can get really far with basic knowledge of the language. Do not make it too difficult for yourself in the beginning, the game must remain accessible.
The first game we recommend is the game, Hangman. This is because the game is quite easy to play as it requires no special materials. Having a pen and a piece of paper is sufficient. This game requires at least two people. Try to guess the word before you hang! The game is perfect for increasing your vocabulary and starting with active thinking. You can find a detailed explanation here.
The second game is called Letter Snake. Here you only need your imagination and basic knowledge of a language. This game is also played with at least 2 people, but can easily be extended to a bigger group. The game ensures that you can learn from each other, and thus increase your vocabulary. Choose a category, and start with a word, accordingly the other player responds with another word in the same category that starts with the last letter of the opponent. While playing the game, you get 20 seconds to respond. When you don’t respond with a new word, you lose.
Example: Category: Animals. Player one: Cat, player two: Turtle, player one: Eagle.
As an advanced language learner, you are starting to make full sentences while using a bigger variation of the words. This makes having a conversation sound more natural. Therefore, to challenge yourself, it’s fun to play games that make you go the extra mile.
Surely the most famous and my personal favorite is the game 30 seconds. The game is playable by 4 or more people and is, therefore, a perfect game for bigger groups. The game requires the physical necessities of a board game but is also available in the app store. Within the game, you learn to describe, guess and perform under pressure. When you become good at this game in a new language, you can say with certainty that you will be proficient in your new destination. An explanation of this game can be found here.
If you’re looking for a free advanced game, go for Undercover. Explain and defend yourself, negotiate with others and perform under pressure. There are few games that are as much fun as this one. The game is quite simple to understand and is applicable from 12 years and older. While playing, you get forced to talk to each other, to find a solution to your challenge. This makes it a very social game, and therefore perfect for language learning. For people that don’t know each other well, this could serve as a nudge in the right direction, for breaking the ice. An explanation of this game can be found here.
There are numerous games that can help you in your learning process. Thus, you will see that games can be very useful in deep learning. Some fairly simple games can improve your speaking skills while obtaining a good reflection of reality by having real conversations and performing under pressure. Have fun, do what you enjoy and the learning will come naturally. And keep in mind: games are not just for kids.
If you are interested in more learning tips, try our blog: 7 tips for learning a new language!