Language Learning: Flash Cards and Other Games

Tackling a new language is daunting. There are so many options out there but how do you choose the best one?

As I prepare to travel to Europe with my boys this fall I have been researching the best ways to introduce German and Italian to my toddler son Dek. I am also looking for ways to brush up on my rudimentary Italian skills.

One of my tried and true methods for learning Spanish back in high school was flash cards. They are so easy to use and make. You just grab some index cards and start writing words on them. I would practice on the bus on the way to school and later in my life as I rode into work.

Recently we have been using flash cards with Dek at the dinner table. I started out simple. I picked up a $1 pack of flash cards with the letters of the alphabet on them. As we ate our dinner we went through the cards. This had a dual purpose.

  1. It taught Dek his letters.
  2. It kept him at the table and eating his dinner.

Once Dek had mastered his letters and showed signs of boredom (i.e. he got down from the table after 2 bites of food), I picked up some Spanish flash cards. These cards are now teaching us both new vocabulary words.

I plan to make Italian flash cards so Dek and I can continue to learn before our trip. Simple every day words, phrases and a few funny words will be in the stack to make our learning a little more fun.

Flash cards I love

Feeling Crafty

But this is not the only way to learn. The family over at 1 Kid, 1 Dad, 1 Crazy Adventure used to play a fun, simple game together whenever they were practicing another language.  Here’s how it worked.

  • Block out a certain amount of time to not speak any English (or your native language)
  • Only speak the language you are trying to learn with each other
  • If you don’t know the word for something, you can use body language and point at objects, anything but English.

What fun ways have you tried to learn a language for your travels?

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1 comment

  1. Some fab ideas there, I love the idea of picking a time to only speak that language. We might try that!

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