The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures

activities for Young Learners

From my last few posts you may think I am not very fond of the little ones. That’s just not true at all, but I have a big problem with kidlets: I find them really tough to teach. I’m more comfortable with teenagers or adults, students who can contribute to lessons in a more intellectual way. Not a reflection on children, but rather on me and my teaching weaknesses (I should probably get some experience to get over this).

So, to end off my experiences with young learners, I want to share some activities that may make your adventures with kidlets a little easier:

Stories: Was storytime not your favourite part of preschool?  Even junior school? Stories are a great way to introduce language and they can be used as a springboard for a number of activities which will help to consolidate the language. Reading aloud creates interest in the story and flashcards can introduce vocabulary. Once the story has been read, use the flashcard to retell the story, using the YLs to help. Accessories to the story can be made using arts and crafts, or a song relating to the theme can be sung.

Games: I-Spy. Bingo. Simon Says. Memory Game. Mime games. Alphabet games. Hangman. Taboo.

The great thing with games is that you can use most games and just make them more kid-and English-class-friendly. Remember something you used to love doing? Think about how you can turn it into a vocabulary game or a competition.

*The favourite in my Chinese kindergarten: Sleeping Tiger. The teacher pretends to be a tiger, sleeping (!) on a pile of flashcards. The students must creep (usually with much giggling and ssshhh!ing) close enough to the tiger to grab a flashcard and run away. The tiger alternates waking up, stretching, licking paws and chasing children. If caught, the student must name the flashcard to keep it. If they are not caught, they must still name the flashcard to keep it. (Logic is not children’s strongpoint, is it?).

Songs: If you are lucky enough to be musical, music will be you and your students’ best friend in English class. If not (like me), make sure you close the classroom door before you belt out “Old McDonald”. The children won’t notice if you are tone-deaf, they only pick up on levels of enthusiasm.

Arts and Crafts: Scissors, glue, paint – what could go wrong? Easily adaptable to any teaching point, arts and crafts are great fun, time-consuming and give the children something to take home to their long-suffering parents, which you can also claim promotes English learning at home. Bonus. Just be sure the activity is age-appropriate and their is supervision where it is needed.

Teaching YLs is fun (and exhausting). While it can be daunting in the beginning, you’ll be encouraged and amazed by the progress children make.


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This entry was posted on March 2, 2015 by in General TEFL and tagged , , , , , .
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