With Christmas on the way and many native speakers heading home, in this month's Lang4life we're honing in on five purchasable language learning games that can easily be found online or in the shops either here in Poland or the UK.
For teachers, word games that come out of the box can be a genuine time saver, as well as a great tool for livening up lessons. Meanwhile for learners, the games are also fun enough in their own right.
With that in mind, here are just a few options worth considering:
Boggle Slam is a simple card game that sees participants compete against one another by using up their cards to edit a 4 letter word into another genuine word laid down on the table.
The rules are quick and easy, while the short word length means lower level learners can all take part.
The game also comes in a compact, solid plastic box that's ideal for teachers on the move or for children to play with on holiday.
Scrabble Dash might look a lot like Boggle Slam at first sight, however it is rather more complex. The game basically works like this:
Each player has a hand of 7 letter cards – initially 5 consonants and 2 vowels, but as the game progresses players can refill their hands freely from the separate vowel and consonant decks to vary the mix.
On each turn, the top Dash card is turned face up, revealing the goal for that turn. Players then race to play a word from their hands to fulfil the Dash card, or skip the turn to discard cards and draw new ones.
The Dash cards include criteria such as number of letters (ranging from 2 to 4), specific parts of speech (verb/proper noun), or specifying that the word has to start, end with, or contain a particular letter, drawn at random from either the vowel or consonant deck (players do not need to play their own copy of this letter from their hand).
The first player to lay down a valid word claims the Dash card, and the first player to collect 5 Dash cards wins the game.
A facet of the game is that it is not only about forming words but also recognising different parts of speech.
Teachers needn't necessarily follow the rules either, as with a properly manufactured deck of cards with different letters, all kinds of games can be created with a set of Scrabble Dash.
Story Cubes are a great new invention that can be used with people of all ages and levels for a variety of different activities.
Generally speaking, the main purpose of the cubes is to roll them all out at once and have the student(s) look at the pictures face up. The images are then used to create a story. There are however lots of other potential uses should you put your mind to it.
The storytelling activity is not only good fun but also sparks student creativity and practises important vocabulary and grammar connected to telling a story.
The cubes can be easily carried around inside the packet and whipped out at any time when the students are feeling a bit jaded and in need of a more unconventional activity.
Quizlet live is an option for students more suited to modern technologies. The game is open to all teachers with a paid account on the popular vocabulary building website.
Very much at home when there is a big group, Quizlet Live requires six players and six devices (phone, tablet, pc or laptop) in order to work.
The group game, much like the individual ones on the Quizlet website, involves recognising or translating the vocabulary in the sets. However the live game proves infinitely more fun and also ups the stakes, motivating students to do better next time.
If you have a big group of young and enthusiastic students who are all tech savvy, this could be the game to break the ice.
Last but not least, we have a simple set of cards from this Family Fortunes game.
Yes, the game is based on the cheesy game show from years past, but it does prove fun while simultaneously testing your students' vocabulary range.
There are dozens of the cards in a deck, so the game can easily be used with the same group on multiple occasions provided they are into it.
The random nature of the questions also keeps the students on their toes and fosters a lively atmosphere in the classroom.