What child doesn’t love playing video games? Kids are ready to play videogames whenever and wherever they are, nothing compared to their parents who grew up with a very different reality. We could talk about the pros and cons of video games forever, but the fact is that video games are part of our kids’ everyday life. We need to adapt the learning process by incorporating educational video games, including those in English.
If you Google (or use Yandex search) ‘online games in English’, you’ll have tons of websites with games for all ages and tastes. Many resources are completely free, you can play with no limits!
Why video games are so popular, and how to use this in teaching English for children
As a rule, any video game is a way to relax and escape from real life problems. The same is true for children! They are humans, just as we are, and they also get tired 🙂 Video games are particularly attractive thanks to their appealing visual content and intuitive menu. But the main feature in these games is that anyone can win! It is very important for children—the same goes for the level-to-level organization of video games, this makes players move forward, try again and again, until they win. It’s that element that captures the attention of the player, forming a kind of addiction.
This feature is also used by those who develop educational video games, including games for learning English online. It is understood that the kid is able to understand the rules of the online video game and to play on their own, in a comfortable environment, by passing portioned challenges, while positive results will keep the kid motivated to move further to harder levels, enhancing the interest in learning English. Also, the good thing about video games is that there are no grades, so players, if they fail a level, just keep on trying until they succeed.
So what kind of educational online video games for children are there?
A brief overview of online video games for learning English shows the following: It is easy to find games:
- To learn the alphabet (memorising letters and sounds).
- Practicing reading rules (for open and closed syllables, and diphthongs).
- Memorising numbers.
- Memorising and practicing the vocabulary by topics (animals, colours, furniture, clothes, etc.).
- Practicing basic grammar rules (there are websites dedicated entirely to learning grammar like http://www.englishmedialab.com/grammar_games.html).
- Practicing reading (composing stories).
Thus, all online games teach either reading and comprehension, or listening and understanding—to play, you’ll need to listen to commands or to read them.
When to play?
Online games can help in learning English at home, for example, during school holidays. It is well-known that language skills require constant practice. But summer is not the best season to make the kid do more exercises, they have enough of those during school time. That’s why playing English educational games online for 10-15 minutes a day or 2-3 times a week allows them to practice the vocabulary, systematize the grammar, and improve reading—what was, as a rule, difficult during the school time because there was not enough time.
Cons of online video games in learning English
Despite the joys of winning, children soon get bored of playing just alone. They lack the possibility to compete and compare themselves to others. That’s why they lose interest in online video games, particularly educational ones, if the games are a bit monotonous and have no real difficulty levels.
Another minus is the lack of oral practice. In this, educational online games lose out to didactic board games. Practicing language skills (phonetics, lexis, grammar) is of course great, but the goal in learning English is above all real-life communication. The available English educational online games unfortunately fail in providing this for children.
Maybe you want to try real video games in English—not just educational ones?
Some more advanced kids compensate for the lack of communication in English by playing online network games; they download an English version to play with kids from around the globe. In these conditions kids are forced to use English. Such communication becomes a good starting point in motivating kids to learn English: they know where to use it, so they want to improve their language skills.
If you like this kind of communication, you may teach your kid to play in English. Video lessons at Novakid, an online english school for children from 4 to 12, will help your kid in learning English. Our tutors have expertise in modern kids’ interests, and they will build lessons in a way that makes your kid have fun learning English—not less fun than when they play video games. Free trial lesson!