How can we play with children

Here are several games and activities to do with children to help them learn and interact.

Playing with blocks

  • use language for counting and sorting: How many are there? Shall we put the blue ones here?
  • use positional language: in, on, under, below, behind, next to
  • explore language related to size: big, small, long, short
  • describe what a child is doing while playing: finding, stacking, pulling, pushing, building, pressing, dragging
  • describe shapes and objects the children are making: square, rectangle, tower, house, castle, garden

Dress-ups (and drama)

  • describe the costumes (fairy, princess, pirate, king, clown) and actions for getting dressed: put on, pull up/down, zip up, do the buttons up, unbutton, unzip
  • highlight the relevant parts of the body: put your arms through here, tie this around your waist/wrist, put these on your feet – first your left foot, then your right foot, put this over your head
  • use nursery rhymes and stories to model language for imaginary play
  • develop listening comprehension by encouraging the children act out the rhyme or story in their costumes
  • extend vocabulary associated with role-play: hospital, airport, artist’s studio, garden centre, vet, doctor, routines (breakfast/lunch/dinner/bed time)

Making and decorating (art and craft)

  • name the materials: paint, paintbrush, crayon, felt-tip, marker, card, paper, crepe paper, shiny paper, tissue paper, newspaper, glue, scissors, cotton wool, fabric, sequins, feathers
  • describe properties and textures of materials: runny, thick, smooth, hard, long, short, spiky, rough, shiny
  • experiment with and describe colour
  • use instructions: paint, draw, colour, smudge, blur, blow, copy, pour, make, cut, stick, decorate, hang (it) up
  • art appreciation and describing what the children have made, painted or drawn.

Malleable materials (dough, plasticine, clay)

  • use language of manipulation: push, pull, drop, squeeze, press, bend, twist, roll, stretch, squash, squish, pinch, flatten, poke, scrape, break apart
  • describe length/thickness: longer than, shorter than, the same length as
  • use language related to colour and smells
  • describe texture: soft, hard, squishy, lumpy, grainy, shiny
  • talk about materials that can be added to dough: feathers, sticks, twigs, shells
  • explore language related to shapes

Music and movement activities

  • use language related to actions, position and parts of the body: put your hands up in the air, draw circles in the air, touch your nose, wriggle your fingers, jump, hop, lie face down on the floor, lie on your back, move over there, come closer, curl up into a ball, stretch your arms out as wide as you can, take a nap
  • name musical instruments: shaker, drum, recorder, xylophone, block, triangle, bell, tambourine
  • use language to describe sounds: loud, quiet, soft, high, low, long, short, fast, slow, tap, shake, scrape, knock, tick, hum, howl
  • familiarise children with a range of sounds through onomatopoeia
  • use songs and rhymes to work on pronunciation, rhythm, stress and intonation

Toys and small world play

  • extend vocabulary related to a particular topic: park, zoo, farm, hospital, transport
  • comment on the objects, toys or figurines the children are playing with
  • comment on the settings, scenes, themes or storylines children are developing as they play
  • describe the position of the things the children are playing with: behind, next to, in, on, under

Puzzles

  • describe the pictures and colours on the puzzles
  • comment on the shape of the puzzle pieces: rectangle, square, triangle, circle
  • comment on the position of the puzzle pieces: up/down, here/there
  • encourage the social aspects of using puzzles: take turns, it’s your turn next, share

Sand play and water play

  • use language related to equipment and resources: brush, spade, scoop, spoon, cup, jug, bucket, sieve, cutters, rake, comb, funnel, sponge, soap, bubbles, straw, ladle, tea pot, watering can
  • extend vocabulary related to imaginary play: boats, diggers, bulldozers, tractors, treasure, dinosaurs, pirates, gardens, tea party, firefighter, plumber, dolls
  • use descriptive language: wet, dry, damp, gritty, hard, lumpy, flat, smooth, wavy, sticky, cold, frozen, clean, dirty
  • use language related to size, shape and position
  • describe capacity and quantity: enough, more, less, too much/little, overflowing, how much/many? a pile/cup of…
  • describe actions or what is happening: it’s fallen down, it’s gone, flatten, pour, tip, fill, scoop, cover, stir, splash, leak, drip, float, sink, trickle, spray, wash, dry

Have you got anything else to add to these categories?

Can you think of other activities or areas of childhood development and the related language development opportunities?

Share your comments with us below.

© British Council

Play and learning

We’ve talked about why children play and the benefits of play, but the idea still persists that if it’s too much fun, children are not learning.

However, the evidence suggests the opposite. Research shows that children actually learn through play. Play is learning.

Internationally renowned expert on early childhood and play, Tina Bruce, outlines in her book, Early Childhood Education, the 12 features of free-flow play:

1. Children use the first-hand experiencesthey have had in life during play.

2. Children keep control as they play. Play does not bow to pressure to conform to external rules, outcomes, targets or adult-led projects.

3. Play is a process. It has no products.

4. Children choose to play. It is intrinsically motivated and spontaneous.

5. Children rehearse their possible futures in their play. Play helps children learn to function in advance of what they can do in the present.

6. Play has the potential to take children into a world of pretend, beyond the here and now, in the past, present and future, and it transforms them into different characters.

7. Play can be solitary, and this sort of play can be very deep.

8. Children can play together or with an adult, in companionship (parallel play), associatively or cooperatively in pairs or groups.

9. Play can be initiated by a child or an adult, but adults need to respect the child’s play agenda by not insisting that the adult agenda dominates the play.

10. Child-led play is characterised by deep concentration.

11. In play, children try out their recent learning, mastery, competence and skills, and consolidate them.

12. Play makes children into whole people, able to keep balancing their lives in a fast-changing world.

Tina Bruce (2015) Early Childhood Education 5th Edition

The Year of the Rat – Chinese zodiac

Esse será o ano chinês do Rato. Um animal silencioso, rápido e que sabe se multiplicar!

Seguem alguns provérbios chineses para inspiração nesse novo ano.

Some Chinese proverbs:

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come.

When there is light in the soul there is beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is honour in the nation. When there is honour in the nation, there is peace in the world.

If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.

Be the first to the field and the last to the couch.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.

If you always give you will always have.

To succeed, consult three old people. Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself.

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come - Chinese Proverb (poster available)

Source: Activity Village

Você ensina Criatividade e Pensamento Crítico?

Confira essas cinco dicas com base em nosso documento de posição de habilidades globais!

1. Tente usar eventos nas notícias para organizar um debate ou discussão em sala de aula! Por exemplo, você pode pedir aos alunos que realizem um debate sobre as mudanças climáticas. Isso também desenvolverá suas habilidades de cidadania e comunicação!

2. Tente fazer perguntas abertas que permitam múltiplas respostas, como “Quais são as quatro coisas interessantes que você fez nas férias?” Isso deixará espaço para análise e interpretação, incentivando os alunos a pensar de forma crítica e criativa.

3. O trabalho do projeto é uma ótima maneira de ensinar habilidades globais como criatividade, pensamento crítico e colaboração! Ao trabalhar em grupos, definir sua própria agenda e personalizar sua abordagem, os alunos se sentem mais envolvidos e desenvolvem várias habilidades ao mesmo tempo.

4. Não sabe por onde começar? Comece pequeno! Todas as lições incluem uma curta atividade de aprendizado de idiomas que inclua o foco na criatividade ou no pensamento crítico.

Mais tarde, você pode passar para atividades mais focadas e aprofundadas, incluindo o trabalho do projeto.

5. Tente pedir aos alunos que criem um relatório digital sobre uma questão global como mudança climática ou desigualdade! Isso os ajudará a pensar criticamente e a aprender a resolver problemas. Eles poderiam gravar o relatório em um dispositivo móvel e compartilhá-lo com seus colegas de classe para obter feedback.

In English

Do you teach Creativity and Critical Thinking?

Check out these five top tips based on our Global Skills position paper!

1. Try using events in the news to hold a debate or discussion in class! For example, you could ask students to hold a debate on climate change. This will also develop their citizenship and communication skills!

2. Try asking open-ended questions that allow for multiple responses, such as “What are four interesting things you did on holiday?” This will leave room for analysis and interpretation, encouraging students to think critically and creatively.

3. Project work is a great way to teach global skills like creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration! By working in groups, setting their own agenda, and personalizing their approach, learners feel more engaged and develop multiple skills at once.

4. Not sure where to begin? Start small! Every lesson, include a short language-learning activity than includes a focus on creativity or critical thinking.

Later, you can move on to more focused, in-depth activities, including project work.

5. Try asking your learners to create a digital report on a global issue like climate change or inequality! This will help them think critically and learn to solve problems. They could record the report on a mobile device and share it with their classmates for feedback.

Source: Oxford University Press

Como começou a ser celebrado o Thanksgiving

Assista ao vídeo e entenda a história

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym4izq-rrow

A história por trás do Black Friday.

As primeiras origens e história

O termo “sexta-feira negra” foi realmente associado à crise financeira, não às compras de vendas.

Dois financistas de Wall Street, Jim Fisk e Jay Gould, compraram juntos uma quantidade significativa de ouro dos EUA na esperança de que o preço global subisse e, por sua vez, pudessem vendê-lo com lucros enormes.

Na sexta-feira, 24 de setembro de 1869, no que foi chamado de “Black Friday”, o mercado de ouro dos EUA entrou em colapso e as ações de Fisk e Gould deixaram os barões de Wall Street em falência.

Não foi até anos posteriores que o período pós-Ação de Graças se associou ao nome.

Nos últimos anos, circulou um boato impreciso, sugerindo que os proprietários de plantações do sul poderiam comprar escravos a um preço com desconto após o Dia de Ação de Graças, no século XIX.

Learn the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain

Dialogue explaining which nations form the UK.

Man: So where are you from?

Woman: Scotland. Are you Scottish too?

Man: Well, no, I’m English actually, but, you know, it’s all, like, the same thing, isn’t it?

Woman: Not exactly.

Man: Go on! Isn’t Scotland just like, well, a bit of England?

Woman: No, it is not!

Man: Sorry, Britain I mean.

Woman: Britain is not England!

Man: Well, yeah, I know that. I’m not stupid or anything, but Britain’s, like, England, Scotland and Wales, isn’t it?

Woman: Not exactly.

Man: Yeah, it is – the UK, the United Kingdom.

Woman: The United Kingdom is Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Man: Oh, I see, but we’re all, like, the same nation, aren’t we?

Woman: Not really. Four nations, one state.

Man: Oh, I get it! So the UK (is), like, the same as Great Britain.

Woman: Great Britain is a geographical term – it’s a big island with Scotland, England and Wales on it.

Man: All right, but we all have the same prime minister, don’t we?

Woman: Yes, and the same head of state.

Man: The Queen!

Woman: Exactly.

Man: And the same government?

Woman: Well, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own local parliaments.

Man: Oh. I see.

Woman: It’s complicated.

Man: Yeah, I can see that.

A Message to ESL Teachers.


Learning in a second language can be challenging, but you as a language-aware teacher can make a big difference. Here’s a summary of the main ideas:

  • Language is more than vocabulary, grammar and spelling. It is shaped by discourses, genre conventions and context.
  • Students need control of both the everyday interpersonal register and the more formal academic register to succeed in school.
  • Language learners will come from a variety of circumstances with a variety of resources, so don’t make assumptions about their needs.
  • Don’t leave it to osmosis – plan for language learning as well as curriculum learning.
  • Keep the focus on making meaning, not on correctness.
  • Encourage repetition, recycling and redundancy.
  • Use visuals and gestures to support language learners.
  • In your talk and classroom resources, aim for ‘comprehensibility plus’.
  • Welcome your students’ first languages into the classroom.
  • Plan different spaces and activities for different types of talk.
  • Give language learners a bit more wait time.
  • Understand the particular language demands of your curriculum area.
  • Build the genre cycle into your lesson planning.
  • Let students into the secrets of genre conventions.
  • Use feedback on students’ work as an opportunity for language learning.
  • Observe how your language learners are progressing, and plan for the next stage.