In my last post I talked about pc- and videogames, which could help you to immerse yourself in your target language. This time I brought something else: a do it yourself game, to actively practice your knowledge. It can be modified for your level, you can play it with kids or just by yourself – and even learn something new about your own personality.
Jenga – with a twist
The popular wooden block game can come in handy, when you want to practice your language knowledge, but don’t want to just sit and write an essay or journal. I took the blocks and turned them into a more fun way to practice.
I marked every block with a number (I used permanent marker, but you can do it differently), and wrote numbers to only one side of each block. If you want to make the game even more random or long, you can mark all sides, or every end, etc., how you see it fit to your situation.
I wrote a list of questions (exactly 57, because we have 57 blocks in the package), and translated them into my target languages (Czech, German for now, later come the rest). I had some help with the translations, this way I am sure, that the sentences are written correctly and appropriate to the given language. It is really important here to use open questions (ones, that should not have yes/no answers, but need full sentences), so you initiate language practice and thinking. My questions were mixed: some needed just simple answers about favourite book/music, some of them were more for deeper thoughts, like: who you want to become? Some example sentences you can find below, at the end of this post.
Then I built up the tower and started to play. When I successfully pulled out a block, I checked the number on it and read the question. First (of course) I need to understand the question, if I have problem, there is the English version there to check. And then I try to answer it by myself. If I am not playing alone, then we can help each other out, correct the sentences, etc. You do not need to write the answers down, but if you play alone, then I recommend recording your voice or making notes of the answers, so you can ask natives/teachers for corrections later. When you play with company, these questions are really good for conversation starters, you can get to know each other better easily while playing.
You can write your questions in a notebook, or you can have a digital version. I personally created a digital file for all the questions, in all the languages. This way I can expand it when I want and I can put there new questions or even new languages if I need that.
Some questions I used…
What do you like about yourself?
What is your favourite thing about your job?
Who is your favourite fairy tale character?
What book made a big impact on you growing up?
What superpower would you choose? Why?
What does creativity means to you?
Tell us your most funny dream!
These are questions for adults, and about more general topics, but with a bit of creativity, you can turn it into a kid’s game or a family program with specific questions. Could be a game for learning history or specific grammar parts, or family stories… There is really no limit!
Share your experience!
I hope that this post gave you some ideas for a language game. If you recreate this “language Jenga”, and share your story, please tag me in your social media post @passion.plan.progress or write me about your experience in the comments below! I would love to see how your version turned out! What questions would you put to the list? Share it with us also in the comments!