Tuesday 11 September 2018

A - Z of Multisensory Language Learning for Kids: Letter D

In this new series, I'll be sharing some multisensory language learning ideas, which will help you to teach languages to your young children in a fun, engaging way. If you're not teaching languages however, most of these activities can be adapted to fit many themes in your own language too!
You can find quick links to our previous posts and the reasons behind them on our Language Learning Adventure page. 

D is for...


Who doesn't love a little boogie?! Dancing as a great way to learn languages, especially for young, kinaesthetic learners. Putting actions to words gives them more meaning and makes vocabulary easier to remember, keeping both the body and brain active!

Ideas for using in language learning:

  • Learn about other cultures - To warm up young minds for learning, why not find some traditional dances and songs from the country of the language you are learning. Let the children watch the movements, listen to the beat, rhythm and language and allow them to express themselves however they like! National anthems are always good places to start! You could always watch videos of national football teams singing before matches, to engage your sports crazy learners!
    Image credit: Mufid Mainun (Pixabay)
  • Listen to something familiar - Children are excited to hear songs they already know, so try playing songs such as "Silent Night" at Christmas time, which is translated into many languages. Christmas carols are great for this, as are some nursery rhymes. Don't worry about understanding it yourself, just listen together for any 'cognates' - words which sound similar to ones in your own language, and use your knowledge of the lyrics in your own language to guess what some of the foreign words might mean. 
  • Theme it - If you are learning about a particular topic, find a song that uses the vocabulary you're teaching. What's great about learning this way, is that the words are used in context, often using short sentences, which is always important when learning languages. Some of our favourites are "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" (which has actions to help learn body parts and can be found on YouTube in most languages), "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "The Wheels on the Bus" to name a few. There are many songs suitable for teaching colours, foods, animals, etc. You can make up actions and movements to go with certain words if the song doesn't have its own.
You don't need to be a linguist to enjoy a bit of movement to music! Most songs found on the Internet will have translations, and failing that - just have the kids make up their own actions and dances using the vocabulary you are teaching! And if you're still not convinced that dancing can help children learn languages, read this interesting article written by Angela N. Gargner: The Case for Integrating Dance in the Language Classroom.


There are so many ways to use dice in learning. I've just added a few of my favourite activities below, but the possibilities are as endless as your imagination! Don't forget to grab your free downloads too!

Ideas for using in language learning:

  • Make prints in playdough - Use the faces of the dice to make impressions in play-dough or clay. Use for practicing careful counting in the target language, or even make up your own number sentences to work out! Find out the words for plus, minus and equals to encourage sentence building. For example, in German you might ask, "Was ist eins plus zwei?" (1 + 2 = ?) and you could encourage full answers - "Eins plus zwei ist drei."
    Making prints with dice
  • Count with LEGO -  This is a fun game for practicing numbers and counting, and even colours. You need a base plate for each player and lots of LEGO bricks! Take turns to roll 1 or 2 dice (using numbers to 6 or 12). Count up your score and find a Lego brick or combination of bricks with that number of bumps. Add it to your base board and see who can fill theirs first! Try to use the target language for counting and naming colours, e.g. "Der Legostein ist blau" (The LEGO brick is blue).
    Roll the dice and find a matching brick
  • Play "Roll it!" - This is such a versatile game that it can be used to learn almost anything! The basic idea is that you associate each number with a word, picture or action. Then you roll the dice and either say, do or write the action or word associated with the number in the box below it. For each game, you finish when all the boxes have been filled in. Here are just a couple of ways you could play "Roll it!" to learn languages, with THREE FREE DOWNLOADS for you to print out and try - 
    • Colours - Roll a dice, say the colour in the target language which matches the number rolled (e.g. a one might be blue), tick or colour the box if you got it right. For older learners, you may want them to copy the word for the number in the box each time they roll that number. Don't forget to rehearse the vocabulary out loud! 
    • Numbers  Roll a dice, say the number in the target language which matches the number rolled (e.g. a one would be "eins" in German), tick the box if you got it right. For older learners, have them copy the word correctly in the box. 
    • Here's a blank version of "Roll it!" for you to DOWNLOAD FOR FREE and use in any way you like! Enjoy!
There are so many ways to use dice in language learning - and I haven't even told you about the large dice you can put your own flashcards in yet! What other ways have yo used dice to encourage learning?

Have you got any activities beginning with D which could be used to help learn languages? I'd love to know! Why not leave me a comment below? If you missed AB 
or C you can find them here! And don't forget to check back soon for the next letter in the series - E!

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Finding joy in the little things: My children love to dance so to see them bopping along to songs in other languages shows that you don't need to understand all the words to enjoy a good piece of music!

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I'm linking up this post with these fabulous blogs:

Confessions of a New Mummy    JakiJellz

I’m also taking part in the Mummy Monday linky with Becca from Becca Blogs It Out


  1. This is great! So many good tips. My husband's family is German and we've talked about teaching the twins to speak German, but it seems so daunting!

    1. Oh that's interesting! You could be my guinea pigs! These ideas are super simple, anyone can use them to begin learning a language! Let me know if you try any of them! :)

  2. I love these ideas! I've never really thought about teaching my little ones new languages, I'm going to definitely try some of these activities!

    1. This is exactly the kind of response I wanted to inspire! I'd love to hear what you try out and how it goes! :) Thank you for your kind comment Sarah. :)

  3. Wow! This is an amazing post! I learned a lot about teaching language to children at university. I remember play dough being talked about a lot, as children like to talk about the feel of the play dough, and if they are enjoying playing.This is a great blog post. You are a very talented writer. 😊🌸xxx

    1. You are so very kind! Thank you for your lovely comment. Words like yours encourage me to carry on! :)

  4. Dice in playdough!!! What a GREAT idea! #twinklytuesday

  5. Ben loves to dance and I've found when he was little it was a great way to encourage his motor skills so its great that it can be used to teach a whole host of things! Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!


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