Want to know a secret?
Games aren’t just for kids.
Want to know another secret?
Games are actually an effective learning tool that adult English learners can play to improve their fluency.
And there are so many out there!
From board games to computer games, there’s something for every kid-at-heart.
So, are you ready to learn English with games and get fluent the fun way?
Can You Really Learn English from Games?
Having fun while learning English is a tried and true method that works. Here’s why:
- Like we said above, games aren’t just for kids. Research shows that adults are actually more likely to remember information that they learned through an entertaining process.
- Games teach you a range of language skills. As you’ll see below, you can use games to practice writing, speaking and listening to English.
- Games let you learn outside of a traditional classroom setting. Learning isn’t restricted to the classroom. If you can’t sign up for a formal English class, try using games to improve your fluency at home.
Even if you’re already taking an English class, games are a fun, effective supplement to your lessons.
- Team games encourage conversations and boost confidence. If you can, try playing team games (we’ll give you several ideas below). This will give you the chance to practice your English conversation skills in a fun and low-stress environment.
- You can play English games anywhere. Language-learning games can be played online, at home, at coffee shops or at a party. The opportunities for English learning are endless.
10 Catchy English Learning Games to Improve Your Fluency the Fun Way
Now you know that games can help improve your English fluency. But where should you start? We’ve gathered a list of our 10 favorite English-leaning games.
So, are you ready to play?
Computer Games to Learn English
Computer games are a great way to practice listening to and writing English. The best part is that these games can be played from the comfort of your home.
There are countless online English learning games. You can find a game for any skill level online.
ABC Countdown is the perfect place to start. The premise of this game is simple: click on each letter of the English alphabet, in order, before the timer runs out.
But as the fast-paced music plays in the background and the seconds go by, you might realize this is more challenging than it initially sounded.
This game will help you remember the English alphabet. After a few rounds of this game, you’ll start to learn the English alphabet’s order from A to Z. Soon, you’ll master this game and feel ready to move on to something more challenging.
FluentU puts a totally unique twist on English learning games.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
After you watch any video on FluentU, you’ll get to play word games like hangman, fill-in-the-blank, etc. to teach you the vocabulary from the video. You’ll also get flashcards with memorable pictures to make sure you understand the vocabulary.
You’ll get points for each question you answer correctly and you’ll earn coins for every day in a row that you practice on FluentU.
Better yet, FluentU even makes sure to teach you while you watch the video. There are interactive subtitles—click any word you don’t recognize, and FluentU will automatically pause the video to show you an in-context definition.
The videos are organized by genre and learning level, so you can easily find the ones that work for you. To personalize the experience, FluentU will also suggest new videos based on what you’ve already watched. It’s a great way to practice English while hearing how native speakers really use the language—without even feeling like you’re studying!
Word Whomp lets you practice your English writing and spelling skills. In this game, you’re given six letters and you need to determine how many words can be spelled with those letters.
You have two and a half minutes to come up with every word. But, if you guess too many incorrect words, the game will end.
This game might be challenging for new language learners. But, with some practice, this can be a fun way to improve your English vocabulary. You’ll practice quickly thinking of English vocabulary words—a skill that’ll be very useful in real-life English conversations.
Greek to Me
Greek to Me offers you the chance to learn more about English roots (the words or word elements, usually from Greek or Latin, that English words were created from). You’ll compete in Olympics-type games while answering multiple choice questions.
For each question, you’ll be shown a root word as well as an English word with that root. You’ll need to guess the meaning of the English word.
After playing this game, you’ll start to recognize common root words. This is very helpful because you won’t just learn the words from the game, but will also start to understand other words with the same root—even if you haven’t specifically studied them.
Board games give you the chance to play with other English learners. This can make learning more motivating and also lets you practice your English conversation skills.
Boggle is a fun game to play alone or with a group of friends. The goal is to create words by connecting letters on the Boggle board.
First, shake the board and display the mixed up letters. Set the timer and then start writing down all of the English words you can create from the letters on the board.
In the traditional game, words can only be formed by connecting letters that are next to one another. But, to practice even further, you could bend the rules and use any letters on the board to make your English words.
This game is a unique way to practice recognizing and writing English words.
Similar to a crossword puzzle, Bananagrams is another game that lets you practice spelling English words.
This game is played with multiple people. Each player takes a certain number of letter tiles. Start using these letters to build connecting words. Once you use all of your letters, shout “peel!” Every player must now take another tile from the pile.
This game lets you practice reading, spelling and writing English words. It’s easy to play at cafes or restaurants.
To learn a specific type of vocabulary, you could set parameters (limits, restrictions) on your game. For example, consider setting a theme, such as food or animals, and only building words that fit in that theme.
Rewordable is a card game that helps you learn to recognize and spell English words. There are 120 cards in the deck that each contain a letter or letter combination. You use the cards in your hand to spell words.
During the game, you can steal or build off of other players’ words.
This game might seem challenging, but after playing a few rounds you’ll start to understand how to play. This can be a fast-paced way to improve your fluency and expand your English vocabulary.
In-person games are another opportunity to play with other people, which gives you the chance to improve your English conversation skills.
This is a classic game for any skill level.
To play this game, one player thinks of a word. Then, the other players take turns asking “yes” or “no” questions to determine what word they’re thinking about.
To make this simpler, you can limit the words to specific categories, such as colors or countries.
This is a fun party game that helps you practice English vocabulary as well as forming questions in English.
Fishbowl is another perfect party game. This game lets you practice your writing, reading and spoken English skills. You need a large group to play this game.
To start, everyone writes down three simple English words. Next, throw each word in a bowl.
The game consists of three rounds. During the first round, players take turns pulling a word out of the bowl and describing the word to their teammates, who must guess the word. After one minute, the round ends. Count how many words your team guessed correctly.
For the next round, use charades (silent gestures) to get your teammates to guess the words.
For the final round, you can use just one word to help your teammates guess the word.
This is an entertaining game that almost makes you forget you’re also practicing a new language.
To play telephone, gather a group of eager language learners. Everyone sits quietly in a line. The first person thinks of an English phrase and whispers it to the person sitting next to them.
Then, that person whispers the phrase to the next person. This continues until the phrase reaches the last person.
The last person repeats the phrase and everyone determines how much it changed from the front of the line.
This game lets you practice listening and speaking in English. It’s another fun game to play at a language learning party.
So, are you ready to play your way to fluency? Turn on your computer or host a language-learning party. There are so many different games you can use to improve your fluency. Have fun!
Stephanie Brown is a New York City-based freelance writer. You can find her at The Adventuring Millennial.
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.