Remember when you were in elementary school and your teacher gave you that Styrofoam cup with the potting soil mix in it?
“It’s going to be a plant,” she told you confidently. “You just need to water it, and wait.”
So you waited.
You stared every day at that little cup of speckled dirt. You dutifully watered it every morning, and gazed at it with a mixture of hope and doubt every afternoon before the bell rang.
Eventually, you saw a hint of green poking out of the soil. Then a tiny leaf emerged. Days later, the leaf had a few companions.
Finally, you had a little seedling that was your pride and joy. And you could easily imagine it growing into a strong, healthy plant.
When you’re just starting to learn French, you might feel like you’re staring at a pot of barren soil. Just as a seed needs time to absorb water and light so it can grow into a plant, you need to absorb words and concepts over time to grow your French skills.
But sometimes, you get tired of sitting still and waiting.
Wait no more: you can make that soil more fertile and amp up the linguistic photosynthesis with these interactive French exercises. Aimed primarily at foundational concepts, these exercises will help even seedling French speakers master basic vocabulary topics, grammar concepts and more.
Let’s spring into action!
What Are the Benefits of Interactive French Exercises?
Even beginners can jump right in. As a French-language novice, it might seem like all you do is memorize words and grammar rules. But these interactive exercises will have you jumping for joy! They were designed to help any French learner master fundamental skills.
They require active learning. Although you’ll need to do a certain amount of passive learning when you’re just starting out (such as listening to French lessons or absorbing French music and audio), interactive exercises will force you to actively apply the concepts you’re learning. Through this process, you’ll quickly and clearly see what skills you’ve mastered and where your learning gaps are.
You can practice many French-language skills. There are tons of interactive exercises available online to help you study a wide range of French vocabulary and grammar themes. No matter what topic you need to study, you’re likely to find an interactive exercise that addresses it. We’ll cover several below, organized by the skill that they target.
Spring into Action with These Interactive French Exercises for Beginners
Interactive Exercises for Building Vocabulary
Begin with the basics. Test your vocabulary one word at a time with this simple, interactive platform.
Just hit the “New Word” button to present an English word. (If your native language is German or Spanish, the platform also lets you work with those languages.) Your job is to enter the corresponding French word in the “Answer” box—then select “Test” to check your response. The exercise automatically tallies the number of words you’ve translated correctly so you can easily track your progress.
When you’ve mastered the first set of words, this second vocabulary trainer set presents about a hundred more you can try.
Grow your knowledge of French words and phrases with this versatile exercise. You can specify your proficiency level (beginner or intermediate) and choose from a wide range of vocabulary topics, including everything from adjectives to the weather to health problems.
Rather than reading and translating words, with this exercise you’ll be listening to spoken French words and choosing pictures that match their definitions. In every round of the exercise, three flowerpots appear—each decorated with a different drawing. Choose the flowerpot with the image matching the spoken word or phrase.
Every time you choose the correct flowerpot, a rain cloud waters it, transforming it into a flower. Incorrect choices mean empty flowerpots. Create a sunny bouquet of blossoms as you progress through the exercise—and your ability to understand spoken French will bloom.
With audio and visual context, this exercise stimulates both your ears and eyes—and the lively sensory input will secure new words in your memory. Plus, with its wide range of vocabulary topics, this exercise handily supplements your more focused studies.
Feast on food words. Serve yourself a table full of food to identify in French.
In this exercise, you’ll have to select the correct food or beverage to match the target French-language food word. Watch the food float through the air, propelled by magical forces that defy gravity. After a few meals, the exercise ends—with an empty table, and a full stomach.
The engaging visuals keep your attention throughout the exercise. If you’re unsure about some of the vocabulary, click the “Learn words” button to review before you start the exercise.
This exercise is available in both an audio and text version, so you can tailor it to your particular learning style.
Color your world. Strengthen your grasp of French colors with this exercise reminiscent of the electronic Simon Says game.
Before starting the exercise, you can review your French color words by using the “learn” feature. Take your pick of the audio or text version. See if you can click rapidly through the exercise without getting tripped up!
After you’ve identified a few individual colors, this exercise ups the ante by asking you to replicate sequences of colors—with French color words as your only guide.
Interactive Exercises for Checking and Improving Spelling
Execute a winning game of Hangman. Improve your French spelling and escape the dastardly hangman’s noose.
Use the clue in English and the onscreen keyboard (complete with accented letters) to save your stick-figure life by making as few spelling mistakes as you can.
When you want to start over, just click on the square with the gallows inside of it.
By guessing letters when you’re uncertain about the target French word, you’ll begin to internalize common French letter groupings and orders.
Bee all abuzz about French spelling. Even if you can’t find a French spelling bee near you, you can still prove your French spelling prowess with interactive exercises.
Sharpen your French spelling skills by picking the correctly-spelled word or phrase from a list of options.
This game comes from the same site as Sow Grow, and again, you have tons of vocabulary topics to choose from.
When you begin the exercise, a picture of the target vocabulary word will appear on the left side of the screen. Choose the correctly spelled French word that matches the picture. But choose carefully—some of the options are nearly identical. You can always try the same topic again; the choices are randomized, so each attempt is different.
This exercise improves your comprehension by encouraging careful visual scrutiny of text—and the more you do the exercise, the more French spelling will become second nature to you.
Interactive Exercises for Learning Grammar
Ask all the important questions—French journalist style. Knowing how to formulate questions is essential to holding conversations with native French speakers. Practice your interrogative French vocabulary as you fill in the blanks with the correct question words by using context clues.
Once you’ve filled in a blank, choose the letter “C” next to the answer box to check your answer. If you were correct, asterisks will appear around your text. Equal signs will appear if you missed the mark.
Select Réponses (Answers) at the bottom of the screen to see the answer key, and Effacer (Erase) to restart the exercise.
Thinking about the context of the questions and their answers will cement your recollection of each French question word. Ready for more? Try part two and part three of these interactive, inquisitive exercises.
Verbs are where the action is. Learning to conjugate the three main types of regular French verbs (-er verbs, -ir verbs and -re verbs) is one of the most important steps in being able to express yourself in French. Learning these conjugation patterns also means you can easily incorporate new (regular) verbs into your vocabulary.
This Jeopardy-like quiz board takes you through a series of regular verb conjugations.
A word to the wise: if you have autofill turned on in your browser, consider turning it off temporarily or clearing your cache if you want to repeat the exercise. Otherwise, your previous answers will reappear when you start to type, which can get distracting.
The randomness of this exercise provides a more natural way of practicing verb conjugations than memorizing and reciting the standard je/tu/il… (I/you [singular]/he…) pronoun paradigm. Because you’re not just rattling off conjugation patterns by rote, you’ll have to think more carefully about which conjugation is correct.
Conjugaison de verbes irréguliers au présent de l’indicatif (Present-tense Irregular Verb Conjugation)
Break the rules: irregular verbs. Some of the most important French verbs—such as être (to be), savoir (to know), dire (to say or to tell) and faire (to make or to do)—are irregular. They don’t follow the same patterns as regular verbs, so their conjugations need to be individually memorized.
Interactive exercises are an effective tool for learning and retaining these indispensable verbs. They require you to apply irregular conjugations in realistic (or at least randomized) situations, as opposed to rote memorization.
On this site, you’ll get a straightforward lesson in a handful of common irregular French verbs. Scroll down, and there are different exercises where you can practice using them through matching, multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions.
Squeeze in contracted articles. French is full of mandatory contractions. This set of exercises uses musical instruments such as l’accordéon (the accordion) to teach you how to use the following contracted articles:
- du (of the [before a masculine noun])
- de la (of the [before a feminine noun ])
- de l’ (of the [before a singular noun beginning with a vowel or letter "h”])
- des (of the [b[before a plural noun]/li>
Learn the French name for each instrument using the lesson at the top of the page, then try your skills with matching and multiple choice.
Choosing the correct contracted article in context, rather than in isolation, anchors real-life usages in your mind and brings abstract, hard-to-remember grammar rules to life.
Interactive Exercises for Practicing Numbers
Use basic arithmetic skills to increase your mastery of the first dozen written numbers in French. Choose from eight possible answers to a simple addition or subtraction problem.
This exercise is timed, so keep an eye on the hourglass!
Zipping through these calculations with nothing but the French number words for clues will force you to use the French words functionally (it’s great practice for paying/asking for change in a French store). You won’t have time to translate each number from English, since the potential answers will be presented in a different order each time.
Go digital. Show your comprehension of French number words by writing the right digits to match them.
The clues are arranged so that easily-confused numbers are presented one right after the other—highlighting possible pitfalls, and causing you to stop and think about the correct answer.
Ready to venture into higher mathematics? Write the correct numerals for French words in the deux cent (two hundred) to mille (one thousand) range.
Master ordinary ordinals. First, you learned cardinal numbers—un, deux, trois (one, two, three), etc. Now you can put things in their place with this fill-in-the-blank ordinal number exercise. It’s first class and second to none!
Rather than just reciting the ordinals in numerical order, the context of the sentences will reinforce the meaning of each ordinal.
Hit the jackpot with bingo. No French-language bingo parlor in your neighborhood? No worries! You can practice visual and auditory comprehension of French numbers from zéro à
cent (zero to one hundred) with this nifty online bingo game.
This French-language version differs slightly from the traditional bingo board, since the numbers aren’t arranged in columns by letter. Instead, any number from zero to one hundred can occupy any square on the board, which adds to the challenge.
Feeling zen? Try the untimed game by choosing the green circle with just the play button. For more of a high-energy bingo parlor experience, select the play button with the hourglass for a timed game.
A virtual bingo “caller” will announce each number. You’ll also see the number written out in French at the top of the board. If you click the wrong number, the caller will repeat the correct one until you find it.
When you hit the bingo jackpot, you’ll hear a triumphant “Tu as gagné!” (“You won!”).
The randomness of the numbers takes you off autopilot and encourages you to think about the clues you’re seeing and hearing. The timed version spurs you to master French numbers even faster.
Interactive Exercises for Telling Time
Rock around the clock. Timepieces from many different eras materialize on the screen, but only one matches the time written out in French. Hone your sense of French time by picking the correct clock.
If il est huit heures (it is eight o’clock), for example, you must choose the digital or analog clock with the corresponding time.
As the exercise progresses, you’ll encounter more challenging variations, such as il est dix heures et quart (it is ten-fifteen).
The wide variety of clock designs continually challenges you to find the target time, no matter how it’s presented visually. The different conversational phrasings teach you several different ways to indicate the same time.
Spell out the years. Write out the French words for the years when events like the storming of the Bastille and the Battle of Waterloo occurred. This exercise internalizes those French year-words, which are rarely written out but often used in conversation.
If you’re not sure of the correct year, just select the question mark right under the name of the event.
Spanning the centuries, this exercise teaches you the patterns for forming the names of years in any era. Plus, you’ll get a nice primer on the major events in French and world history.
Conquer the calendar. March sequentially through the year, identifying the days of the week, followed by the months of the year. Seasonally-appropriate pictures serve as additional clues.
You can review the French calendar words and their pronunciations before you begin the exercise. While the words are presented in calendar order, the multiple-choice answers are randomized and keep you thinking throughout the exercise.
Similar-looking options help ensure you’re paying full attention so you can make the right choices.
Traverse time from minutes to months. Use French words to identify units of time on a clock and a calendar. Later in the exercise, your view from a virtual window gives you the hints you need to choose the correct times of day and seasons of the year in French.
The vocabulary list on the initial screen provides a refresher before you begin the exercise. The charming illustrations of the tree that changes over time link specific mental images to abstract concepts, as do the highlighted parts of the clocks and calendars.
When you’re just starting to learn the most basic words and concepts in French, you might feel like you’re just a petite (little) seedling in a francophone forest. These interactive French exercises will help you sprout up and branch out into a mighty arbre (tree).
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.