6 Amusing Italian Language Games for Group Learning Sessions
Aren’t you tired of being alone, Italian learner?
You got your game on with all the individual Italian games and scoured the internet for the best game websites.
You have the hottest Italian language learning apps and the best Italian translator apps, and you’ve curated the most useful flashcards to optimize your Italian learning journey.
You’ve gone to great lengths to make learning Italian fun.
But aren’t you a little lonely?
What if I told you that you can still master Italian while playing Italian games in a group?
Set up your Facebook event and put on your best clothes. There’s an Italian language game night coming your way!
Why Play Italian Group Games?
As I’m sure you know, Italian learner, games are a fun way to learn a language. Besides, with games, it often doesn’t feel like you’re studying Italian at all, even though you’re receiving all the benefits of intense language practicing!
Don’t believe me? Just think about it. Games allow you to practice Italian skills in an engaging way. You have to actively use the language by reading instructions and cards, participating in the actual game aspect and often writing out responses.
Add the element of a group, and the practice maximizes: You need to listen to other players, speak to them in return and generally put the language to use.
Further, group games allow you to learn Italian communally: If there’s a word or a phrase you don’t know, others may know it and teach it to you. This has the added benefit of learning in context, which gives knowledge a better chance of sticking than it would if you simply read the word in a textbook or a novel.
Best of all, the group games listed below can be played with little to no resources or assembly required!
How to Find an Italian Language Group
Group games can be great to use at parties with Italian speakers and other learners, at an Italian club event or with children who speak or are learning Italian.
But where do you, a sole learner, find other Italian learners and speakers?
Websites like Tandem provide a great place to find language learners in your community. Simply choose your country and the language you want to learn and search the directory for other Italian learners in the vicinity of your home!
Further, check out group meeting websites such as Meetup. On this site, you can search for an Italian language or cultural club and make some friends to play language-learning games with.
If meeting in person isn’t your thing, there are plenty of opportunities to meet language partners online.
For starters, join italki to find an Italian language partner and start a network for playing Italian games. Italki is well-known for its one-on-one language lessons, but it also offers terrific community features. You can post a public invite to play language games, or check out local user’s profiles on the “Language Partners” page, where you can send messages or add friends to your network.
Further, also check out My Language Exchange to find out Italian speakers and learners. Similar to italki, this website allows you to make connections and find penpals who have the same drive to learn the language as you.
6 Italian Language Games for Mastering Italian in a Group
Now that you have a group assembled, try out these six great Italian language games to play at your next party!
And once you’ve warmed up with games, you can add another level to your studying by using FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
And now, it’s party time!
Our first group game is called “Sciarada,” the Italian version of “Charades” but with a small twist. Contrary to the English version of the game, players in “Sciarada” are allowed to speak—in fact, they’re encouraged to, which is perfect for those wanting to practice their speaking and listening skills in Italian.
This game is recommended for intermediate to advanced learners but can be amended for beginners.
Like the traditional “Charades,” a player chooses a word and acts it out while other players try to guess it. As well as acting, players are allowed to use words to help them as long as they don’t use the word itself or cheat by using explanations like “fa rima con…” (“it rhymes with…”) or “inizia con la lettura…” (“it starts with the letter…”).
Points can be scored on an individual basis or in teams. In fact, playing in a team will be the most beneficial to beginner Italian learners. Try both variants and see who’s the Italian “Sciarada” master!
This game is a great way to learn new vocabulary in Italian, push the limits of your own Italian language knowledge and stretch your brain to get others to guess your word correctly.
2. “Acqua, Acqua, Fuoco, Fuoco” (“Water, Water, Fire, Fire”)
The Italian equivalent of “Hot and Cold,” “Acqua, acqua, fuoco, fuoco” is perfect to play in a small group and with beginner Italian learners.
To play, one person is designated as the leader and chooses an object in the room. One other player is the seeker. Their job is to move around the room and try to find the object that the leader has selected.
When the player is close to the object, the leader will say fuoco (fire), indicating that the player is “hot.” When the player is far away, the leader will say acqua (water), indicating that the player is cold.
To make things more interesting, the leader can use variants of fuoco and acqua to show varying degrees of closeness to the object. For instance, focherello (small fire) can indicate that the player is a little close to the object.
Once the object is found, the guesser must accurately name it in Italian.
This game is great for learning common vocabulary in the space where the game is being played. Play it in various locations like in the living room, kitchen or outside to maximize word possibilities.
3. “Telefono Senza Fili” (“Telephone Without Wires”)
Like the English game “Broken Telephone,” our third game is a hilarious way to practice Italian. Make sure all the glasses have been moved out of the way or someone might accidentally snort Coca-Cola through their nose!
In a line or a circle, one player thinks up an Italian phrase and relays it to the next person by whispering it. The phrase makes its way through all the players until the last person, who then recites what they’ve heard.
The result is hilarious and often completely different from the original phrase.
This game is great for learning Italian vocabulary and practicing sentence structure. Further, it’s perfect for all levels of Italian—even beginners.
For advanced learners, try to create complicated sentences or write out Italian proverbs or idioms on pieces of paper that players can choose from at random.
4. “Stai Creando il Mio Amore per A” (“Creating My Love for A”)
This is a game all about creating sentences that begin with the same letter. It’s perfect for beginner learners who want to increase their vocabulary with common words and phrases.
For example, the players may decide on the letter A. Then, every player attempts to create a sentence using as many words as they can that start with A.
The player who manages to use the most words wins a point, and the game continues with a different letter.
This game is great because it allows learners to practice vocabulary as well as rack their brain for previously learned Italian words and sentence structure.
Make things more complicated by setting a word minimum: For example, make a rule that all sentences must have at least seven individual words.
5. “Venti Domande” (“Twenty Questions”)
This guessing game is like “Sciarada” in reverse.
Each player is assigned a person, place or thing, but they’re not told what it is. By posing questions to each other, players must guess what they’ve been assigned.
If a player exceeds 20 asked questions, they automatically default on their turn and must wait until the next round to try to guess again.
This game is great for intermediate Italian learners who have a good grasp of vocabulary and basic grammar. It’s also perfect for practicing Italian question and answer structures.
Amp up the challenge by focusing exclusively on things in Italian culture such as Leonardo da Vinci or il Colosseo (the Colosseum).
6. “Mannaro” (“Werewolf”)
The sixth game on our list is by far the most complicated, so it’s recommended for intermediate and advanced players.
A spin on the English game “Werewolf” that’s taking party games by storm, “Mannaro” requires players to take on a persona and role play. This game is great in settings with a larger group (seven to 10 people) who have pretty good fluency in Italian, and it’s fantastic for practicing spontaneous speech.
To begin, assign one player to be the leader who doesn’t play but rather oversees the game.
Using pre-made slips of paper, each player is assigned either buono (good) or cattivo (evil). One player is assigned il mannaro (the werewolf). Everyone keeps their identity secret.
During each game “night,” all players close their eyes and the werewolf secretly indicates to the leader who they want to “kill” that night. During each game “day,” players work together to achieve different goals: The players who are cattivo try to assist the wolf in killing all the buoni players, while the buoni players try to stop the mannaro.
Each day culminates in a trial, during which all good players vote to eliminate the person they think is the mannaro, while all evil players try to take out the good players, instead.
The game ends in two ways: either all the good players are killed by the wolf (the cattivi and mannaro win), or the good players correctly identify the werewolf and convict him/her at trial (the buoni win).
The trick is to fast-talk your way through the day periods without giving away your affiliation. It’s tough but incredibly fun!
So, gather your friends and set up an Italian Game Night tonight.
Which reminds me: I have my own to organize. I gotta go buy nachos!