Ah, the enchanting world of French immersion education! As parents, we know the magic of witnessing our children navigate and learn a new language. But, let’s be honest, inspiring the little ones to eagerly embrace French learning after school hours can sometimes feel like a chore.
But making French fun doesn’t have to always mean homework and serious stuff.
As a French immersion teacher and a parent of two children in the French immersion program, I’ve come up with 20 fun and exciting ways to boost your child’s French. From games to treasure hunts, art to dancing, you’ll find simple and active ways to make French a part of your life—and some of these ideas will even get your kids moving while they learn!
Think of it as family fun with a French twist.
1. Cooking adventures en français
Turn cooking into a language learning experience by involving your child in preparing French recipes. Cooking gets the whole family involved and connecting in the kitchen. It turns the idea of homework from a sedentary activity to something you can actively engage in—and enjoy the fruits of your labour afterward!
Discuss the ingredients in French and see if you can follow recipes in French. This hands-on activity improves language skills and offers a taste of some of the best parts of French culture.
Here are a few simple French recipes you can try with your child for a cooking adventure:
- Crêpes: Crêpes are thin French pancakes that can be filled with sweet or savoury ingredients.
- Croque-monsieur: A croque-monsieur is a French grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
- Quiche Lorraine: Quiche Lorraine is a tasty pie with a custard filling, bacon, and cheese.
- Tarte Tatin: Tarte Tatin is an upside-down caramelized apple tart.
- Mousse au chocolat: Mousse au chocolat is a classic French chocolate mousse.
2. Outdoor scavenger hunts
Organize scavenger hunts in your backyard or a local park with clues and instructions given in French. This interactive game encourages children to listen, comprehend, and follow directions, all while exploring the outdoors. We have many free scavenger hunts at Active for Life for every season and occasion. Just print and go start exploring!
This sensory scavenger hunt that will get your kiddos reviewing their French vocabulary while running, skipping, and exploring in the fresh air.
3. Storytelling through drama
Encourage your child to create and act out short skits or plays in French. They can choose their favourite stories or create their own narratives. Perhaps you can write your own script with the vocabulary they know or are learning.
You can keep it simple by having your child act out a simple story while reading it out loud. (You joining in will make this even more fun! No French language mastery required!) There are also some resources online, such as this free download of Snow White from Teachers Pay Teachers.
These activities build vocabulary, pronunciation, and confidence in language use.
4. Music and dance
Introduce French music and dance to your child’s evening and weekend routine. You can listen to French songs together and learn the lyrics or simply dance along to the music, helping your child connect words with movements and rhythm.
There are lots of teachers who post great song choices online for all ages. Got a preteen? This is a great list from Mme R’s French Resources. For younger kids, there are so many options with videos, too. Busy Little Kiddies separated them into categories for ease of use.
Manie Musicale, a fantastic French music program run and organized by teachers, has catchy, new, and fun music playlists you can play and start dancing to! They vet songs and videos to ensure they are appropriate.
5. Language learning through art
Does your child love art? Engage in art projects that involve labelling items or describing the process of something in French. This can be anything from painting to crafting—helping your child learn new vocabulary while expressing their creativity.
- French vocabulary art cards: Create flashcards with French vocabulary words on one side and corresponding images or drawings on the other. Have your child draw the pictures themselves to reinforce word associations. For example, for the word “pomme” (apple), they can draw an apple next to the word.
- French alphabet art: Dedicate a day to each letter of the French alphabet. Your child can create art that represents words starting with that letter. For example, for “P,” they might draw a “papillon” (butterfly). This activity reinforces letter recognition and expands vocabulary. To challenge your older French learners, have them pick a theme and research words they could use around that theme.
- French comic strips: Challenge your child to create a comic strip in French. They can invent characters, write dialogues, and illustrate their story. This encourages storytelling and conversational skills in the language. You can print some free comic strip templates from Paper Trail Design.
· French art appreciation: Introduce your child to famous French artists like Monet, Degas, or Renoir. Explore their works and discuss them in French. Encourage your child to create their own art inspired by these artists or their styles. Comic Kids Org offers YouTube videos called “Art History for Kids” that feature various famous artists.
6. Nature journaling in French
Encourage your child to keep a nature journal in French. This will get your busy French learner outdoors and active while honing their French skills! They can document outdoor observations, sketch plants and animals, and describe their experiences using the language. Teachers Pay Teachers has a teacher-created one you can purchase or use as inspiration to create yourself!
7. Language-focused board games
You can opt for French versions of popular board games or explore language-specific games that encourage conversation and vocabulary building. Get the whole family involved on a set night every week!
- Dixit: Dixit is a storytelling and guessing game that encourages creativity and vocabulary expansion. Players use illustrated cards to create imaginative stories, using French words and phrases to describe their cards.
- Bananagrams (French edition): Bananagrams is a fast-paced word game where players race to create a grid of interconnected words. The French edition offers French letters, making it a great language-learning tool.
- Le Jeu du bac (Scattergories): Le Jeu du bac is similar to Scattergories, where players try to come up with words that fit specific categories and start with a designated letter. It’s a fun way to expand vocabulary and encourage quick thinking. There are lots of free printables online.
- Rory’s Story Cubes (French edition): Rory’s Story Cubes are dice with images players use to create stories. The French edition can be a fantastic way to encourage storytelling and creativity while practicing French vocabulary.
- Tordu de rire: Tordu de rire is a French version of the classic game Twister. Players must place their hands and feet on coloured circles while following spoken commands in French. It’s a great way to learn body parts and directional words.
- Simon Says (Jacques a dit): Play a game of Simon Says in French. The leader gives commands in French, such as “Jacques a dit sautez!” (Simon says jump) or “Jacques n’a pas dit touchez vos pieds!” (Simon didn’t say touch your toes). This game reinforces listening and comprehension skills.
- French charades (Mimes en famille): Play a game of charades using French words and phrases. Players act out French words without speaking, and others have to guess the word or phrase in French.
- French Pictionary (Pictionary en français): Play a French version of Pictionary where players draw French words or phrases, and others guess what they’re drawing. It’s a great way to reinforce vocabulary and creativity.
8. Virtual pen pals
Connect your child with other children who are native French speakers or who are also learning the language. This exchange can happen through video calls, emails, or virtual platforms, fostering real-world language practice and cultural exchange.
Or your child might be excited that you scheduled a call with their best friend once a week—as long as they chat in French!
9. French language podcasts for kids
Find age-appropriate podcasts in French that tell stories, discuss interesting topics, or teach language skills. Listening to French regularly improves comprehension and pronunciation.
- Efba (Éducation française Bay Area) has compiled a list of 11 French podcasts for kids that they have carefully curated, including fairy tales, myths, current events, and history.
- Radio Canada – Zone Jeunesse is great for older kids and offers shows, articles, music, and games. While Zone Petits is ideal for young primary-aged learners.
- Radio Canada’s Ohdio has podcasts, audiobooks, and concerts—and it’s also available as an app.
- For your junior or intermediate-level French learner, 1 jour 1 actu provides daily news with simple and accessible language, podcasts, and videos.
10. French film nights
Choose age-appropriate French movies or animated films and watch them with French subtitles. Afterward, discuss the plot, characters, and your favourite scenes in French. FluentU lists seven popular French movies for kids and offers some tips for parents. All you need is popcorn for this French homework!
11. Language learning apps and games
Utilize language learning apps designed for kids. These apps offer interactive games, quizzes, and challenges to help children build vocabulary and language skills while having fun.
Check out French à la Carte’s ten apps for children and teens. The app Bloups! may help beginners practice basic French syllables, while Blips! offers a similar practice for French number recognition. A teacher fave is the free app Boukili. Users have unlimited access to hundreds of books and games.
12. Create a language journal
Encourage your child to keep a journal where they write about their day, thoughts, and experiences in French. This can be a creative way to practice writing and vocabulary. Livres Poutine is a Canadian company that has created a French writing prompt journal for kids learning a second language.
13. Language-themed projects
Engage in projects that involve creating visual aids like flashcards, posters, or word puzzles with French vocabulary words. Education.com offers a Wordsearch Generator. Simply input any new vocabulary your child is learning or studying and have them find the words!
14. Visit French-inspired locations
If possible, visit local French cafes, restaurants, or cultural centres. Order your food in French, or simply work on decoding the menu! You can also find out about local francophone events happening near you. Are there any musical artists visiting your town? There are often festivals and celebrations that are open to all. Engaging with native speakers in a real-world context can boost confidence and language comprehension.
15. French karaoke
Sing along to French songs. Provide the lyrics and encourage your child to sing along. This improves pronunciation and rhythm and is so much fun! Basho and Friends offers a 30-minute French sing-along compilation for younger ones! For older kids, this YouTube playlist of last year’s Manie Musicale songs provides all the songs and videos with captions!
16. Virtual museum tours
Explore French museums online. Many museums offer virtual tours that can introduce your child to French art, history, and culture. Big Seven Travel suggests seven French museums you can explore virtually.
17. Language-swap playdates
Organize playdates with other families with children learning French in the French immersion program. Create an environment where children can interact and play while allowing them to practice the language together—maybe by engaging in one of the activities from this list!
18. Daily routine labelling
Label everyday household items in French. This helps your child associate words with objects they use every day. Before you know it, the whole family will be weaving French into conversations like “The cup is in the lavabo!” or “Can I watch télé?”
19. French nature walks
Take walks in a park or nature reserve and discuss what you see using French vocabulary related to plants, animals, and natural phenomena. A French Start lists some key words introduced before setting off on a family forest hike. Review these words and let your child take the lead, observe, and find each item along the way.
20. French cultural celebrations
Observe French holidays or cultural events like Bastille Day by learning about their significance and customs in French. Lingo Circle outlines some French traditions that kids will love. Learning about them might open up some opportunities to engage in some of the celebrations in your community or at home!
I hope these ideas can help to immerse your child in the French language while catering to your child’s different interests and learning styles. The key is to make language learning enjoyable and active and integrate it into everyday activities. You can help create a holistic language learning experience that fosters a genuine love for the French language and culture.