Updated: Apr 14, 2021
The holidays are finally here! After a long, difficult, and tiring year, we want all of our students to have an extra special holiday season, even if it looks a little different this year. A majority of shoppers are turning to online stores, holiday parties have been relegated to Zoom and long phone calls, and many families’ holiday budgets are even taking a hit. But we think that this signals a return to the simpler pleasures in life, and reminding ourselves what’s important: quality family time. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you want to miss out on Santa’s visit! Fortunately, you can have both. Here we’ve got a selection of affordable gifts for learners of French that can be found online and will help liven your holidays.
French Language Playing Cards
Who doesn’t love a little Go Fish or Crazy 8s? Card games are a staple of any family, especially at the holidays. If you have some burgeoning bilinguals in yours, you can make these games even more fun while helping them keep up with their French practice.
French language playing cards are just like your normal playing cards but have French words and lingo on them. For instance, these Lingo French cards have 54 phrases that can be useful in daily life, making these perfect gifts for learners. Practice saying these aloud while playing to help your child’s pronunciation. And why not add a little bonus? If your opponent can tell you the meaning of a French phrase that you say out loud five turns in a row, they receive a bonus in the game (draw, card, point, etc.).
You can also use these to expand your family’s cultural learning. A new favourite game, for example, could be picquet – a French card game that has been around since the fifteenth century. The game is a quite simple two-player. Go here for a video explaining how to play, or here for written rules.
Timeline: French Vocabulary and History
Timeline is another of these gifts for learners that will both expand their cultural understanding and their vocabulary. It also happens to be a card game.
Timeline is a deceptively simple game. The goal is to create a timeline of events or inventions in the right order, without being given the dates in advance. Each player gets four cards with an image of the event or invention. The back of the card has the date it took place or was invented, but they are not allowed to see this. A card in the centre of the timeline is flipped around so they can see the date, and they must build their timeline from this.
Timeline comes in a variety of forms, including the history of France and a timeline of inventions. Underneath the image on each card is the word for it in French. This can be helpful in expanding vocabulary, without overwhelming the player with a long phrase or sentence. And don’t be fooled – not only is this game harder than it sounds, it’s also oodles of fun.
Goal-Keeping Gifts for Learners
All learners have their goals. What they want to achieve in the next week, month, year, with the language they’re working towards fluently speaking. Something like a goal journal can be really helpful in keeping them on track. Better still, they can write down new words they’ve learned or even full phrases to keep a record of their new vocabulary. It will become a kind of personalised French-language dictionary.
Alternatively, for those who aren’t as excited about goal tracking and noting their progress, a simple French-language calendar is a good way to work in daily French practice. Something like this Living Language French tear away calendar is ideal.
These kinds of gifts for learners are best suited to teenagers. However, you can start journaling with your little ones using fun notebooks and letting them write down the words they’re learning. While these may not be as goal focused in the adult sense, these can work well to help your little bilingual practice writing and reading French and also help them take charge of their learning.
Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World is simply a stunning book. Written by Ella Frances Sanders, the book illustrates more than fifty words from languages across the globe that just cannot be translated into English. This book helps to remind us of the vital importance of cultural diversity, while also revealing the wonder and magic of language. But significantly for your burgeoning bilingual, it shows the importance of fluency in a language to capture its full beauty. This book is a perfect way to inspire the entire family to take up another language. Because it isn’t specifically aimed at French, it offers insight into a variety of cultures. Who knows? You may decide even to start learning another language!
Flash Sticks French Stickies
These little stickies are wonderful gifts for learners who are also in school and need a bit of organisation. Flash Sticks French stickies have words for beginners with the definition underneath. These can be stuck in books or around the house with reminders, while encouraging vocabulary expansion at the same time. You can find the Flash Sticks French Stickies here.
Finding entertaining gifts for learners can be tough if you don’t know what you’re looking for. These gifts combine learning with pleasure, and all within an affordable budget. Those like the playing cards even make great stocking stuffers!
Happy Holidays from the entire FranceABC family! We can’t wait to see you in the New Year.