French Vocabulary Games

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Teachers, are you searching for some fun games for your French classroom to help build students' vocabularies? This lesson gives you several ideas in an easy-to-use format you can apply today.

French Vocabulary Acquisition

Just like any type of classroom, it's important to balance direct instruction of core concepts with application skills. Why is this? Children's brains are wired to assimilate and accommodate new information by interacting with it, and the primary way they do this is through active learning. Think of how a young child figures out how to tie their shoe or jump rope. An adult can explain the concept to them, but it's the action of doing that makes learning stick.

Learning to speak French requires students to get direct instruction from you at the upstart. Your method of teaching them vocabulary plants schema, or core ideas and thoughts, in their brains. Then when you play a game or do an activity, the students will apply their prior knowledge in a new way, making the vocabulary words part of their long-term memory. The rest of this lesson will take a look at some fun games to use in your French classroom.

Playing Games in the French Classroom

You know your students best, so how you use the games below can vary widely. Consider playing them directly after you teach to apply concepts while ideas are new and fresh. You may be able to place some games into centers or other independent work situations. Some teachers create the games with students in the classroom so they can bring them home to play with their families.


Students will practice content-specific vocabulary.


  • Word lists


  1. Divide students into partners.
  2. Start by giving the first group a vocabulary word from a list or content area you're working on. For example, if you're working on kitchen words, you could give them the word cuillere, or spoon.
  3. This group now has one minute to come up with a word that begins with the ending letter of you word, in this case the letter 'e.'
  4. If the group finds a word, they get a point, and the next group has one minute to find a word that begins with the last letter of the word they supplied.
  5. If the group does not find a word, play passes on to the next group.
  • Modifications: To make the game less challenging allow students to use any vocabulary word, not just content-specific ones. Consider allowing some groups to use their books for help. To challenge students who are ready have them spell the word.

Memory Mayhem

Students will practice memory and recall of everyday objects in French.


  • Various objects from home or classroom
  • Scarf


  1. Gather objects your students have learned the names for, such as pencils, paper, spoons, balls, etc.
  2. Place the objects on a tray or table and cover with a blanket or scarf.
  3. Gather students around and tell them you will uncover the tray and give them two minutes to look at and remember the objects.
  4. Remove the scarf and start the time. Stop after two minutes and cover the tray.
  5. Now send students back to their desks and have them brainstorm a list of objects they remember using their French vocabulary.
  6. After five minutes, have students put their pencils down.
  7. Remove items from the tray one by one and have students check off if they remembered them.

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