Latin games are one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. I love the fact that kids can learn an older language through fun games that teach. Latin has been a harder language for my kids to grasp, and really the only way to get a handle on any language is to practice.
Easy games for each age level that set aside 15 minutes a day for learning is the best formula for Latin. I have created a few ways to start with a basic level to practice and grow in Latin literacy.
Preschool Latin Games
Latin Alphabet Matching
Preschoolers love short matching games. In addition to this, they like games they can win easily. So, this fun matching game is adaptable to other ages but was created with a preschooler in mind. First, create the Latin alphabet on index cards. Make sure to include a second set to use in the matching game.
Second, lay the game out on a large table. I do adjust my matching games for preschool to help them remember. When we play matching games, whatever card is turned over stays over. This helps them to remember where the matches are located. When a match is found, we say the alphabet letter sound 2-3 times prior to them laying it in their pile. At the end, we go through all of the matches, repeating the sound again to help with memorizing. Then counting cards to see who wins at the end.
Latin Scavenger Hunt
The next game is easy for preschoolers to play also. A scavenger hunt for Latin games needs to have words written underneath a picture. Of course, they can‘t read well, so the picture will guide them to the item. First, use Latin words that match toys or objects. Second, choose ten because that is an easy number for their level of attention. Third, hide the objects in easy-to-find spots. When they obtain the object, help them to match the word and say it. I like to use the see it, say it, spell it to embed the word and meaning.
Playing this as one of the Latin games on a regular basis will ensure a good Latin vocabulary foundation. As preschoolers get used to the game, add more objects and cards.
Latin Flashcard Fun
Beat the timer is a quick and fun Latin game. For beat the timer, set a time such as five minutes. Start flipping through flashcards to see how many they understand. Each week build on this number and increase the amount.
Likewise, another fun flash card game is Pictionary. Draw pictures to match the flashcards to see if they can guess the word. This is one of our favorite Latin games to play.
Latin Games for Elementary Students
Elementary Latin games need to be slightly more challenging. The same concepts and games for preschoolers work at an elementary level. I like to add more movement for older kids. Movement during games helps to keep wiggles down and attention spans up.
Hopscotch is a fun way to learn and exercise at the same time. Latin hopscotch is easy to play. Using sidewalk chalk, create a hopscotch area. Instead of numbers, use Latin words. Then, play hopscotch as usual. At the end, I request that each child correctly use three of the words in a sentence.
Pool Noodle Latin Fun
In the same movement game format is a game using pool noodles. Over the years, I have used various pool noodle games during our homeschool day. This next game involves pool noodles set up in the layout of spoons.
First, lay down four pool noodles in the shape of a square. Second, have the homeschoolers stand in the middle of the square. Instead of playing cards, I am reading out Latin words. When they hear me repeat the same word four times, they grab a pool noodle. When the pool noodles are all taken, that round is over. The person without a pool noodle is out. Reset the game and continue on for as many rounds as they wish.
Latin Hula Hoop
Likewise, hula hoops come in so handy for many games. I like to use them creatively. This next hula hoop game requires six hula hoops. Lay them in two rows of three. This game resembles musical chairs. Reading a story that involves Latin words, the kids walk around (or jump) into the hula hoops. They must be in a hula hoop when you stop reading the story. The person not in a hoop is out. Hoola hoops can be taken away, or you can just continue with play using all of the hoops. Homeschoolers will learn Latin from hearing the words mixed in the story.
Middle School Latin Games
I include my middle schooler in all of our games. I have adjusted most of my games to work well with the three age groups that I currently homeschool. I do not have a preschooler anymore, but that doesn’t stop us from using the games they liked at that age. We use adaptable games for each age to accommodate the age learning and close any gaps. Reminders and refreshers are always a good idea, and sometimes just playing a matching game is fun.
Here are two games that we play with my middle schooler.
Name That Word
This is a really easy game. I have a stack of Latin flash cards. I read off the word in Latin, and they yell out the English meaning. In addition to this part of the game, we take turns reading off the flash cards.
To play another version is to have them yell out the Latin to the English. Whoever calls out a word correctly keeps the card. In the end, we count cards to find a winner. Those with the most cards win. Sometimes. My youngest is eight, and he doesn’t know as much Latin as his brothers. How I handle this is to allow him a certain set of cards to look over and study before we start. Then, I mix them into the deck, so he gets cards too.
Verb Tense Swat
Flyswatters work well with this game!
First, place a verb tense word written on an index card in the middle of the table. Each player has a swatter in their hand. When I say go, the first person to swat the word is the winner, but only if they can say which tense it belongs to. For example, the word is (dico). When I finish saying the word, the person who swats the word is the one who will repeat the singular or plural tenses of the word. If they get them correct, they get the point. My point range is between 15- 25, depending on how long I want to spend on the game.
Latin is a great language to start learning, and over time will be used again and again. We are finding Latin beginnings in several of our stories now, and the foundation has been set to identify the meanings. Latin is also a good bridge to learning Spanish.