As someone who has been taking French for nearly five years, I’ve had my share of both doozies and successful practice methods. I’ve found that I recall the language best when I am actually enjoying the practice, using fun ways to practice french, not just memorizing a Quizlet vocabulary list (but who doesn’t?).
Although Duolingo will forever be my favorite language-learning platform, I have found some other ways to spice up French study sessions (or really, any language!).
1. Read French Blogs/Create Your Own Collection of French Articles
I’m sure my interest in blogs is obvious, but it wasn’t until recently that I thought of the idea to actually read French ones. I even created my own folder of French articles. They’re all topics I’m interested in-travel, beauty, fashion, etc. and that makes it so much more enjoyable. Also, because I’m getting my articles from a Francophone website, I can trust it to be pretty grammatically accurate (and not have Google Translate mistakes). Although I mostly print out blog posts, it is a great idea to print out other text styles such as a speech transcript or company brochure. *If you have an IB French exam to prepare for, this is a good way to practice different writing styles. My favorite Francophone blogs are La Penderie de Chloe and Tokyobanhbao.
2. Play Online Games in French
I can’t remember the last time I spent “free time” playing computer games, but how about for homework? Although I don’t think this is quite as effective as reading the blogs, it still helps improve vocabulary, especially when playing trivia games. Below is my (current) list of go-to websites:
- jeux.fr: If you can get past the obnoxious amount of ads, this website is a great choice because it has such a large variety. There’s animal games, fashion games, action games, and many more. This site does require patience, as the games take a while to load, and many games must manually be put into the French language. In other words, only go to this site if you’re really determined!
- QuipoQuiz: This one is my favorite because it has a gorgeous, clean layout, and the trivia is so much fun. From pop culture to sports, this trivia site has almost every quiz imaginable and I highly recommend it.
- TopQu!zz: This is another quiz website. There are some ads, but it loads fast. I prefer the former site, but this one has literally thousands of quizzes because anyone can make one.
3. Go Fantasy Shopping Online
One of my favorite pastime activities is shopping online. Do I ever buy anything? About 1/500 times I do. Usually, though, I just browse and imagine what I would buy if I had the money. It’s common knowledge that Paris is one of the fashion capitols of the world, so what better way to practice French than to browse Parisian store websites? The following list is a compilation of my recent favorites, all department stores (because department stores=large selection).
- 24s.com: As soon as you select French as your language and choose your gender you’ll be in tears by the abundance of things you wish you could afford. 24s is basically all very high-end selections, but is very fun to daydream about!
- Galeries Lafayette: This list wouldn’t be complete wihthout the famous Galeries Lafayette! This site is more affordable than the former, but still expect to pay at least $100 for each item (that is, if you actually plan on making a purchase).
- Place des Tendances by Printemps: Finally, an affordable store! Everything at this website is discounted (or at least in my experience). I have even found clothes for less than $20! You can still find popular designer brands, but there are also countless French brands that are completely new to me.
4. Word Searches
If you’re looking for a fun way to memorize a specific vocabulary category (such as food or travel), this is the way to go. After looking for a-v-i-o-n for a whole two minutes, you’re likely not to forget so easily! I like this website because it gives you the option to play online or print it out. You can also create your own word search completely free. This option is probably the simplest of the fun ways to practice French if you’re short on time.
5. Children’s TV Shows + Extra
First of all I should probably explain what in the world Extra is. Extra is a small sitcom production that is offered in multiple languages, including French. The comedic show is actually pretty funny and entertaining and I have been watching/re-watching it for about a year. In fact, Extra has been one of the best methods for improving my friends, and has perhaps been just as helpful as Duolingo for me. Here is a link that explains it and has a playlist of the episodes.
I recommend children shows for learning French because they are slower and easier to understand than a regular adult program. I enjoy Les Adventures de Tin Tin (above) and you can find a playlist here.
6. Watch/Listen to Familiar Movies & Songs in French
There are some movies I just know by heart such as Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. These disks (along with most all movies, I believe) come with the option to play the movie in French. Since I am already so familiar with the story and dialogue, I can easily focus on the French. The same goes for songs. Like many, I know Disney songs by heart so videos such as this “Be Our Guest” clip really helped me to quickly learn some new phrases.
I hope these fun ways to practice French help you improve your studying and French efficiency. I would love to hear what helps enjoy studying foreign languages!