Make Language Learning Fun (25 Helpful Ways Explained)

Learning a new language does not have to be a difficult chore. After all, there are plenty more ways of learning a language than just writing and rewriting vocabulary words. With todays advancements in technology, there are so many more options than ever before.

Studies show that if a language learning activity is made in a fun way, its lessons will be comprehended and remembered more quickly. This is critical for acquisition of a second or other language. From tasks like journaling to traveling, there are many ways to make learning a language fun.

This article highlights 25 ways to make language learning fun. From watching foreign movies to drawing language maps to learning curse words (though as a language teacher in public schools, I haven’t used that one!), you are bound to find at least a couple of language-learning tips on this list that sound fun and exciting to you. In fact, you can even make a challenge out of doing each and every one of the fun tasks!

What is the Most Fun Language to Learn?

Determining the “funness” of learning a language depends on several different factors, such as your first language, surroundings and interests. 

A language can be fun to learn if it relates to a language that you already know. For example, if you already know Spanish, then Portuguese and Italian will come naturally to you. Already having a handle on the structure and verb types of a language can make learning a related language a breeze. This fast progress will excite and encourage you.

Learning a language spoken by other people within your community can also make language learning fun. For example, if you live in Miami, Florida, it would be more fun to learn Spanish than Japanese because there is such a large Hispanic/Latino population there. You would have more people to conversate with, and feel more a part of your community.

A language can also be fun to learn if you are interested in the culture associated with it. For example, if you are really into Anime, then it might be fun for you to learn Japanese. If you love Spanish/Latino music and dance culture, it would be fun to learn Spanish so that the songs and dances are more meaningful to you.

Even though it makes sense that the more fun an activity is, the more helpful it would be for learning, up until recently this was only something considered for children; this is why teachers try to make learning fun for kids.

Now, there is also research to back it up for adults! The Fourth International Conference on Adult Education (Romania 2014) reported that “fun and enjoyment could prove to be as beneficial and important as it is currently considered in children’s learning” based on a study by Dorothy Lucardie of Federation University, Australia.

Watch Movies in Different Languages

Watching movies in a language you want to learn is a tried and true way of improving your conversational skills. In fact, you can go about doing so in a few different ways.

  • You can watch original foreign language movies, which were created in the homelands of your fledgling language, such as Parasite, winner of 4 Academy Awards, available at Amazon
  • You can watch movies from your own country that have been adapted to different languages

It is fun and educational to watch ethnic movies that you are unfamiliar with. But, these kinds of movies can be a bit difficult to understand for beginners. Instead, it may be more productive and enjoyable to rewatch your favorite movies in the language you are learning.

Watching movies whose dialogue you are already familiar with provides an additional dimension to your language comprehension. You already have an idea of what the characters will say. Therefore you will be able to comprehend the words more quickly. 

The best part of watching movies in different languages is that you are learning without even trying! All you have to do is turn on a movie and relax, and learning will happen naturally.

Trade Language Skills with Someone on the Internet

It is easier than ever to find and connect with different communities of people in this day and age. There are tons of resources on the internet that help you to find fellow language learners to practice with. 

Practicing your conversational skills with a fellow beginner might seem counter-intuitive. But it is actually a great and efficient way for both of you to get a good understanding of the structure of the language. 

When learning a language from a native speaker, they may take certain details for granted. These details are oftentimes beneficial for you to know but come second nature (and are therefore nonexistent) to the native speaker. Practicing with a fellow beginner will help you to find and practice common topics of confusion.

Train Your Dog to Be Bilingual

Did you know that pets can be bilingual too? Learn basic dog commands in your new language, and train your dog to understand them too. This is a fun way of keeping your learning language alive in your house. You might even find that you talk to your dog in both languages.

Teaching your dog a second language is a fun way to practice the language without fear of judgment. After all, the more you practice, the better you will get. Why not practice on your dog, fish, or teddy bear? As long as you are talking, you are making progress.

Become Pen-Pals with Someone in Another Country

Writing letters in your second language is a fun way to practice meaningful dialogue. Not only are you and your partner bettering your language skills, but you are also establishing a meaningful relationship with someone who you would probably otherwise never talk to. That, in itself, is a fun and interesting hobby.

Pen-pals can be found in several different ways. Like most things, your most bountiful source for this search will be the internet. Facebook pages and subreddits are a good place to start, but there are also numerous websites built for this very purpose. A few examples are:

  • Interpals
  • Conversation Exchange
  • Penpaland

Pen-paling with someone in another country allows you to have a meaningful dialogue with someone without dealing with the anxieties of real-time conversations. Pen-paling allows you to slow down, choose your words carefully, and perfect your grammar and punctuation.

And as an ESL teacher for many years, I can tell you that learning to write in another language is a higher level of learning. Figuring out fun ways to practice the writing domain is especially useful for maintaining your motivation.

Listen to Audiobooks in Different Languages

Similar to movies, audiobooks also pose a great way for language learners to pick up on cadence, language structure, and correct grammar. This is especially true if it is a book you have read before or a simple children’s book. The more familiar the content, the faster you will draw connections between the language you are learning and your own.

Children’s audiobooks are available for free all over Youtube. You can start with these and then graduate to longer stories and novels as your language skills strengthen. Once that happens, you might want to subscribe to focused Amazon Audible, such as Audible Latino.

Listening to an audiobook while simultaneously following along with the text catalyzes language learning. This is because you are observing grammar and spelling while simultaneously hearing the pronunciation of the words. Enjoying stories in your non-native language is as entertaining as it is educational.

Make a Thought Map of the Words and Phrases That You Will Use Most

There is no way that you can learn every word in your language. With this in mind, try not to stress yourself with attempting to learn every word of your second language either. Instead, focus on the words and phrases that you use most during your daily routine. 

Write these words and phrases down or make a poster of them. Do your best to group them so that you can easily refer to this poster in the future. Use groupings like:

  • Verbs with verbs
  • Nouns with nouns

Making a visual thought map is a fun way to visualize the structure of the language and flex your writing/arts and crafts skills. The more creative you get with this thought map, the more it will help you practice and study the language in the weeks to come. As long as you have a working knowledge of the words you need, you will get by just fine.

Follow Foreign Social Media Influencers

Following foreign (or foreign language-speaking) influencers on social media is a great way to get a feel for the modern slang and trends of the language you are studying. 

Foreign influencers will often talk candidly about their experiences within that culture and will use modern, up-to-date vernacular to express themselves. Interacting with their content acts as language practice for you and is a fun way to become a part of that community. 

These influencers can be found on any social media platform–Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, etc., and are often easy to find and accessible. Another perk of following foreign influencers is meeting and talking to other fans in their comment sections. Who knows, you might just make a friend!

Learn Some Fun Catch Phrases

The best way to feel like you are really getting the hang of a language is to learn some trendy catchphrases and slang. Picking up on a couple of commonly used things is a crucial step in your journey to fluency. Some examples are common:

  • Greetings
  • Expressions
  • Remarks

On top of being useful, they are also usually fun to say, repeat, or even teach to your friends.

Catchphrases and language fads are crucial concepts of every language. These are things that native speakers use daily to relate to their neighbors. To feel like a “local” of the language, take some time to learn these important words and phrases.

Learn the Best Adjectives

There is no better way to describe the world around you than by using colorful, descriptive adjectives. You can find beautiful descriptive words by searching through language chat forums or by Googling “best/most beautiful adjectives in (your language).” 

Another way to find fun words is to simply leaf through a dictionary. If you use a dictionary, you can highlight and bookmark your favorite words and then refer back to your dictionary later. 

Try looking up words to describe:

  • Being in love
  • Wonderful smells
  • Wonderful tastes
  • Different textures
  • Different feelings, such as anxiousness, excitement, regret, or fear

Learn about the Culture of Your Language

After English, French is the second most learned language in the world.

The culture of a language is an invaluable part of understanding your new language. Culture involves things like:

  • Food
  • Music
  • Art
  • Social norms
  • Traditions

These things are all fascinating to learn about and experience. In fact, it might be the very reason you started learning the language in the first place. I’ve addressed the fun parts of Spanish and French cultures; if you’d like to read more about those cultures, I suggest clicking the links.

Learning about culture can involve watching Youtube videos, reading books, watching documentaries, and reading blogs. But, the best way to learn about a culture is to experience it yourself.

If you do not have the means to travel abroad, you could instead visit ethnic neighborhoods in your city. Ethnic neighborhoods radiate the culture of their mother-countries. They present an excellent way for you to appreciate and experience a foreign culture without having to leave the country.

Make Videos/Recordings of Yourself Talking

Making videos or podcasts of yourself (talking in your non-native language) is a great way to practice your conversational skills without actually having to talk to another person. Because only you are watching, you have the freedom to make as many mistakes as you need to and do as many takes as you feel like.

After recording, you will be able to rewatch them and hear yourself speak, listening for errors and ways to improve your speech. You will also be able to show these videos to your teachers and mentors, who can identify areas in need of improvement. Creating videos like these will help you to fine-tune your flow, accent, and cadence.

If you are brave enough, you could even upload these videos onto social media. Many people would probably enjoy being a part of your language-learning journey. Some may offer to help you practice, offer feedback, or better yet, learn something from you.

Travel Abroad

Many people have a love for traveling. Perhaps one of the most exciting and wonderful ways of learning a language is to travel somewhere that this language is spoken. Visiting allows you to get a feel for various aspects of a country, including:

  • Culture
  • Speech style
  • Norms

Of course, the longer you stay there, the more deeply involved you will become in its culture. 

Rick Steves is the most popular guide for Americans traveling to Europe.

While traveling abroad, you would be fully immersed within your budding language, and you would be forced to learn and adapt. You would have to learn on the fly and would most certainly come back with a better knowledge of the language than before you left. 

Traveling is one of the most exciting and fulfilling things people can do during their lives. If you plan to travel, you might as well make it a learning experience at the same time!

Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal where you only write in your fledgling language is a helpful and fun language learning practice. In such a journal, you could keep track of new phrases you have learned and language errors you have made and learned from.

This journal could also just act as a diary. Learning to express your most personal thoughts and feelings in a new language is essential to your understanding of the language.

Keeping a diary such as this will make you identify personally with the words you are writing. It will also act as a physical archive of your progress over time, which is interesting to look back on.

Join the Online Dating World – And Set Your Preferences to Another Country

If you are open to dating or open to forging new friendships, joining a foreign dating/hang out app is a fun way of practicing your language while connecting with others. 

Setting your dating app’s preferences to a foreign country allows you to connect with speakers of the language you are studying. Some people you connect with may be interested in having a long-distance relationship or friendship that mutually benefits one another’s language skills. 

You may encounter people on these dating/friendship apps who do not speak a word of your language. This would likely be a challenge if you are still a beginner, but it would be a great way to put your skills to the test.

Shop for Groceries in Ethnic Stores

Local stores in ethnic neighborhoods typically have tons of foreign products. Doing your weekly grocery shopping at an ethnic store helps you to visualize all of the nouns you have been learning. By regularly browsing through an ethnic store, you become attuned to foreign brands, concepts, and products.

Not only is it fun to browse through foreign food products, but it is also fun to try them too! You can put your language skills to the test in the kitchen by following a recipe in your non-native language. If your crab cake comes out as a stromboli, you will know that you need a bit more practice with your language.

Shopping in ethnic stores also encourages you to practice your conversational skills, as you will have to interact with:

  • Shop owners
  • Workers
  • Other customers

Many of the people above would probably be glad to have a brief conversation with you in their native language.

Translate Your Favorite Songs into the Language You Are Learning

Kevin Karla & La Banda (Letra) have translated and sung Adele’s song, Hello, in Spanish.

Translation exercises are a common and effective way of honing your writing skills. Oftentimes students will be asked to translate a website article, a page from a book, or an encyclopedia page. But translation exercises do not have to be boring or grueling.

An effective and fun exercise is to translate your favorite songs from your native language to the language you are learning. This may indeed be a difficult task, especially if you want the translated version to rhyme as well. But, if you are up for the challenge, translating songs is a very beneficial and educational exercise. 

The best part of translating your favorite songs is that you get to impress your friends by singing them! You know Dancing Queen in French? Right on!

Research Different Metaphors and Idioms

Language metaphors are what help us to visualize and understand abstract concepts. Every language has idioms and metaphors, but they are all vastly different in meaning. Some languages have metaphors for concepts that do not even exist in others. 

After all, there are some phrases in the English language that do not translate to different languages. (E.g., “The Bees Knees”–What does that even mean in Spanish?)

As well, our Fun Jokes for Kids Coloring Book (available at Amazon) would be another great option for translation into your target language!

Idioms and metaphors are fun to learn, mainly because they consist of words with no relevant significance in the English language.

By learning the metaphors of another language, you are opening up another dimension of understanding. Metaphors are what can bind and unite people, and learning them is a crucial step to language and cultural fluency.

Play Scrabble

Playing Scrabble (linked to Amazon) is an effective tool for language learning. The game requires you to think on your feet, crafting words from the letters given to you.

  • It enhances your comprehension time
  • It helps you to become a better speller
  • It helps you build vocabulary in a fun way

Scrabble can be played by oneself or with others. With others, playing Scrabble is a lot more competitive. If you have no one to play with at home, you can use an online version of scrabble, which connects you with different players on the internet.

If you would rather play by yourself, it is still a great way of practicing your spelling and recall and is also a fun and relaxing pastime.

Download a Foreign App

Downloading a foreign app can help connect you to different language communities. Whatsapp, for example, is an internationally-used app for connecting and chatting with others. There are thousands of different online communities you can join that are based on different interests, hobbies, talents, and niches.

These apps do not necessarily have to be social media-based. There are plenty of gaming, educational, and lifestyle apps that are made in different languages. Interacting with these apps can aid your language learning while simultaneously entertaining you with a game, cartoon, or course.

Avoid Speaking Your Native Language for a Whole Day

If you think you can do it, challenge yourself to only speak in your second language for an entire day. If you have to work and could not possibly get through the day, wait until the weekend. If you do not have anyone to talk to, then call somebody or talk to your pet. The goal is to spend an entire day immersed in the language you are learning. 

Spending an entire day without using your native language is a fun way to realize just how many words you do not know. Before, you may never have thought to look up certain words that you took for granted in your native language. You may have never noticed that they were missing from your second language’s vocabulary. 

This exercise helps to discover which words you need to add to your new vocabulary, and it also helps you to practice and hone your conversational skills.

Label Items Around Your House

Labeling your belongings–such as furniture, appliances, food products, and even plants–will help you to grow your vocabulary and working knowledge of the items around your house. 

This is an especially fun exercise for items in the refrigerator. Take the time to research the names of everything in your cabinets and refrigerator.

  • Spices
  • Sauces
  • Vegetables
  • Meats

Afterward, label each one. Just the process of doing this will help your vocabulary grow immensely. 

Then, after seeing the labels on your items for a few weeks, you will begin to automatically associate those items with their foreign names. This is an easy way to make your house a living dictionary that you are constantly studying, whether you realize it or not.

Practice Your Accent

For the purpose of learning, practice exaggerating your foreign accent (to read more about accents, I’ve written an article here.) when you speak in its corresponding language. Practicing different vowel sounds, cadences, and tones of voice will help your accent sound more natural and less forced as time goes on. 

If you need help learning an accent, look up some YouTube videos on how to master the accent of your language. You can also learn to speak your language in different regional dialects. The closer your accent sounds to the real thing, the closer you will be to becoming fluent.

Sketch and Label Different Things Around Your House

Say you want to learn to talk about flowers. A great exercise for learning the names of different parts of an item is to draw it out and label it. So, for a flower diagram, you will need to draw and label the petals, stem, leaves, stamen, and pistil. 

You can create diagrams like this for just about anything. Drawing out and labeling different aspects of a thing or idea will help you to visualize and remember each part.

These drawings are fun to make, as you can color and decorate them once you have finished labeling. They are effective in strengthening your vocabulary and also serve as a great study tool to reference in the future.

Enjoy Some Foreign Music

Listening to music in the language you are learning is a fun way of honing your language skills. It is also a great way for you to get a taste of the culture of this language.

Music around the world has so many unique sounds, rhythms, and overall vibes. Listening to and appreciating foreign music will give a new dimension and perspective to the language that you are learning. It will also help you to identify common things, such as:

  • Themes of thought
  • Slang words
  • Concepts

Expanding your horizons and trying different kinds of music is interesting and fun. It broadens your tastes and allows you to understand the culture behind the language you have been studying. It is also very beneficial to your language development. Bonus points if you follow along to the lyrics as you are listening!

Identify and Write Down Some of Your Favorite Words

A true appreciation for your language comes when you have a special admiration for certain beautiful, interesting, or charming words.

Certain words just sound better in different languages. Maybe it rolls off the tongue, or maybe it is so hard to pronounce that you are left in awe every time you hear it. Whatever the reason, you are going to stumble across words that enamor you.

Write those words down. Learn how to spell them and how to pronounce them. Write down their definitions. Use them in sentences. This will act as a little encyclopedia of your favorite words that you can continue to add to and reference later on.

Make This List Into a 25 Day Learning Challenge

The challenge is to try and accomplish one thing from this list every day, for 25 days. By shaking up your routine, challenging yourself, and trying new learning practices, you will be able to find which learning techniques work best for you.

Watching foreign rom-coms might be extremely helpful to some, but not to others. The purpose of this list was to give you a plentitude of different ideas to choose from that would suit your language learning needs. You might as well try them all out and see what works best!

Additional Sources

Jackie Booe

Jackie Booe is a licensed teacher for elementary through high school in 3 states. She is a former adjunct professor at the undergraduate level and certified to teach elementary, secondary English, and English Language Learners. She was a mentor for many education interns, department leader at various levels and organizations, has taught and coordinated professional development for teachers and educators, and professionally tutored in a multitude of subjects.

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