Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Games for language learning: Tempo, kleine Fische/ Speed, Small Fish

Author: Günter Burkhardt
Manufacturer: Ravensburger
Suitability:For children from age 3, ideal for reluctant speakers and beginners.
Get it here

In my work with children, I return to one tool more often than anything else: board games. They offer a set of specific vocab and take the pressure out of speaking. Certain phrases are repeated throughout the game and offer kids easy opportunities to test their language skills and gain confidence In this series of articles, I will review Games I have used and how to use them to help your kids learn German (or any other language).

Tempo, Kleine Fische (Speed, Little Fish) is a new favourite among my younger students. It's one of these games that encourages conversation, has tons of educational value and is great fun to play. The premise is easy for kids as young as 2, but the game play is fun for much older children making it an ideal opportunity to get siblings around the table to play to speak. 


Tempo, Kleine Fische by Ravensburger


The game:

Contents: 2 fishers (green and red), 4 fish (blue, orange, yellow and pink), 1 boat, 1 large river card, 11 river strips, 1 sea card, 1 colour die, instructions in German, French and Italian.

Get started: Place the boat into the large river card on one end, place the sea card at the opposite end. Arrange the river strips between them. The start card for the fish goes traditionally in the middle, but part of the fun is varying the starting points. Making it harder for fish or fishers. Finally, pick sides: are you team fish or fishers?

It's fish vs. fishers in an exiting race down the river. Fisherman Fritz and Fisherwoman Frieda are hungry for fish, but they need to catch them before they get to the ocean. Fritz and Frieda start out 5 spaces behind the fish.The fish get to swim every time the  die shows one of their colours.

Why it's brilliant for language development
The best games in the world are educational without appearing to be. TKF fulfills this brief to a tee. Apart from, get ready for a statement of the obvious, learning the names of colours, this game offers plenty of incentives to speak: from cheering on your team and comparing the performances of the individual fish and the fishers, the detailed, funny illustrations encourage kids to comment on the hi-jinks of the people and animals in and around the river.

This game would make a great addition on most game shelves, in addition to working well across generations, it would also be brilliant in a household with multiple languages playing together.