Cartoons are very appealing to young learners and capture their imagination. Therefore, cartoons are an excellent theme to utilise when supporting your child’s learning at home. British Council teacher is going to tell us how to use Cartoons to learn English.
Planning a trip to the cinema to watch an English animated cartoon together provides a real and meaningful context for your child to practise their English.
You can discuss which film you are going to watch by comparing the English and Chinese titles on the film’s advertisements. You can also find out how you will get to the cinema with your child and search on the map through the internet. Mark down the English name of the bus stops or MTR stations and try to recognise them on the way to the cinema.
Your child can ask for the tickets and buy popcorn using English. Throughout the movie your child will be exposed to a wide range of vocabulary. If they are unsure of some of the language they will be able to follow the story through the visuals, so it will still be an enjoyable experience.
Afterwards your child can talk about their favourite part of the film, you can ask them to retell the story and suggest alternative endings.
Inventing a cartoon character with your child is an excellent way to engage your child and stimulate conversation. If your child is engaged and using their imagination they will be learning and using English language in a natural way. If they have created their own character and have ownership they are more likely to remember new vocabulary.
This activity will require your child to discuss what their cartoon character will be called, their appearance and characteristics.
You can discuss different habitats your character could live in and what their home will be like. Who are their friends? What types of food they eat? What hobbies or activities do they like to do? For example, the favourite food of the character is “sweet”, you can ask your child to find out more vocabularies with similar meanings in the dictionary, e.g. candy, bonbon, toffee. The possibilities are endless!
- Allow your child to choose their favourite cartoons and characters, so they are interested and enthusiastic about the activities.
- Give your child lots of praise for their efforts in all aspects of their work not just their use of English.
- Your child is still learning and it is natural for them to make mistakes. Focus on what your child can do.
- Be enthusiastic and remember to have fun!
- Imagination is the main ingredient for these cartoon related activities. Together with your child you will have lots of fun using English!
LearnEnglish Kids website of the British Council has free resources for children to use at home, either independently or with family members or friends.
Also, this BBC website has an excellent child friendly area called CBeebies with lots of pictures and information about a variety of classic children’s characters.