Learning French Around the Maison: Introduction and Vocabulary

by contributor · 7 comments

By Sarah Dodson-Knight
Photo Credit: Posh Living, LLC

Over the summer, we took our French lessons outdoors: my son and I reveled in the warmth and sunshine while we played with earthworms and ladybugs, helped the seeds in our vegetable garden turn into salads and pasta dishes, and played games outside.

Read about all of our garden-themed language learning activities here!

Now as autumn descends, we’re turning inward to look at home-related activities that we can do to practice our French. 

This next series of articles will explore activities you can do at home with your kids to help them learn and practice vocabulary related to the home, including:

  • music, rhythm, and rhyme, with songs and comptines about what goes on in the house (Part One);
  • art and drama (Part Two);
  • literacy activities, including recommended books in French for children (Part Three);
  • and tactile and kinesthetic activities (Part Four).

We’ll also explore ways to learn vocabulary such as prepositions and names of furniture and rooms of the house all while using French in a meaningful context.

Before we try out the activities, though, let’s first take a look at some vocabulary about the house via word lists and websites:

  • A list of French terms and their English equivalents, accompanied by a native speaker pronouncing the words.
  • A simplified blueprint of a typical home with a panoramic photo to accompany each room; move your mouse over the objects in the photo to see their name (and sometimes a more detailed explanation) in French, and don’t forget to mouse over the arrows on either side of the picture to see more.
  • Drawings of the rooms of a house; mouse over the objects to see their name in French and hear them pronounced (scroll down to “la maison” and look at all the pages within this category).
  • “Habitat et cadre de vie,” a very detailed vocabulary list divided by category (city vs. country homes, for example–click on the categories in the left sidebar) with photographs, illustrations, sample sentences, and cultural information; no vocabulary about what is found inside the homes.

Now let’s take a look inside some French homes with these video clips!  The first three are designed for language learners.  (They’re all in French, but very clear.)

  • Tour of a French house by the owner (the video is divided into five segments; click on the names of the rooms in the top right-hand corner of the page, beginning with le salon).

Now that you’ve seen and heard words and phrases about homes and furnishings, you’re ready to play with songs and rhymes about houses!

We’ll introduce you to our favorites in the next installment in this series.

Are you ready for the next lessons?  Make sure to check out all of Sarah’s French Activities!

Sarah Dodson-Knight has taught English in France and English composition, ESL, literature, and French in the US. She now coordinates year-round reading enrichment programs at the Lafayette Public Library (Colorado). You can find her at Bringing up Baby Bilingual where she writes about raising children with more than one language and records her efforts to teach French as a non-native speaker to her son (Griffin, age 2) and her nephew (Carl, age 4). On her blog, you will find profiles of bilingual and multilingual families, resource recommendations, book reviews, discussion prompts, descriptions of games and language learning activities, and stories about Griffin and Carl.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 French for Kids September 30, 2010 at 2:36 am

I think it’s so fantastic that you theme the modules in which you teach French for Kids.

It’s a brilliant idea. Will definitely look into it.


2 Sarah @ Bringing up Baby Bilingual November 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Thank you! Any suggestions for future themes? We’re thinking “Friends and Family” for the next series.


3 Corina March 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm

How is it possible, that after all these years of scanning and searching, I have never seen your awesome website before? This is fantastic! Merci! Do you update still?


4 Spanish school Costa Rica January 8, 2015 at 2:47 am

This is really a nice idea to learning French for kids. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I just love your blog.


5 Marina Fyodorova January 15, 2015 at 3:35 am

Thank you for so many links. They are really useful. I teach my daughters French and get a lot of pleasure. Your blog is wonderful.


6 changjiang gou May 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Thank you very much! It really helps me. I am a Chinese. Now I am learning french.


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