Latin is not dead yet because students are keeping the ancient Roman language alive through study. Studying can take the form of playing games, and when students play games together, they can learn from each other, making games even more important in practicing Latin. Online games help kids learn individually in a digital medium that can keep their interest, and group games provide social interaction that makes learning engaging.
Quid Facis is a game that promotes speaking and listening practice. This game is designed for two to four players and takes 10 to 15 minutes to play. The cards required to play are available on the website of Ellen J. McHenry (see References) . Each player receives five cards, and the rest of the cards are placed face-down into a draw pile. One person should read the questions about interesting and hypothetical circumstances, and the goal is to end up with no cards. To do this, players must have a card that answers one of the questions read. Each question read is for every player, so players do not take turns. Players can lay down two cards at one time if both of their answers make sense in response to the question read. The questions and answers are read in Latin, but both are also provided in English.
Volo-Nolo is a game requiring Latin students to speak in simple sentences and is for two to four players. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to play, and the cards necessary for the game are available on McHenry's website. The goal of the game is also similar to Quid Facis? in that players want to get rid of all their cards. Players create Latin sentences by putting three cards together. The Volo/Nolo card, action and prepositional phrase card put together can create some sentences that will keep students entertained. For example, Volo/Nolo -- meaning I want to or I don’t want to -- can start sentences such as “’I don’t want to annoy the bear in the swimming pool.’” Each player receives five cards, and the rest are put into a draw pile. Detailed playing instructions are available on the game’s website.
Snakes and Ladders
Groups of up to four can play Snakes and Ladders, a game available from Per Lingua’s website. It takes about 20 minutes to play, and students need one board with pictures of snakes and ladders on it and set of cards to play, which are available from the website (see References). Students put a marker on the board and then choose who goes first. The person right before the one taking a turn chooses a card and reads the Latin. The person whose turn it is translates the card into English. If the translation is right, the person taking a turn is can move the number of spaces shown at the card’s bottom. If the player lands at the bottom of a ladder, she can move up, but she must slide down if she ends up on a snake’s head. The player who had the turn then reads the card for the next player, and the game continues until someone reaches the goal.
The Internet has many games that Latin students can play to test their vocabulary and grammar. One of them is the Literal Latin Memory Game available on the Learning Games for Kids website. This site also offers other games. The Latin Teach site provides online quizzes and games as well, and Online Universities details 50 sites that provide not only games but other information on Latin. (See Resources.) Students can supplement their classroom exercises and games with these to reinforce what they have learned and to even teach them new words.