Bringing Japanese Learning to Life Through Games for Kids Abroad

Japanese learning, games, Native Camp

Many parents living overseas, returnees, or those in Japan with children who have international roots often wish for their kids to learn Japanese.
This article dives into how games can be a powerful tool in teaching Japanese and highlights specific activities that make learning both effective and enjoyable.



Why Games Work Wonders in Learning Japanese

Games are not just fun; they're a proven method to enhance learning.
The concept of "gamification," which involves using game elements in educational activities, has transformed the traditional study routine, making it engaging and motivating for children.

Understanding Gamification

Introduced around 2010, gamification applies the fun aspects of games to everyday tasks, including education.
This approach helps transform less appealing activities into exciting learning opportunities, fostering a genuine interest in Japanese and promoting self-driven learning.

However, it's important to note that the effectiveness of gamification can vary.
It's essential to choose games that align with a child's interests to maximize engagement and learning outcomes.

Handpicked Games and Activities for Learning Japanese

Here are some carefully selected games that successfully combine fun with learning, ensuring your child remains captivated while absorbing new language skills:

1. The 50 Sounds Chart Game:

Fill in the blanks on a chart of the Japanese syllabary. Timing how fast children can complete the chart adds a competitive twist, ideal for solo or group play.

2. Fruit Basket:

Adapt this classic group game to reinforce vocabulary. Whether it's fruits or any other category, it's perfect for practicing listening and speaking skills.

3. Sugoroku Game:

This board game encourages players to form sentences with words from each square they land on, enhancing vocabulary in a playful setting.

4. Karuta:

This card game is fantastic for learning Hiragana, Katakana, or basic vocabulary, with visual aids to boost memory retention.

5. Shiritori:

This word-linking game is excellent for vocabulary building. Setting themes like animals or food can spice up the challenge.

6. Kanji Guessing Game:

Ideal for older kids familiar with some Kanji, this game involves guessing characters based on radicals, combining fun with educational challenge.

7. Sentence Building Game:

Using cards with various grammatical structures, children can creatively construct sentences, ideal for classroom or home learning.

8. Gesture Game:

Acting out words or phrases enhances understanding and use of Japanese in a lively, interactive manner.

Complementing Games with Structured Online Lessons

While games are a fantastic way to introduce and practice Japanese, structured online lessons can deepen understanding, especially in grammar and conversation skills.

Platforms like Native Camp offer experienced instructors who provide personalized lessons tailored to a child's learning pace and level.


Integrating games into Japanese learning not only makes the process enjoyable but also significantly boosts language skills.

By combining playful learning with structured lessons, children can enjoy a well-rounded educational experience.

If structured grammar lessons are needed, online platforms are an excellent resource. Remember, the goal is to make learning a delightful part of your child's daily life, not a tedious task.