Whether you’re vacationing or busier than ever, summer is here and that means it’s time to have some fun! For many of us, summer is a time to relax and enjoy some time off – but that doesn’t mean your freshly acquired language skills need to suffer! Whether you’re home with your kids, jetting off on another vacation, or buckling down and working harder than ever, summer gives us a few unique opportunities to improve our French! Don’t let September come around and catch you off-guard in your French skills – take note of our fun ideas on how to keep working on your French this summer, and come back to class better than ever this fall!
Invite Your Kids to Learn Alongside You
For some of us, summer means our kids are out of school and home with us more. Why not take this opportunity to share with your kids some of what you’ve been learning in your French language class? (Or perhaps let them share what they’re learning in theirs!) Bringing some French-based activities into your home during the summer can accomplish two goals for you – first, it can foster a love of language learning for your kids, and second, it can avoid those dreaded cries of, “I’m bored!” Here are some ideas on how to make this happen in your home:
- Celebrate Bastille Day on July 14. Get (or print) some French flags, wear some berets at dinner, and teach your kids simple phrases like ‘bonjour’, ‘bon appétit’, and – of course – ‘vive la France!’
- Get some butcher paper and help your kids trace an outline of their bodies. Let them decorate and ‘dress’ their paper selves, and teach them basic French body parts – they’ll love knowing the words ‘bouche’, ‘mains’, ‘jambes’, and ‘pieds.’
- Make screen time work for you – invite your kids to use a fun language learning app. It will pique their interest and give you time to get some other things done! Apps like DuoLingo and Little Pim will get your kids learning French right alongside you.
Go on a Date with a French Speaker
Summer is a great time for dating, whether it’s cocktails sur la terrasse, walks in the park, or outdoor movies. If you’re learning French in New York, like many of our clients, you have the benefit of living in a city with people from all over the world! Next time you’re swiping through your dating app, try using a filter that stipulates that your date speaks French. Even better, put in your profile that you’re learning French and would love to practice. If they’re a native speaker or more advanced than you, take advantage of it by asking to do part of the evening in French! Even if the date is a dud, your language skills will improve.
Cook a French Meal
There are tons of great recipes online in French, and using one of them is a great way to brush up on your food vocabulary and impress your friends with your new French language skills! French cooking is simple but delicious, so if you’re ready to put your French vocabulary to the test, try following the directions on a recipe. French recipes differ from American recipes in that they use weight to measure rather than measuring cups, so get a food scale that can work in grams, and you’re good to go!
We love marmiton.org for authentic French recipes. If you’re feeling ambitious, try a classic soupe a l’oignon, or for something less risky, try a gaspacho – a favorite among the French during heat waves. For dessert, try a classic French clafoutis (if you want to be really French, leave the pits in the cherries and warn your guests to spit!) or a red fruit crumble. Feel free to tell your guests that they are enjoying authentic French cuisine! (If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a salade niçoise!)
Use your Vacances
If you’re the jet-setting type, why not book your summer vacation to a locale that will allow you to practice your French? With borders starting to open up more, you have lots of options for travel. Whether you’re looking for a city adventure, a beach escape, or you want to be in the middle of nowhere, vacation is a fantastic way to improve your French skills.
You might think only of Paris, but there are so many more places to see where you can enjoy a break and practice French in the real world at the same time. The south coast of France is notoriously luxurious in the summer, and if you’re looking for something quieter, consider a quieter French scene in a place like Perpignan, Aix-en-Provence, or Ile de Ré. You can also find some great locations in French-speaking Switzerland or Belgium. Don’t forget about Corsica if you want a more Mediterranean experience, and if you’re craving the Caribbean, check out Saint Martin. Keep in mind that the more ‘touristy’ a locale, the more likely the locals will speak some English, so if you want a truly immersive experience, get off the beaten path.
Summer is naturally a time for relaxing and fun, and it’s a great time to remind yourself that learning French happens as much outside the classroom as inside! This summer we hope you will find ways to enjoy the richness that the French language and culture has to offer, and to let your family and friends in on the fun!