Welsh language activity ideas

PACEY Cymru provide a range of Welsh language development activity ideas on a range of topics that can be tried out and enhanced as they progress. If you have any specific themes which you'd like PACEY to support with or any ideas you would like to share then please do contact our Wales office.

Pob hywl! Have fun!

Many of the activities below have links to the Welsh Government Hwb website. If you wish to search any particular themes on this website, you may find it helpful to click on the Foundation Phase tab on the left hand side then click on the Welsh language development tab, where you’ll find a range of activities and learning tools to support you in implementing the Welsh language within your daily routines.

St David’s Day/Dydd Sant Dewi

St David is the patron saint of Wales, and St David’s Day celebrated on 1 March every year. The fact that the patronal day is in the early spring, and that the national flower of Wales is the daffodil means that this beautiful yellow flower figures promintently in celebtrations. It has become custom on that day to wear a daffodil, or even a leek - another of the country's national emblems. Many children wear national costume as well, celebrating their cultural heritage. 

While the vivid red dragon on the Welsh flag is a common sight, some Welsh people use flags showing St David's cross to mark St David's Day. The flag is a gold cross on a black background.

You can learn more about the story of St David through online resources on the Welsh Government Hwb website*. These are available in Welsh and English and so could be used to support children’s Welsh language development.

We've provided some further interactive resources associated with spring more generally, including songs and activity ideas, which you can use to further support Welsh language development within your setting.  For some of these there is some guidance at the bottom of this page to support you in how to access these.

Food/Bwyd

The weather is turning and spring has arrived with vegetables and plants starting to grow, have you thought about Welsh recipes you may want cook with the children? Promoting healthy eating and thinking about where food comes from are always good topics to support children's development and take time to think about how you can support Welsh Language development around this theme.

How about introducing Welsh words at snack or meal times to support the learning further. At this time of year in Wales the traditional Cawl (click on Sali Mali’s Caffi at the tops left hand side of the screen) is always a favourite closely followed by Welsh cakes as a sweet treat.

Why not use some of the following activities to support the Welsh language development within your setting. The three fat sausages/tair sosej seimllyd rhyme is a good place to start, follow the words and sing along. Or play a food match up activity (click on the banana- chwarae parau- Food).

Linking to the area of the Foundation Phase related to Knowledge and understanding of the world you may wish to extend the learning to the role play and home corner, the Yn Y Caffi activity provides Welsh words supported by images and introduces new words during play, to extend the vocabulary of children.

The importance of brushing teeth following meals can also be promoted bilingually, this very catchy tune brwsio dannedd- brush your teeth song (click on the brwsio dannedd circle) can either be played in the background for the children to hear the Welsh words or you may find that the children learn a verse and repeat this.

It is worth remembering that it’s not just us that need food throughout the day, let’s not forget the animals and birds around us. What better way to feed the birds than making you very own bird food with the children in your care, here’s a recipe which the children can make to feed the birds -Bwydo'r adar.  

Clothes/Dillad

On the theme of clothes many children enjoy dressing a Teddy or Doll, think about how this activity can support their development in each area of learning of the Foundation Phase in Wales, including supporting their independence while using and growing Welsh language.

Clothes Line, Wash Clothes, Laundry, Dry

You may find that pegging some clothes on a washing line could help develop new vocabulary including colours, numbers, items of clothing, and weather related words. This Paru sanau/Pairing socks activity with Jemima Mop could help with introducing colours and support key phrases for instance ‘Ble mae’r sanau porfor?’/Where are the purple socks?  

Have you considered listening to a Welsh stori?  How about listening to Diwrnod Golchi Gwyntogwhich is available bilingually in order to support you as practitioners.  You may wish to play the Gwisgo Tedi/Dress Tedi activities which again support with introducing new vocabulary. The HWB audio resource can help you with pronunciation of the words.

Singing the Mae gen i het tri chornel/I have a three cornered hat rhyme can be another way of supporting Welsh language development. You can encourage the children to make their own three cornered or pirate hat, the use of Welsh can be carried through the craft activity to reinforce the learning.

The Bobinogs have some useful resources including the Dewis dillad/Choosing clothes activity which can help children match clothes with the time of year and different weather, again extending their vocabulary.

Do you have a dress up box or rail? Does it include everyday items? How about printing some colouring-in pages which include the Welsh and English words for each item, encourage the children to colour these, then laminate them. These could support the children when they dress the Teddy or Doll, matching the clothes with the laminates and reciting the Welsh and English words for each piece of clothing. This shoe colouring page could be useful as a place to start, remember to include the vocabulary.

Children'S Shoe, Child'S Shoe, Red, Old

Don’t forget the traditional tales including Y Tylwyth Teg a'r Crydd/ The Elves and the Shoe maker. You may wish to create your own shop with shoes of all sizes, colours and styles, roleplaying the activities could be a great way to introduce children to the Welsh words in a fun and interactive manner. By listening to the Welsh songs and stories over and over again, children will remember and absorb the words and in turn build on what they already know

Friends/Ffrindiau

 

It’s the beginning of a new term and possibly a new transition for many children, including new starters to your setting. Encouraging and making good friends always helps children settle at this often uncertain time. How about using Welsh language stories and activities to support the transition? The Lleu books and activities are a really good place to start, giving you a range of ideas and things to do to complement the stories which encompass feelings and friends. Lleu is a friendly little mouse that children usually relate to, you may even want to introduce your own Lleu character bear or puppet to support the Welsh language development stories and activities further.

Having songs and rhymes playing in the background when playing pass the parcel could be one simple example, then later encouraging the children to sing along as they become more familiar with the words will extend their vocabulary. In order to support yourself with new words, print off the text or write these out on large paper so that you can pin up and sing along (hands free) during the activity. Why not start with this happy tune by Rimbojam’s Ffrindiau / Friends which sings about best friends being worth the world?

Some suggested reading could include Hwyl gyda Cyw a'i ffrindiau / Fun with Cyw and friends  which you may be able to access through your local library or Cwacen the duck and friends / Cwacen hwyaden a'i ffrindiau an interactive online story. You may even wish to put together your own story sack (sach stori) for the children to take home, using Welsh or bilingual books, song cards, and CD’s to support parents and to encourage further learning away from the setting environment.

With older children you may find that the Gȇm Caredigrwydd/ Kindness Game using Welsh words to support their learning could be a suitable activity, this could also be an ice breaker when a new child starts at the setting.

Autumn/Yr Hydref

There’s nothing better that a story to generate discussions and spark the imagination! Encourage the children to bring in resources to support the chosen story and introduce the Welsh words linked to these, you could even print out the words and refer to them throughout the story.

Using books allows you to be creative and provides a range of further activities which can support the learning of vocabulary and many other developmental skills. You may choose to loan a book from your local library or listen to audio books these are particularly useful resources if you care for children with visual or additional leaning needs. Ia-hw meddai Gwdihw / Wow said the owl is one good audio story which talks about an owl who’s different to the others, waking in the day and sleeping through the night and is amazed by the natural colours of the world around her.

To further enhance the Welsh language development why not talk about colours of the seasons? You may find including a Welsh verse at the end of a popular English medium song could encourage the children to become more confident. Cân yr enfys / Colours of the rainbow will brighten any cold or rainy autumnal day, you could even play the songs in the background as children create autumn crafts or dance along to the song using coloured scarves.

Gwna lun/ Create a picture of an Autumnal scene using this interactive resource. This will not only strengthen the language development but also provide an opportunity to explore the language digitally. Don’t forget to encourage the child to name each item bilingually to reinforce the learning, you may find the audio systems helpful with pronunciation.

Children often enjoy creating a den or going for a treasure hunt, you could ask the children to think of themselves as an animal and let them go around the setting either indoors or outdoors, collecting things which they feel they would need to make a home. Use this opportunity to introduce new vocabulary and ensure they hear both the English and Welsh word for the items used, as well as naming the items they collect bilingually, encourage the children to describe them, for example crunchy leaves dail crensiog. You may find you need some support with translation, St David's Dictionary is a helpful tool. 

You could always helpwch y wiwer i ddod o hyd i 'w chnau / help the squirrel find his nuts , use the grid to move up and down ‘i fynny ac i lawr’ or left and right 'i'r chwith a'r dde'. You could always create a similar board game using Welsh and English prompt cards, or even go outside and mark the floor with chalk to play the more physical version using a squirrel teddy and hedgehog, collect some leaves and make your own post box. Make your own 'chwith' (left) and 'dde' (right) arrows for the game.

Christmas/Nadolig

Christmas is one of the most special times of the year and is a time for giving thanks and reflecting on the year passed. When the exciting time of Christmas approaches in early years settings it creates interest and enthusiasm, which will open up a wealth of communication and language development and idea sharing for children and their families. Now is the time to plan that special activity or craft and it is the perfect opportunity to introduce Welsh words linked to these.

Young children love singing and it’s a great way of strengthening language skills. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce the children to some popular Welsh language Christmas songs as it could encourage the children to become more confident. Sion corn ydw i / I am Father Christmas and also Sion Corn / Father Christmas are two songs you could introduce to the children and will certainly get them into the spirit of Christmas. You could play the song in the background as children create Christmas crafts or activities or you could even get them to sing together as a group and put on a small Christmas concert with one of the imitating Father Christmas.    

Children enjoy being creative so why not have them make a Giant Felt Christmas Tree. To do so you will need a large piece of green felt, smaller pieces of brightly coloured felt, stick on Velcro, scissors and a marker pen. You will need to fold the green felt in half and mark out one half of a Christmas tree against the fold.  Once unfolded you will have a whole Christmas tree that is equal on both sides. Stick some Velcro on the back and attach to a hard surface e.g. a window or wall and then draw and cut out some decorations from the coloured felt. You can then let the children decorate their tree.  The felt decorations should stick to the tree and can easily be removed so they can decorate it as many times as they like. To enhance the Welsh language development you could cut decorations into shapes and different colours and you could ask them what the Welsh names for the shapes and colours are.

Using books allows you to be creative and provides a range of further activities which can support the learning of vocabulary and many other developmental skills. You may choose to loan a book from your local library or listen to audio books these are particularly useful resources if you care for children with visual or additional leaning needs. Siôn Corn a'r Anrheg Gorau Un / Santa's Greatest Gift is one good book with a subliminal message and Santa as a lead character. Written in rhyming verse the story is accompanied by beautiful colour illustrations. Another is Stori'r Nadolig / The Story of Christmas as this is a wonderful way to introduce the miraculous story of Christmas to young children. With its adorable illustrations children will be engaged children as they learn about the nativity story.

Rhestr Noswyl Nadolig / Christmas Eve checklist is a free downloadable Christmas resource. This special bilingual checklist will not only provide the children with a variety of fun activities to do, it will also strengthen their language development as you can encourage the child to name each activity bilingually to reinforce the learning. Matiau bwrdd Nadolig Siôn Corn a Rudolph  / Santa & Rudolph’s festive placemat is another free downloadable bilingual Christmas resource. It is a special placemat that can be personalised with spaces to put down carrots for Rudolph and a mince pie and glass of milk for Santa. To further enhance the Welsh language development, why not learn some Welsh words related to the nativity and share them with the children. You could then create Christmas flash cards of these to play snap or match up pairs, making sure each child says the Welsh word when they turn over each card.

You could think about doing a snowman counting buttons activity with the children. You will need white card, coloured card, buttons and felt tip pens. Cut your white card into the shape of a snowman and ask the children to draw the snowmans face on with felt tip pens. Cut out 10 hats for each snowman in different coloured card and number the hats 1-10. Children can then pick a hat and ask them to say the number they have selected in Welsh. You can then ask them to put on the correct number of buttons to match the number on the hat. You could also ask teach them the Welsh words for hat which is ‘het’, and also ‘botymau’ which is buttons.

Snowman, Family, Winter, Snow, Holiday

On the Farm/Ar y fferm

Children often enjoy being around animals and what better way than using the farm as a topic which is rich in resources to enhance the children’s Welsh vocabulary.  Children can learn so much from the farm and animals, by introducing some of the activities suggested here you can use this topic to encourage their progress in Welsh language listening, reading and writing skills.You may wish to play the Welsh Story of Fferm Jim Cro Crystyn encouraging children to listen to the Welsh story; you may be pleased to learn that the story is available in English as well as Welsh as a teaching tool.

Small Child, Baby, Child, More

How about listening and copying the simple one verse Duck song Mae gen i dair hwyaden lew/I have three fine ducks.

You may find that introducing the sounds of the animals creates even more excitement, why not use some of the activities that would support this, you may wish to count the ducks in Welsh or match up the animal to the sounds with the  Pa anifail/ Which animal activity.

Apple, Picking, Children, Hands, Fruit

The Bobinogs have a useful resource which explains where eggs, milk and apples come from, for further stories and activities access these here at Bobinogi, click on the O ble mae bwyd yn dod/Do eggs grow on trees or use the Alun Arth App for some additional fun interactive educational games in Welsh for the young learners.

You may find that making a bilingual treasure basket or story sack based on the Farm theme containing some bilingual books could further enhance the vocabulary and language skills of the children in your care. Listening to the bilingual  Moo, Moo/Mww, Mww book could encourage the children to get involved, they may even recite the story alongside the audio version. Please note that the Moo, moo/Mww, mww book was a resource from the 2015 Book Start, Super Box programme but will however be available at your local library.

Beside the Seaside/ Ar lan y môr

This resource will focus on a visit and the journey to the seaside.  Role play can be one of the most important activities for young children, it not only stimulates their imagination but can help with their social development that links to each area of learning of the Foundation Phase in Wales. You may find that the children enjoy role playing a bus journey to the beach, singing the ‘Wheels on the bus’ song, where you could introduce a Welsh verse and in turn sing the full Welsh version. You may find that Dwmplen Malwoden's story and activities could help support the introduction of new words and phrases associated with the seaside, including the Brawddegau Glan Y Môr activity-click on the smiley face to start the activity.

Fflic and Fflac have created their own indoor beach, and have shared some useful Welsh phrases to support the children’s language development. They’ve even made their own ice-cream cones!

Ice Cream Cone, Melting, Hot

By listening to the Welsh songs and stories over and over again, children will remember and absorb the words and in turn build on what they already know. To complement this think about playing some traditional Welsh songs whilst the play or relax similar to Ar lan y môr. Some additional playing in the sand/chwarae yn y tywod activity ideas can include filling the bucket with water or sand and counting in Welsh how many scoops of sand or water have been used to fill the bucket.

Boy, Child, Fun, Beach, Sea, Colors

Click on Parri Popeth Character where you will find an activity to create your own bilingual postcard of your beach trip or holiday. Don’t forget that it is important to spend time relaxing after a day at the seaside. On a warm day, lay the child down on a blanket, possibly under a tree and hang some shells and things which the children may have collected from their trip which will encourage further discussions, try saying the English word first, then the Welsh and then repeat the English word.

You may have a box of summer activity resources, you could create a laminate document with a photo of each resource noting the Welsh and English word for each. Alternatively make flash cards of these to play snap or match up pairs, making sure each child says the Welsh word when they turn over each card. Don’t forget to include your sun cream – ‘eli haul’! To help you with translation you may find the University Of Wales Trinity Of Saint David, Welsh-English/English -Welsh online Dictionary helpful.