Learning and teaching primary french sports

Learning and Teaching Primary French Sports

With the Paris 2024 Olympics just around the corner,  it’s a great opportunity for learning and teaching primary French sports language!

We’ll explore some activities, approaches and considerations for learning and teaching primary French sports below. We love to hear about how teachers and home-school families have used our activities so please do let us know if you try anything.  You can get in touch via our social media!

Primary French Sports

French sports come in two categories:

  • Sports we play: These take the verb, jouer – to play. They are generally (but not exclusively! )  ball sports.
  • Sports / activities which we do: These take the verb, faire – to do or to make.

We’ll look at them both separately as, from a teaching perspective, they can be approached in slightly different ways.

Jouer – To play

Jouer is the easier of the two sports verbs.  The reasons for this are mainly:

  • Most of the sports we play are also cognates with English. This means that they are either effectively the same word or very similar. You’ll see some examples in the picture of the Vocabulary Board.
  • The sports we play are almost all masculine. This means that we almost always use the structure Je joue au + sport  (I play at + the sport).  This makes it a simpler construct for children and it also makes it great for playing games like our Je joue au…..! game – you can see a short clip of this below.


To explore the sports + jouer at different learning stages, we recommend the following;

Early Years 

Typically you wouldn’t really teach the sports in the Early stages but really there’s no reason that you can’t introduce them through songs, active presentations (i.e. listen, copy and repeat) and some listening and talking games.   The sports with jouer are particularly good for earlier learners as they are so easy to recognise and they can be taught fun, simple actions!

Our active sports presentation video and our Je joue au…. game would both work well with all stages of primary learners.

First Level/KS1

For this stage, we’d recommend:

  • Lots of aural repetitition activities, songs and games.
  • Short conversation activities.   For example, choosing a favourite sport and responding to the question “Tu fais du sport?” (Do you do sport?) with a game that they play.
  • Digital games developing confidence in reading and showing understanding of a range of sports.  Our range of digtial games such as our Matching Pairs game below are ideal for this!

Second Level / KS2

At the upper primary stages, you can develop much the same learning approaches as at 1st Level/KS1 however, ideally, you are looking to develop children’s talking and conversation skills so that they are more confidence and can respond more readily.    Learners may also want to extend answers to two or more sports by using et (and).   For example:

Q: Tu fais du sport?

A: Oui. Je joue au foot et au tennis.

At 2nd level, you could also mix in the activities and sports with the verb, faire (to do / to make).

Faire – to do/to make

The French verb faire means to make or to do.  With sports this becomes faire de .  This changes depending on whether the sports you are describing.  The overview of this is below (click on the thumbnail to expand the table).

In the uppper primary, it’s useful to teach this. so that children understand why there is a difference.   In primary, recognising and understanding this is the main priority as opposed to being able to apply this rule.   That’s not to place a cap on learning but just to point out that the priority is more about using language through talking and writing activities.

It’s also worth noting that there are a lot of sports with faire.   Again, at primary stages, you may want to work with the children to decide which sports you would like to focus on.  This may, for example, be the sports that your class do themselves.    Otherwise, why not explore learning with the children and ask them to choose how many new words / phrases they would like to learn at a time.   This also offers an opportunity to reflect on what helped them learn and what they found most challenging.  I  have always found that this dialogue approach is a great way to empower learners and give them more ownership over the language they are learning.   This is particularly important with language learning as it can sometimes feel imposed upon school age learners.

Teaching the sports with faire  

When teaching the sports/activities with faire, you may want to consider the following for different stages of learners:

Early learners 

Again, generally we wouldn’t introduce the sports with faire until later stages however, there is no reason why children can’t copy and repeat as part of active language games and activities.  Our active language presentations are a great way of doing this with all stages.  Children are so busy joining in and having fun that they don’t actually realise that they are learning!


First Level/KS1 

Active approaches work really well with all stages of primary learners and we would recommend them from Early through to Upper Primary.

Our active song and video, A vos marques! (On your marks!) is available on the website but also on our Youtube channel.  This is a fun way to introduce and practise the sports in French. All of our songs are based on call and repeat so that children can easily copy and join in.

At First Level/KS1, you can also start to use this more extended range of sports as part of short conversations, presentations about self.   Children can choose the sports they do and then share / present them to others as part of games and learning activities.

You’ll find a range of activities to build these talking skills in our Sports with Faire Lingobox.

Second Level/KS2

Similar to the sports with Jouer,  the aim here is to build confidence and fluency.  Sports can be part of the growing bank of things which children can say about themselves and ask others about.   You can also begin to link Sports and Opinions,   This is a great way to link different aspects of language learning across contexts, which in turn, also helps with retention, retrieval and learning over time.

Sports and Opinions Lingobox Activity 

Sports and Opinions


Most of all, learning about sports in French can be great fun! It’s a great way to introduce language actively and gives children the tools to be able to share their opinions and talk about their own intersts.  Sports are also perfect for linking it to other areas such as Health & Well-being,  PE Warm Ups and topics such as the Olympics.

We hope you enjoy trying out some of our learning activities and ideas!  Subscribe now to start using our Lingobox resources today!  We offer both a monthly and annual individual and school subscriptions and are early bird discount prices are still available!