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10 Fun ESL Games and Activities for Pedagogy Kids English Abroad

Increase student date and satisfaction through these 10 ESL games and activities.


Games and fun activities are a vital part of teaching English every bit a foreign language. Whether yous’re teaching adults or children, games volition liven upwardly your lesson and ensure that your students volition go out the classroom wanting more than.

Games tin can be used to warm up the class before your lesson begins, during the lesson to give students a break when yous’re tackling a tough subject field, or at the end of course when you have a few minutes left to kill. There are literally hundreds, probably thousands, of games that y’all tin can play with your students. EFL games are used to test vocabulary, practise conversing, learn tenses – the list is countless.

This list of ten archetype ESL games every teacher should know will help get you started and feeling prepared. Having these upwards your sleeve before stepping into the classroom will ensure your lessons run smoothly, and, should things get a little out of command, you’ll be able to pull back the attention of the grade in no fourth dimension.

Want to jump right into the list? Hither are the pinnacle x games we think your students will love:

  1. Board Race
  2. Call My Barefaced / Two Truths and A Lie
  3. Simon Says
  4. Word Jumble Race
  5. Hangman
  6. Pictionary
  7. The Mime
  8. Hot Seat
  9. Where Shall I Go?
  10. What’s My Trouble?

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one. Lath Race

In that location isn’t an EFL instructor I know who doesn’t utilize this game in the classroom. Lath Race is a fun game that is used for revising vocabulary, whether information technology be words from the lesson you’ve just taught or words from a lesson you taught concluding calendar week. It can also be used at the get-go of the class to get students active. It is a keen way of testing what your students already know virtually the subject you’re nigh to teach.

This is all-time played with 6 students or more – the more, the meliorate. I’ve used it in classes ranging from 7-25 years of age and it’due south worked well in all age groups.

  • Why use it?
    Revising vocabulary; grammer
  • Who it’s best for:
    Appropriate for all levels and ages

How to Play:

  • Split the course into 2 teams and give each team a colored mark.
  • If yous accept a very large class, it may be better to split the students into teams of three or iv.
  • Depict a line down the heart of the board and write a topic at the peak.
  • The students must then write every bit many words as you crave related to the topic in the form of a relay race.
  • Each team wins one point for each correct word. Whatsoever words that are unreadable or misspelled are not counted.

2. Telephone call My Barefaced / Two Truths and A Lie

Phone call My Bluff is a fun game which is perfect at the starting time of term as a ‘getting to know y’all’ kind of game. It is also a brilliant ice breaker betwixt students if you teach classes who practise not know 1 another — and especially essential if you are instruction a minor course size.

The game is splendid for practicing speaking skills, though make sure you save a time for subsequently the game to comment on any mistakes students may have fabricated during the game. (I more often than not like to reserve this for later on the game, so you don’t disrupt their fluency by correcting them as they speak).

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With older groups you can have some real fun and you might be surprised what you lot’ll larn nigh some of your students when playing this particular EFL game.

  • Why use it?
    Ice-breaker; Speaking skills
  • Who information technology’south best for:
    Appropriate for all levels and ages but best with older groups

How to play:

  • Write iii statements nearly yourself on the board, two of which should be lies and i which should be true.
  • Let your students to ask you questions about each statement then approximate which i is the truth. You might want to practice your poker face earlier starting this game!
  • If they approximate correctly then they win.
  • Extension:
    Give students fourth dimension to write their own two truths and 1 prevarication.
  • Pair them up and take them play again, this time with their list, with their new partner. If you want to really extend the game and give students even more time to practice their speaking/listening skills, rotate partners every five minutes.
  • Bring the whole class back together and have students denote i new affair they learned about another pupil as a recap.

3. Simon Says

This is an excellent game for young learners. Whether you lot’re waking them up on a Mon morning or sending them home on a Friday afternoon, this ane is leap to get them excited and wanting more. The only danger I take constitute with this game is that students never want to cease playing it.

  • Why use it?
    Listening comprehension; Vocabulary; Warming up/winding down class
  • Who information technology’s best for:
    Young learners

How to Play:

  • Stand in forepart of the class (you lot are Simon for the duration of this game).
  • Exercise an action and say Simon Says [action]. The students must copy what you lot practice.
  • Repeat this process choosing different actions – y’all tin be as empty-headed as you like and the sillier you are the more the children volition dear you for it.
  • So do an action only this fourth dimension say only the action and omit ‘Simon Says’. Whoever does the activity this time is out and must sit downwardly.
  • The winner is the last student standing.
  • To make it harder, speed up the deportment. Reward children for expert beliefs by allowing them to play the part of Simon.

4. Discussion Jumble Race

This is a groovy game to encourage team work and bring a sense of competition to the classroom. No affair how old we are, we all love a good competition and this game works wonders with all historic period groups. It is perfect for practicing tenses, give-and-take order, reading & writing skills and grammar.

  • Why employ information technology?
    Grammar; Word Gild; Spelling; Writing Skills
  • Who it’s best for:
    Adaptable to all levels/ages

How to play:

  • Write out a number of sentences, using dissimilar colors for each sentence. I suggest having 3-5 sentences for each team.
  • Cut up the sentences so you lot have a handful of words.
  • Put each sentence into hats, cups or any objects you can find, keeping each split.
  • Split your grade into teams of ii, three, or 4. You can have equally many teams equally you want but remember to have enough sentences to go around.
  • Teams must now put their sentences in the correct order.
  • The winning team is the first team to have all sentences correctly ordered.

5. Hangman

This classic game is a favorite for all students but it can get slow quite quickly. This game is best used for five minutes at the first to warm the grade up or v minutes at the end if y’all’ve got some time left over. Information technology works no matter how many students are in the class.

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  • Why use information technology?
    Warming up / winding downwards grade
  • Who it’s best for:
    Young learners

How to play:

  • Think of a discussion and write the number of messages on the board using dashes to testify many letters there are.
  • Ask students to suggest a letter. If it appears in the give-and-take, write it in all of the correct spaces. If the letter does not appear in the word, write it off to the side and begin drawing the prototype of a hanging man.
  • Continue until the students approximate the discussion correctly (they win) or you complete the diagram (you win).

six. Pictionary

This is some other game that works well with any age grouping; children love it because they can go creative in the classroom, teenagers dearest it because it doesn’t feel like they’re learning, and adults dearest it considering it’south a suspension from the monotony of learning a new language – even though they’ll be learning as they play.

Pictionary tin assistance students do their vocabulary and it tests to run into if they’re remembering the words you’ve been teaching.

  • Why use information technology?
    Vocabulary
  • Who it’s all-time for:
    All ages; all-time with young learners

How to play:

  • Before the class starts, set up a agglomeration of words and put them in a bag.
  • Divide the course into teams of 2 and draw a line down the middle of the board.
  • Give one team member from each team a pen and inquire them to cull a word from the bag.
  • Tell the students to draw the word as a flick on the lath and encourage their team to guess the word.
  • The beginning team to shout the right respond gets a signal.
  • The pupil who has completed cartoon should and so nominate someone else to draw for their team.
  • Repeat this until all the words are gone – make sure you have enough words that each student gets to draw at to the lowest degree once!

7. The Mime

Miming is an fantabulous fashion for students to practice their tenses and their verbs. It’s as well dandy for teachers with minimal resources or planning time, or teachers who desire to break up a longer lesson with something more than interactive. It’s adaptable to near any language point that you might exist focusing on.

This game works with any age group, although you will observe that adults tire of this far quicker than children. To proceed them engaged, chronicle what they will be miming to your groups’ personal interests as all-time as possible.

  • Why use it?
    Vocabulary; Speaking
  • Who it’s best for:
    All ages; best with young learners

How to play:

  • Before the class, write out some actions – like washing the dishes – and put them in a bag.
  • Divide the class into two teams.
  • Bring one student from each team to the front end of the class and one of them cull an action from the bag.
  • Have both students mime the action to their squad.
  • The kickoff team to shout the correct reply wins a point.
  • Echo this until all students have mimed at least ane activeness.

eight. Hot Seat

This is one of my students’ favorite games and is always at the top of the list when I ask them what they want to play. I have never used this while instruction ESL to adults, but I imagine it would work well.

Hot Seat allows students to build their vocabulary and encourages competition in the classroom. They are besides able to practice their speaking and listening skills and it can exist used for whatever level of learner.

How to play:

  • Split the class into 2 teams, or more if you accept a large class.
  • Elect one person from each team to sit in the Hot Seat, facing the classroom with the board behind them.
  • Write a discussion on the board. One of the team members of the pupil in the hot seat must help the educatee guess the discussion by describing information technology. They take a limited amount of time and cannot say, spell or draw the word.
  • Continue until each squad member has described a word to the educatee in the Hot Seat.

9. Where Shall I Go?

This game is used to test prepositions of movement and should be played later on this field of study has been taught in the classroom. This game is so much fun but it can be a trivial scrap dangerous since you’ll be having one pupil in each pair be blindfolded while the other directs them. And so brand certain to keep
your
eyes open!

It is also excellent for the adult EFL classroom, or if you’re teaching teenagers.

  • Why use it?
    Prepositions; Speaking and Listening
  • Who it’s best for:
    All ages and levels

How to play:

  • Before the students arrive, turn your classroom into a maze by rearranging it. It’s nifty if you lot can exercise this exterior, merely otherwise push tables and chairs together and move furniture to brand your maze.
  • When your students get in, put them in pairs outside the classroom. Blindfold one educatee from each pair.
  • Permit pairs to enter the classroom 1 at a fourth dimension; the blindfolded student should be led through the maze by their partner. The students must use directions such as step over, go under, get up, and go downwards to lead their partner to the terminate of the maze.

10. What’south My Problem?

This is a brilliant EFL game to practice giving advice. It should be played later the ‘giving advice’ vocabulary lesson has taken place. Information technology is a not bad manner for students to come across what they have remembered and what needs reviewing. This game works well with any historic period group, merely adjust information technology to fit the age you’re working with.

  • Why use information technology?
    Speaking and Listening; Giving Advice
  • Who information technology’s all-time for:
    All ages and levels

How to play:

  • Write ailments or issues related to your most recent lesson on mail-it notes and stick ane post-it note on each educatee’southward back.
  • The students must mingle and inquire for communication from other students to solve their problem.
  • Students should be able to guess their problem based on the advice they get from their peers.
  • Utilise more complicated or obscure issues to make the game more interesting for older students. For lower levels and younger students, announce a category or reference a recent lesson, like “Wellness”, to help them along.

These games will keep your students engaged and happy as they acquire! Think, these are just ten on the hundreds of unlike EFL games that you tin plat with your students. Equally you get more confident in the classroom, yous tin can offset putting your own spin on games and eventually make up your own.

Whatever the historic period of your students, they’re guaranteed to love playing EFL games in the classroom. An EFL classroom should exist fun, active and challenging and these games are sure to go you lot heading in the right direction.

This article was originally published in Oct 2013; we redesigned and updated this article in May 2018.

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Source: https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/10-best-games-esl-teachers