Games & Activities for the ESL/EFL Classroom

A Project of The Internet TESL Journal
This is a place were English teachers can share games and activities that they have found useful in the classroom. If you know a game or an activity that works well with ESL/EFL students and it is not yet listed here, please su mit it.
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(ou may view the games in two different ways. Each Game on Its O n Pa!e " #an$ Games Per Pa!e%This Section& )um er of Su missions* +,The newest addition is at the top of the page.

'a( Fruit) A Sho**ers+ ,i!htmare
Level) Easy to .edium This is an oral communication activity appropriate for EFL learners in elementary/primary school. /It0s optimal for grades ,123. This game is designed for practicing 4shopping4 dialogues and voca ulary. #aterials) 4produce4 and play money. O-ject of Game) To accumulate as many products as possi le. Students are divided into clerks and shoppers. The clerks set up 4stands4 to allow easy access for all shoppers /e.g. around the outsides of the room with their acks to the wall3. The shoppers are given a set amount of money5 /e.g. dollars, euros, pounds, etc.3 and egin at a stand where there is an open space. Students shop, trying to accumulate as many items as possi le /each item is + unit of currency3. 6eriodically, the instructor will say 4stop4 /a ell or other device may e needed to attract attention in some cultural and classroom conte7ts3 and call out a name of one of the products. Students with that product must then put #LL their products in a asket at the front of the room. The remaining students continue shopping. Students who had to dump their products must egin again from scratch /with fewer units of currency3.

If you have access to ells or u<<ers. E7plain the game. Style it like a game show if you like. and get students to correctly say the corresponding $uestions for your answer. 0:hat0s the $uestion. 5It is recommended giving students as much money as possi le since students who run out can no longer participate. )e7t.0. )ew contestants come to the front for a new round. they are used to answering rather than asking $uestions. There are two winners in this version* The shopper who accumulates the most products and the clerk who makes the most money. Su mitted y* . read an answer to a $uestion and say. #sk. 0:hat0s the $uestion. it0s even more fun.ike (ough . with the students standing side1 y1side. #ll too often. so this is challenging and useful as review. Students then switch roles.hat+s the /uestion0 Level) #ny Level T$*e of Activit$) listening and speaking Pur*ose) review $uestion forms previously studied in class Proce(ure) Form two teams /three will work. with a few e7amples of answers in search of $uestions.The student with the most products at the end wins. so they must provide a grammatically perfect $uestion. 1ationale) This game forces the students to think ackwards a little.0 The fastest player to respond wins a point for her/his team. Su mitted y* Tim Toilet Pa*er Ice-rea2er Level) #ny Level . Alternative *la$ for more a(vance( stu(ents) 8lerks set the price of items. ut two seems to add 9ust the right amount of competitive tension3. Shoppers have the option of negotiating the price. !ave two players11one from each team11come to the front.

E7plain that they are cow oys and they are involved in a duel.. to pronounce the word incorrectly.4 and a word in their mother tongue. or nouns. Su mitted y* !uang Shufang 'an! 'an! Level) Easy >ivide the group into two teams.This activity is used as a 4getting to know you4. #fter every ody in the class has some paper. The toilet paper is such an attention getter. I give + point for the right answer and @ e7tra points if they manage to 4kill4 A opponents in a row. etc. -. then we have to tell that many things a out ourselves.edium The teacher gives a word and asks a student to spell it. food. &et them to pretend to draw their pistols. The last one remaining in the game is the winner. that is. This activity works well with su stitute teachers also. we count the s$uares we have.43 Su mitted y* Li< .. misspell it or come up with a word that has een said already. e. in English. pretending to shoot his opponent is the winner. more than three.. then hands the roll of toilet paper to a student. This game can e made difficult y limiting the words to a certain category. Su mitted y* Linda Le=lanc Chain S*ellin! %Shiri-tori& Level) Easy to . ver s. ?ne student from each team comes to the front. Teacher takes the toilet paper roll and takes several s$uares of toilet paper. tools. Editor0s )ote* Instead of saying the word in the students0 mother tongue. The first child to give the answer and then 4 ang ang4. it would e possi le to use a picture or to say a definition /4:hat do you call the large gray animal with a long nose. ice reaker on the first day of class. Say 4how do you say. The game continues until someone makes a mistake. +.g. then he/she is out. The teacher tells the student to take some. and then a second student should say a word eginning with the last letter of the word given. !e remains standing and the other one sits down.

The teacher can change the le7ical area for the ne7t round. The teacher must decide a le7ical area of voca ulary. The shooter is the last crew mem er in line. The captain of T!E 8#LIF?B)I#) must reply with a word from the le7ical area given. and the crew mem ers can 9oin the crew of another ship. )o word can e repeated.edium /Low to low intermediate3 Each student is then give one sheet of paper. Start the game y calling a ship0s name. &ive the students +1. movie stars or let them find their own favourite names. The shooter0s duty is to memori<e the names of the ships of 0their enemies0. The le7ical area for e7ample. Activit$) #rrange all the captains in a circle. so he can reply if some ody call his ship0s name. this voca ulary will e used to defend their ships from the attacks.minutes to find as many possi le words as they can and memori<e them. In the last round there will e two ig groups attling to e the winner. 48?:4C 4S!EE64 until it is the shooter turns and he calls out the name of another ship and the captain of the ship called must reply and his crews must do the same thing. Every students /e7cept the shooters3 must find their own words. If the captain is late to reply /more than .'attle Shi*s 3 A 4oca-ular$ Game Level) Easy to . for e7ample he says 4TI&EB4 followed y his crews ehind him one y one. Su mitted y* #gung Listyawan 5escri-in! A**earances & Characteristics of Peo*le Level) Easy to . Then ask the student to make the name for their ships for e7ample with the names of animals. !e/she descri es a person and the rest of the class draws the person eing descri ed. for e7ample the ship name is 4T!E 8#LIF?B)I#)4.seconds3 or his crew can not say the words or a word repeated or the shooter shoots the wrong ship /his own ship or the ship that has already een sunk3 the ship is sunk. so he can shoot them y calling their ship0s name. #sk them to choose the 8aptain and the Shooter. 4Four Legged #nimals4. cities. . The captain0s duty is to memori<e his ship0s name. ?ne student sits at the front of a room.edium Pre*aration) >ivide the students in to groups of four or five. the ships0 crews must line up ehind their captains.

every student on each team should have a paper. I don0t e7cept my eginners/low intermediate students to form complete sentence so I help them to form correct sentences. Su mitted y* >arrell Sentence 1ace Level) #ny Level # good game for large classes and for reviewing voca ulary lessons. get them to make creative team names. To my surprise they will repeat the sentence several times /while I0m helping them3 9ust so they can throw their airplane. That means writing the word twice. . @. Su mitted y* Thomas >. +. Then. This is always a hit with kids. students make paper airplanes and launch them after they answer your $uestion in the form of a sentence.. The students must then run to the lack oard and race to write a sentence using their word. ?rgani<e the pieces like undles. ?nce the student has finished descri ing that person then he/she reveals who it is and each student shows his/her drawing. . use tougher words. I recommend formulating $uestions that lead to + or - . once on each paper. one from each team. 6repare a list of review voca ulary words. For more advanced students.undles.sets of identical words. The winner is the one with a correct and clearly written sentence. It is a good idea to encourage students to ask the interviewee student $uestions a out who they are descri ing.teams. 2.students should stand up. :rite each word on two small pieces of paper. . >ivide the class into . . For eginner and low intermediate classes. :hen you call a word. =oth teams have the same words. The laughter from this is hilarious as the impressions tend to make the character in $uestion look funny.It is more interesting if the person eing descri ed is known y everyone. A. -. '1= Pa*er Air*lane Game Level) #ny Level >raw a target /with points 1 like a dart oard3 on the white oard or use a card oard o7 in the middle of the room. >istri ute each list of words to oth teams.

use 8#)/:ILL $uestions and write the eginning part of the answer on the oard 4I can/will.types of answers. a good word to egin with is* warmonger.edium to >ifficult (ou. foods. may need a dictionary do this activity.D seconds3. I recommend giving a pri<e to make the target points mean something. This is designed for one lesson. the guesser draws and drawer guesses.4. . etc. if you have a large class you have to divide it in . thus peaking their interest. )e7t turn. The team that has more points is the winner Su mitted y* Bevolle Soyer . difficult. etc. us driver. this time.teams. animals. Su mitted y* Ell Saunders Pictionar$ %Game 6& 3 revam* 3 Chara(es %Game 7& Level) #ny Level :rite out series of categories like professions /doctor. Students should spell these correctly with not even one mistake. then the teacher says a word or a sentence depending on the level for the students to spell. haircut. This game works est with the ar itrary stop watch /. :ithout using a dictionary.. /They can work out the definition in groups of three3. ?ne student draws and the other guesses. #llow them a few minutes to think and write. your students write down a definition. This allows for etter memori<ation. and unknown to the students. 8ollect the definitions and read them aloud. Su mitted y* Ell Saunders S*ellin! Contest Level) #ny Level First.3 then divide the class into groups of -. the teacher.3.hat+s the #eanin!0 Level) . act it out /no speaking or noises3. Then for another day take the same categories /or create new ones3 and play the same game e7cept students. • • • 8hoose a word which is long.. For e7ample. actions /fishing.

Su mitted y* )atalia Iglesias from #rgentina #ore Games & Activities To keep this page0s filesi<e reasona le. • • • • • • • 6age E 1 /up to mid1'uly -DD@3 6age 2 1 /up to the end of #ugust -DD.3 6age @ 1 /up to the end of >ecem er -DD-3 6age A 1 /up to the end of #ugust -DD+3 6age . they will have to vote which of those is the correct one.1 /+FFG1+FFF3 6age + 1 The ?ldest Su missions /+FFG3 8opyright /83 +FFG1-DD@ y The Internet TESL 'ournal . The idea of this game is to let students e creative and practice writing skills. Then you can have the students to discuss their writings.• • :hen you have finished reading. /It doesn0t matter if none of them is the correct one3 #fter they have voted and none of the groups guessed the meaning you read the correct one aloud. 1 /+FFF3 6age . we occasionally move things to other pages.