Fun ESL Games

Make Lessons Fun with ESL Games!


Fun ESL Games One way to make your lessons more enjoyable is to have a bunch of ESL games you can use. To save you searching the web, here are some of my favorites.

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ESL games that work

1. Game shows

Many of the popular TV game shows are syndicated worldwide so students will know them. They can easily be adapted to use with any grammar point or vocabulary theme. Jeopardy is easy to use in class and is great for practicing question forms. You can write the answers, or for more class involvement, you can get your students to write answers for the other team to make questions. Great idea, group work, good fun, and less work for you!

2. Action games

Even adults like to move around during long lessons, and with younger students it is even more important to get them active. Games involving mime can be used with vocabulary and are also great if you are teaching progressive tenses. Put the students into teams, get one person to mime something and have the others guess what it is. Another version of this is to have students draw pictures on the board for their team to guess.

3. Sports

Instead of a boring quiz, why not make it into a sports game. Draw a plan of a football field on the board and ask teams questions. When a team gets a question right, move the ball one step nearer touchdown! This may take a while as it goes backwards and forwards, just like in a real game. This can be adapted to any sport, simply use the scoring method from the sport instead of giving straight points.

4. Cartoon races

My students love this one! Get each team to draw a cartoon character to represent them. Draw a grid of lines across the board and stick each character at the start of the grid. Ask ‘category’ kinds of questions, for example, Name 5 things that are always white. Name 8 things with wheels. Name 5 positive and 5 negative personal characteristics. This is great way to revise vocabulary from a previous class. The first team to write all correct answers moves 2 points along the grid, the second team moves one. The first team to reach the end of the grid are champions!

5. Two Chairs

This has different names, but my students called it Two Chairs and it was a great favorite at the end of the lesson. I wouldn’t do this as a warm-up as it can get a little crazy! Two teams, two students sit in chairs with their backs toward the board. The rest of the teams describe or act words you write on the board for their team-mates to guess. First one to guess it gets a point.

When you are playing ESL games you do need to be sure that your students understand the rules and that they know your decision is final! If you use some of these ideas, your students will have fun and learn at the same time.

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