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Suggested Games…

  1. Icebreaker - Who Am I?
  2. A silly icebreaker game for a small group.  Have each person secretly write on a post-it note the name of a famous person. Keeping the name hidden, stick the post-it to another’s forehead. Each person takes turns to ask the group questions to figure out whom the unknown person is. The catch is that only yes or no answers can be asked. Example questions:

    • Am I alive?
    • Am I female?

    If the answer is no---the turn is over. If the answer is yes---can ask another question. Keep going until each gets a no or make the right guess. For the correct guess, the student wins, or if the student guesses wrong, the turn is over.

    Keep going until everyone has guessed or if time is tight, maybe stop after a few right answers.

  3. Icebreaker - If I were a…
  4. A fun icebreaker game to encourage creativity, best for smaller groups.  Ask each person to say what they would be and why, if they were a…

    • A piece of fruit
    • An historical figure
    • A household object
    • A cartoon character
    • Any other off the wall group you can think of!


    I would be a pineapple as I am exotic, sweet and zingy.
    I would be a whisk as I like to stir things up.
    I would be a squirrel as I like to bite and collect things.

  5. Alphabet Soup
  6. Place plastic letters in a bowl. Divide flashcards by their beginning letters. Each student draws a letter from the bowl and then finds the flashcards associated with that letter.

  7. Your Time Starts NOW!
  8. In this flash card game a team of children have to say in English as many flash cards as they can in one minute. The teacher hold them up one at a time. If they do not know the English, then teach them to say pass. For every correct answer, the children get a point; and for the cards that they pass on, no points. To keep score, put the pass cards in one pile, and the correctly answered cards in another, and then add them up. The team with the most points wins. Use a watch with a timer that counts down from 1 minute. In a class of 30, try to have 3 teams of 10 each, and label them Team A,B and C. With the cards that they pass on, recite the new vocabulary to the whole class before starting with the new team. Also can be used with adults.

  9. Simon Says
  10. Remember how to play Simon Says? This game works really well for teaching prepositions. First, teach the prepositions (Ex: a pen and a pencil box). "The pen is on top on the box" "The pen is under the box" etc. Then ask them "Where is the pen?"

    Then, have your students stand up next to their chairs and play Simon Says. Teacher starts: "Simon says, stand on top of your chair." "Simon says stand behind your chair." etc. Then, once they get the hang of it, have the students take turns being Simon.

    This game can also be used to reinforce body parts: "Simon says stand next to your chair and touch your nose."

    This game is great for those last 15 minutes of class or for the days where you have forgotten your teaching materials!

  11. Slap
  12. This is a very simple exercise that teachers can use everyday when using flashcards to make it much easier & more fun! Go through a set of flashcards with the children first...and when finished, lay them down face up around the children. Have them call out the name of the card...and have the children race to slap the card. It becomes a game. Use music in the background, and when the music stops, call out the name. It gets the kids dancing, clapping, and learning. When finished, have them count their cards and repeat what they have slapped. Give it a try, it will make flashcard more interesting rather than a task.

  13. Who Has….?
  14. First, get a set of cards with pairs, e.g. animals. Deal them out randomly to the class. Ask, "Who has... a fish?" Two separate children should then answer (I do/I have a fish/Fish!) and lift up the card. The fastest one takes the cards. If two kids answer at the same time, settle it with another question (Do you like fish?) or they can play Rock, Scissors, Paper. This can be done with any kind of cards and works with kids of about 4 - 7 years old.

  15. Numbers One to Ten
  16. A fun game that will help students count quickly. Standing in a circle, students count one by one around the circle clockwise. When ever someone chooses they can reverse the order of counting by saying zero. When someone takes too long to say the next number, they sit out. The goal is speed! Can play this counting just even numbers, or just odd numbers, or even multiples just to make it really hard!

  17. ABC Bingo
  18. This game works best at the early levels of ESL. Each student is given a game card with 16 squares. Each square with a different letter. The teacher, or a student, pulls the letters from a coffee can. The first one to fill his/her card yells out Bingo. The winner is given a small prize provided by the teacher or donated by a student.

  19. What’s in the bag?
  20. It is a simple yet practical exercise perfect for 3 - 8 year-olds. Any plastic bag will do. Collect various objects- a coin, watch, ring, scissors, a battery, medicine, etc. To start, the teacher would shout, "What’s in the bag?" The kids usually parrot this back to me. Take the objects out of the bag, one at a time, identifying each one. When the bag is empty, give the students the opportunity to identify each object. Pick a student and say " I want the (item)" Kids are typically very enthusiastic about the game, and will compete with each other in identifying the objects. After all the objects are identified, say "Now, I'm going to put the (object) in the bag" and toss the object back into the bag. The game works effectively as a vocabulary builder and a basic grammar exercise.

    (Variation) The Magic Bag

    This is a real attention-getter for very young learners. Any bag would be good, but naturally children will respond better to something shiny and embellished, like what a magician would use. In it, prepare small objects (cat, dog, fish, car, bird...). At the beginning of each class, each kid picks an object from the magic bag. All the kids are fascinated by what the others pull and how to say it in English. We finish by saying "Good-bye fish/cat/etc." From there we build around that vocab, and later the teacher can introduce new concepts this way. It starts the class off with a high attention level!

  21. Letter Shapes Race
  22. Alphabet blocks or shapes are great for this activity. Scatter all the alphabet shapes randomly around the classroom floor. Line up all the against the front wall, and have them race to find the first letter: 'a.' The first student to find it stamps on it and shouts "A" then wins the 'a' flashcard. Everyone then have to race to find 'b' and once again the first student to stamp on it and shout "B" wins the 'b' flashcard. Continue until 'z' is reached. The person with the most flashcards is the winner.

  23. Slow motion
  24. Teacher holds a pack of alphabet flashcards with the letters facing towards him/her. The last card should be turned around so the letter is facing the students but is hidden as it is behind the pack. Slowly pull the flashcard up inch by inch so the students can only see part of the letter. As the letter is slowly revealed, students try to guess what it is. The first kid to guess correctly keeps the card (for 1 point). Variation: To make it a little more difficult, turn each letter flashcard upside down.

  25. Concentration
  26. You need 2 sets of flashcards for this game. Place both sets face down on the floor. Students take turns in turning over 2 cards (saying the cards aloud). If the cards match then the student keeps the cards. If the cards are different, the cards are turned back over again in their original places. The student with the most pairs at the end of the game is the winner.

  27. Lightning Flashcards
  28. Teacher stands at front of class with flashcards, and the students form two teams standing in a line. Two students go first and face away from the teacher, teacher says, “1.2.3. What is it?” and students quickly turn around. The first student to call out the correct answer wins a point for their team (good for review of vocab).

  29. Shopping
  30. This can be used with a wide range of flashcards (food pictures work well). Gather all the students and show them all the flashcards. Ask a student "What do you want?" (or maybe, "What would you like?" to higher levels). The student should then reply (e.g. "a hamburger, please"). Next, tell the child, "Here you are," and the student finishes with "Thank you". At the end, collect the objects by playing the 'Give Me' game (ask the students to "give me ___").

  31. Slam
  32. Sit the students in a circle, and place some flashcards in the middle of the circle. Tell students to put their hands on their heads. The teacher shouts out the word of one of the flashcards, and the students race to touch it. The person who touches it first get to keep the object. The student who has the most flashcards at the end of the game is the winner.