What better way to learn a language than playing games? Playing games is so interactive and hands-on and children will speak and learn more when they are having fun.
1. Fizz or Buzz with numbers
Children absolutely love circle games of elimination. It is a fast-paced game that can be played at the beginning of the class and at the end of the class to revise numbers. Instead of saying 3, 5, 13,15, 23,25, 33, and so on... the children have to say Fizz or Buzz.
The teacher starts out the round with a number and quickly, the children go round saying the next number except when they get to any number with a 3 or a 5 they replace it with a Fizz or Buzz. If you make a mistake sit down till the next round. Great laughter!
Learn More: Dr. Mike's Math Games For Kids
2. Scavenger hunt
Treasure and Scavenger hunts are such fun. They can be done in small groups or pairs. The best thing about them is that you can do them by running around looking for objects on a list or by giving kids a list of clues and images to find depending on the clue. This can be done using old magazines, books, or newspapers.
Learn More: English Current
3. Taboo - 3 minutes Time limit!
This game really helps children learn how to paraphrase as they have a list of words that they cannot say for example bathroom, water, clean, soap stand, and their teammate must guess HAVE a SHOWER. Therefore they have to say, place in the house, don't sit or lay down, relaxing, small area, curtain, smells wonderful, sing ...The best part is you can get the students to help you prepare the material in advance. Fun game!
Learn More: ISL Collective
We all love drawing and playing games and Pictionary is a fantastic game for vocabulary review I have even used it for verb tense review.
Small pieces of paper and pens or a whiteboard is all you need. Download the dictionary cards or make your own. Divide the class into teams and time for a fun activity!
Learn More: The Game Gal
5. Freeze Charades
Explain the basic rules of charades and have the children come up with a verb to act out. Shopping, Swimming, Watching TV - something easy. Then in the middle of their turn, the teacher shouts Freeze! and other children take their places in the exact position and the class has to say what it looks like they could be doing. "They were watching TV but now they are fishing" and then they act it out for a moment. Everyone loves improvisation games.
Learn More: Drama Trunk
6. Last Man Standing
Students stand in a circle and the teacher tells the students the topic and they pass or toss the ball around saying words or short sentences that relate to the topic. Keep it going faster and faster. If someone hesitates they are eliminated. Depending on the class size you can have more than one group. This is a word association game.
Learn More: The Ideal Teacher
7. Twenty Questions
This is a classic game and the game time is short so you can have more than one round. If you have a big group, I would say break it up into two teams. 20 Questions is one of the simple games that anyone can participate with a little help. Good for a vocabulary lesson and to learn to ask questions. Students have 20 questions to guess if the word you are thinking of is a mineral, object, food, or animal. Students ask any question - yes or no answers only.
Learn More: Triple S Games
8. Stop the Bus!
The teacher draws or has a flashcard of the bus and a path. When the children say start the bus, the teacher gives them one letter and they have to try to write down as many words as they can starting with that letter. Until a short period of time passes and the bus reaches the bus stop picture on the board. Children get one point for the same word and 5 points for something different.
Learn More: Teaching English
9. Sentence building XXL
Prepare a long list of complete sentences and structures with the vocabulary you are learning. Write the sentences out on A5 paper in a big font. Then cut up the sentences so you have a lot of words on paper. Shuffle and play in teams then they can try to build short or long sentences over and over again. Fun for all ages. Make the sentences funny and interesting.
Learn More: Eslexpat
10. Call my bluff
This is popular with tweens and teens.
Students write down in their notebooks two facts that are true about them and one lie. The other students are allowed a couple of questions to find out which one is the lie. Student A. I speak German - I play hockey - My sister has a pet snake.
The question could be: When did you learn German or how do you say I like cheese in German? When did you start playing hockey?, Tell me 3 rules about the game, and What breed is your sister's snake?
Everyone will love this game. All can participate in trying to call the other one's bluff!
Learn More: Free English Lesson Plans
11. Hangman Games
This is a good game played in pairs with mini-whiteboards. Students can invent their own words or they can have help from one of the lists. I would go the extra mile and have proper stands that you can make easily. They can practice spelling skills and they are very interactive games too.
Laminate your own boards.
Learn More: English Club
12. Move your body dice
Get a twenty-sided dice and write a variety of exercises like jumping jacks, hop on one-foot touch, tap your head and pat your tummy .... Roll the die and one student shouts out the moment. Everyone keeps going until the die is rolled again.
Learn More: Kid Inspired
Learning how to talk backward is a fantastic way to get children to really listen and pick up what you are saying. You are old how? From are your where? They think it is so silly, they pay attention and they are desperate to want to correct you. Can be worked into any lesson for learners.
Learn More: Andy - The ESL Guy
14. What am I or the forehead game?
If you have a classroom with space this is a fun activity. You can use printable worksheets or you can make your own. Primary school children seem to love this the best. The teacher puts a sticky note on their forehead with a noun on it such as; baby pig, smelly sock, cow, or hotdog. then the teacher asks questions like am I alive, am I an animal. Normally all of the students have paper or sticky notes on their forehead, walk around mingle and play. What am I?
Learn More: Games 4 ESL
15. Singing grammar
Singing Grammar has been around for a long time and it is still loved by all my kids and tweens.
"Johnny's playing football and he's gonna get dirty" ..." Johnny your mother's coming...
Singing grammar has downloadable worksheets, printable worksheets, and songs that teach all of the tenses in an amusing way! Great for all English learners to practice their listening skills.
Learn More: Hancock Mcdonald
16. Riddle time and Jokes ESL
Riddles and jokes are something that is typically English and easy and natural to learn. Children can hear and understand English riddles and jokes and then they can go home and do some investigation and write their own to share with the class. Good vocabulary practice, reading, and writing all in one lesson plan.
Learn More: English Post
17. Hidden picture PowerPoint game
With this activity, you can discover how to make your own hidden picture PowerPoint game. The children will see one revealed square and slowly they will start to ask questions and deduct what the hidden photograph is. Good for a class warm-up.
Learn More: Games 4 ESL
18. Jeopary ESL
This game can be prepared over time where the students are coming up with the questions such as:
a festival celebrated in fall where people do not wear normal clothes and they like to look like something from a scary movie. They go out to the street at night and ask neighbors for sweets.
Answer = What is Halloween?
Good game to improve all 4 skills.
Learn More: Jeopardy Labs
19. Cup of Conversation
Fill some plastic coffee mugs with different topics written on small pieces of paper. Each student draws a paper and then they have a simple conversation about the topic. When they are finished, exchange the cup to start a new topic. Effective lesson for pre-intermediate or advanced learners.
Learn More: ESL Cafe
20. Fast photos
In this activity, we are trying to prepare the students for the Cambridge speaking exams PET or FCE. We quickly show the entire class the picture for less than 10 seconds and they have to try to explain something they thought they saw. Great Teen concentration game.
What were the people doing?
What was the weather like?
What clothes were they wearing?
How do they feel?
Everyone speaks and everyone participates. Good for A2+ levels
Learn More: English Post
21. Did you say Drawing dictation
Your students will have a blast with this mix of ESL and art lesson games. Imagine the teacher says "okay listen to the dictation and instead of writing it, please draw it and share. "
Three ladies went to the beach to sunbathe at the sea.
Can you imagine what fun they will have trying to draw the dictation!
Learn More: English Post
22. Tic Tac Talk
Draw a simple tic, tac, toe board and write some prompts in it and the students take turns answering the questions and crossing out their box with an X or an O.
Learn More: Greg
23. Phonics time
One of the best ways to learn English is to know your phonics. With some special websites like Kiz Phonics and Phonics Printable worksheets and phonics games, your students can really learn vowel sounds and consonant blends. Slowly Phonics will be like patterns to kids on their way to reading.
Learn More: Kiz Phonics
24. Hungry Hamsters
Hungry Hamsters ESL provides English Lesson plans, listening skills, and cute interactive digital videos to help your student learn English easily. Fun classroom activities as well. With these little rodents learning English will be like riding a bike. Great way to start a beginner's class.
Learn More: ISL Collective