Language tenses can be tricky to grasp, but understanding them is essential for your students’ communication and comprehension skills. These dynamic activities are designed to help your students master the present perfect tense—each one is aimed not only at reinforcing grammar skills, but also at igniting creativity, promoting collaboration, and inspiring curiosity in your learners! So if you’re looking for new ways to help your kiddos practice and understand present perfect tense, read on for 28 perfect strategies.
1. The News Reporter Activity
Your learners will embrace the thrill of storytelling as they become newscasters for a day! In this role-play, present a news report to the class; relying on the present perfect tense to convey recent happenings about a chosen person or character.
Learn More: YouTube
2. The Mystery Person Game
Get ready for a game of intrigue and curiosity! One student will have the name of a famous person or character written on their forehead while the rest of the class answers yes/no questions framed by the person to unveil who the mystery person is. The trick? Questions must be posed in the present perfect tense
Learn More: ESL Brains
3. Time Capsule Activity
Imagine digging up a time capsule from the past! In this activity, get your students to adopt the role of archeologists; articulating what previous students have preserved in the time capsule using the present perfect tense.
Learn More: Twinkl
4. Journey Diary
Have your pupils embark on an imaginary journey filled with all sorts of fun experiences and challenges! Using the present perfect tense, they must document their adventures to create a vivid and engaging travel diary.
Learn More: YouTube
5. Life Experiences Bingo
Everyone loves a game of bingo, but what about a twist that involves shared experiences using the present perfect tense? Have your kiddos navigate through the classroom- seeking out classmates who can sign off squares if they’ve experienced something on the board. As they interact, they’ll practice and refine their present perfect usage.
Learn More: Busy Teacher
6. The Archaeological Find
Take your students on an archaeological dig! After unearthing an ancient civilization, ask your students to present their findings. The catch is that they must use the present perfect tense to underscore what the civilization has accomplished or left behind.
Learn More: ESL Kids World
7. Experience Tracker – The Class Surveys Activity
Nothing like a simple worksheet to check learner understanding! Have your pupils complete the questions on the sheet to assess their ability to correctly use the present perfect tense.
Learn More: ESL Printables
8. Bucket List Challenge
Everyone has dreams, but what happens when they come true? Prompt your learners to consider their own dreams as they complete the questions detailed on the worksheet. This will encourage them to reflect on their aspirations while practicing the present perfect tense.
Learn More: Live Worksheets
9. Global Explorer Presentation
Next stop, the world! Encourage your students to craft a hypothetical travel itinerary and present it to the class; describing the spectacular sights they’ve seen using the present perfect tense. This exercise fosters creativity and will allow them to showcase their present perfect prowess in a fun and imaginative way.
Learn More: Slide Share
10. Day in the Life Activity
Dive into a day in the life of any character- real or imaginary! Your students can narrate their day from waking up to going to bed using the present perfect tense. This will inspire them to delve into creative storytelling while perfecting their usage of the present perfect tense.
Learn More: ISL Collective
11. Interesting Character Interview
Communicative activities are the cornerstone of ESL teaching. Assigning your students fun personas to act out is the perfect game to show their present perfect knowledge! Divide your learners into pairs—interviewers and interviewees—before giving each duo time to come up with questions using the prompts above and then inventing possible answers for their characters.
Learn More: ESL Expertz
12. Celebrity Life Timeline
Moving from imagined personas to real-life celebrities, why not get your students to create a timeline of the life and achievements of a famous person? Ask them to focus on the main moments in their chosen person’s life—being sure to get them to describe these moments with the correct usage of the present perfect.
Learn More: Famous People Lessons
13. Chain Story Activity
This simple activity will help your kids tap into their creative side whilst sharpening their language knowledge. Simply begin a story using the present perfect tense before prompting each of your students to add a sentence—in present perfect, of course. Everyone should continue crafting the tale until it reaches a satisfying conclusion. To add an extra element of learning, why not task your students with writing down what’s being said?
Learn More: ESL Activities
14. Class Charades
A game of “Present Perfect Charades” is another fun and interactive way to help your learners perfect this area. First, prepare by writing out a host of ideas. When it’s time to play, get your students to take turns choosing one and acting it out for their classmates. Miming these sentences will boost your learners’ engagement and make them more memorable whilst prompting others to use the present perfect to describe their guesses!
Learn More: To Teach
15. News Story Analysis
News stories often use the present perfect tense to report current events in both the headlines and the text itself. Get your students to research articles from news sites or newspapers; identifying the present perfect usages. If they find different tenses throughout the text, ask them to rewrite those sentences using the present perfect for a more advanced activity.
Learn More: ThoughtCo
16. Merry Matching
This is a simple online game that will see your students working independently to practice the present perfect tense. It’s a version of the classic memory game, where half the cards list a statement—e.g., “We have done the laundry”—and the other half displays corresponding images—e.g., clean laundry. This is a great activity for quiet time or individual learning.
Learn More: Educaplay
17. Present Perfect Postcards
Another classic ESL activity is writing a postcard! This version will prompt your kids to really use their imagination (and research skills) by getting them to pretend that they’re on vacation somewhere exotic and describing the amazing things they have experienced. Before they begin, be sure to discuss the different tenses that could be used in a postcard—and emphasize that this is an activity where they should specifically focus on using the present perfect.
Learn More: iSL Collective
18. Movie Reviewers
This is a nice, simple lesson where you can watch a short film or selected scenes from a movie with your class. Afterward, have your pupils write reviews of the movie! The trick here is using the present perfect tense as much as possible, e.g., “The director has done a good job.”
Learn More: TEFL Lessons
19. Lyric Analysts
Get your students to be present perfect detectives with this entertaining game. The process is simple: play a variety of songs for your class; tasking your learners with identifying tricky tense examples in the lyrics. What a fun way to challenge their listening and language skills while helping them practice a key grammar skill! Continue the activity by asking your students to suggest examples of the tense from their favorite songs.
Learn More: Song Activity Factory
20. Call the Doctor
Have you been looking for an activity that relies on the use of role-play cards, funny questions, and body language while revising the required knowledge? Here it is! Prepare for this delightful role-play by dividing your students into two teams- doctors and patients. Then, challenge the doctors to figure out what’s wrong with their patients, having the patients describe their symptoms and encouraging the doctors to ask follow-up questions.
Learn More: Twinkl
21. Error Correction Relay
Error correction is a well-established ESL writing activity, but how can you make it more modern and interesting? By turning it into a fun game, of course! Divide your class into smaller groups and give them an error-filled worksheet. Tailor this activity for whatever concepts you’re teaching—in this case, be sure to include errors related to verb tense. After conveying the total number of errors to your learners, have them take turns locating one error before passing the sheet on to a teammate. The first team to find all the errors wins!
Learn More: YouTube
22. Spot the Difference
A super simple and familiar idea is to play “spot the difference”. Get your students to play an online version or use a worksheet with two similar pictures. What does this have to do with the present perfect tense, you ask? Change the activity up by getting your kids to write their answers in the correct tense—for example, “He has taken off his shoes in picture two.” You could also complete a fun in-person version by getting them to close their eyes in class, making a small change somewhere in the room, and then challenging them to figure out what it is!
Learn More: ESL Kids Games
23. Present Perfect Board Game
Speaking about life experiences is a great way for your students to practice the present perfect tense, and doing it in the form of a board game is sure to elevate the activity from practical to pleasurable! As a learner lands on a spot on the board, have them answer the question written within that space. Be sure to have them answer in a complete sentence, using the correct tense! Lastly, encourage them to briefly discuss the square they land on to get the most out of the activity.
Learn More: ESL Base
24. Personal Photo Fun
“Have you ever?” is another classic game that you likely already play to teach or revise the present perfect tense. Make it more visual and engaging by asking your pupils to bring in a few photographs—the limitation being that they cannot be in the photo themselves! Then, have everyone try to discover who owns each photo by asking, “Have you ever_____?” until they figure it out!
Learn More: BusyTeacher
25. Student Journals
Journaling has become a popular activity in the ESL classroom. Giving your students a space to write allows for reflection and active thinking—and it allows for real-life practice of the language concepts you’re teaching them. Journaling can be done in many different ways, and if you want to use it to practice present perfect, give your kids specific prompts and a format that requires the use of the present perfect tense.
Learn More: The ESL Educator
26. Present Perfect Pen Pals
A pen-pal exchange is a fantastic way for kids to practice their written language skills as well as learn more about others. Give your writers some prompts and guidance on how to curate their letters before encouraging them to correctly incorporate the present perfect tense.
Learn More: Teaching English Games