10 Quick & Easy Games to Play while Teaching English to Kids!

Blog 5 from our wonderful guest blogger / Spanish intern, Ciara! If you’re stuck for ideas and need a little lesson plan inspiration, this one’s for you. Ciara’s put together her 10 favourite games to play in the TEFL classroom so take your pick and thank her later!

Name games

Name games are a really good way to start a lesson, they are especially helpful at the start of the year to help you remember the names of all your new students! Go round the circle and have the children say their name and one of their favourite things. When the next child introduces themselves, they must first introduce the child that went before him and so on until the last child must remember the names and favourite things of everyone in the group! This can be made harder for older students by having a rule that their favourite thing must begin with the same letter as their first name.

Charades

This is a game that I’ve found to be popular with children of all ages! I’ve used an envelope full of cut out words or a set of picture flashcards for younger students to play this. Secretly show a student a word or flashcard and then have them silently act it out while the other children call out – in English – what they think the secret word is. The children get super competitive over this and the mimes can be hilarious! Charades can also be adapted to learn almost any vocabulary – animals, sports, hobbies, emotions – so it is endlessly useful!

children working together

Pictionary

Similar to charades but uses drawing pictures of a secret word instead of acting it out. I’ve found that children love being given to chance to use a marker and whiteboard – and to show off their artist skills.

Stand up if you… 

This game works best with a larger group and you need to have an open space to play in. Get all the children to form a large circle with you standing in the middle. You should then call out a sentence such as ‘stand up if you are wearing shorts’ and everyone wearing shorts must run to switch places in the circle with each other while you steal one of their spots. The child left in the middle then gets to call out the next question. This game can be easily adapted to suit the vocabulary the class is learning as the questions can focus on appearance, clothing, likes/dislikes, family members, holidays – almost anything!

Guess the flashcard

This game is very simple but very effective. While holding a hidden set of flashcards in your hands, slowly reveal them one at time while the students must shout out the name of the depicted word. The child who guesses correctly the fastest gets to hold the flashcard – something they absolutely love – and the child with the most flashcards at the end is the winner!

Slam

This is another flashcard game which works best with small groups. Place all the flashcards on the floor and have the children gather around them. Then call out the name of the flashcard and have the children ‘slam’ their hands onto the correct card. The child who’s hand is at the bottom of the pile – and is therefore the fastest – wins! I’ve found with this game that its best to get the children to keep their hands on their heads until the moment you call out a words to avoid them hovering their hands over the pictures!

children's aprons

Memory

For this game you need to have a two sets of matching flashcards or a set of pictures and corresponding words. Simply place all the cards face down on the floor and have the children take turns picking two cards in order to find a matching pair. Children love this game and I’ve found it engages even the most easily distracted students. Again it can be adapted to teach lots of different vocabulary – this week I used this game to teach Halloween words and it worked really well!

Bingo

To play you first need to find some Bingo grid with pictures or words of desired vocabulary (there are lots you can print free on the internet) or make your own! Give each child a grid that they must mark off as you call out words – the first to get a row or to complete their grid is the winner. Make sure to check the winners grid to ensure they have matched the words correctly! This can be made harder by giving the children clues to the correct picture rather than the word itself.

20 Questions

This game is great as it allows students to practice forming questions in English as well as revising their target vocabulary. Have a student think of a secret word while the other students take it in turns to ask them question in order to guess what they’re thinking. Again, you can give them a prescribed vocabulary to use – or simply let them use their imaginations!

Find the colour

colours

I have found this game to be really popular with younger students as a way of teaching them the colours. Gather all the students together and then call out ‘find something …’ and the children must run to touch something in the classroom of the correct colour. This is great as it gets the active children moving and it can be hilarious when they find the correct colour on themselves or on another student – or even on you!

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