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Collection of different games

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It is a collection of games (grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary etc). I have collected them during my studies.
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Collection of games

There are a lot of games, by means of which we can develop speaking skills. These games are much diversified. We can choose among structure games, vocabulary games, spelling games and pronunciation games.

 Many games provide experience of the use of particular patterns of syntax in communication, and these are here called structure games. Among them is a number of guessing games, which can be played at various age levels. In general, the challenge to guess arouses considerable interest and encourages the learners too communicative what they see as possible ‘right answer’.

 In the following we would like to show some among structure games, which we can use in, develop speaking skill.


Where is it?

Level: elementary and intermediate

Age: any

Group size: whole class

Use: to practise prepositional phrases. (Variant B: also the ‘may’ of possibility.)

Learners turn round and close their eyes while a small object (or several objects) such as a coin, a ring, a sweet, or a small doll is hidden. Questions: Is it behind the cupboard/in X’s pocket/in Y’s desk/in your shoe/under those books? Etc. Each learner should make at least one guess. Statements can be made instead of questions: It’s behind the cupboard/in X’s pocket, etc.


  1. Using tag-questions: It’s behind the cupboard, isn’t it? etc.
  2. A small object is hidden. Where can it possibly be? Everybody suggests a place: It may be in your pocket/on top of the cupboard/in Tom’s desk/behind that picture/in the waste-paper-basket, etc. A team point for the first to guess correctly, using may. Might or could are also possible. It might/could be in your pocket. Could it be in your pocket?
  3. Using the past: I’ve just found this button, etc. Guess where it was. It was behind the cupboard/in the drawer of your table/under the vase, etc. No, it wasn’t there or Yes, that’s right.
  4. Several learners go out of the room while a small object is hidden. They know what the object is. On re-entering the room, each in turn asks a question, naming someone to answer it. This is done three times. Thus if there are six questioners, eighteen different learners are asked a question. The six in front listen carefully to each other’s questions, which they may have planned together before they came in, and especially to the answers. They try to guess where the object is before they finish asking all their questions. Only yes-no questions are permitted, e. g. Is it on anybody’s finger? Is it on the floor? Is it near us? Is it in the teacher’s pocket? It’s in your desk, Peter, isn’t it? and so on. As soon as a successful guess is made, another group (which should include learners who have not had a chance of speaking) goes outside and another object is hidden.
  5. Hide a puppet, or a cut-out of an animal (e. g.), before the lesson. Say I’ve lost…(naming a puppet), or I’ve lost my cat. Where is he? The learners guess. It’s in your bag outside the room/behind those big books, etc. (For young children.)


Whose is it?

Level: elementary

Age: children

Group size: whole class

Use: the practise possessive pronouns

Objects belonging to various learners are placed beforehand in various parts of the room. They are all visible. For example, there could be a red pencil on one of the desks (all other pens and pencils should be put away). A black raincoat hanging at the side of the blackboard, a pencil-box on a chair, a pair of shoes near the door, an apple or an orange on a shelf, etc. The objects should be numerous and they should not be familiar, e. g. the coat should not be one, which a particular pupil in the class always wears.

The game proceeds as follows. Hold up or point to one of the objects and ask What’s this? or What are these? This is a pair of shoes. Then talk about them a bit, e. g. Are they black or brown? Are they girls’ shoes or boys’ shoes? Then ask Whose are they? or Who do they belong to? and guesses are made. They’re Mary’s. Mary says: No, they aren’t mine. They’re Alison’s. Are they yours, Alison? No. No, they aren’t hers. And so on, until the right guess is made. The guesses may of course be either statements or questions.

If there are many objects of a kind, e. g. many books, scarves, coats, or oranges, which and pronominal one will also be needed. Which coat is yours/his? etc. (pointing). Which book is Eve’s? Is the one on the table? Or that longs one? etc.

The materials needed for this game are many common objects which belong to the learners, but which they do not normally have at school.


Lucky dip

Level: fairly elementary

Age: young children

Group size: whole class (small)

Use: to practise possessives and to brush up vocabulary

This is an occasional activity for a small class. The children, and also the teacher, put various articles (including models) into a large bag. Later, everybody takes out one without looking to see what it is. Informal conversation: What have you got, Pamela? An aeroplane, miss. Oh, that’s good. What have you got, Jack? What’s it called? It’s a calendar. And so on.

If most of the articles belong to the children, there can now be exchange. Whose is this? Is this yours or his? It’s mine, etc.

A few of the articles, not belonging to the children, can be marked ‘First prize’, ‘Second prize’, etc. Those who have them will keep these.

There may also be a few ‘messages’ inside small envelopes, e. g. Find something behind this cupboard. Look it my left pocket. There is something behind the green books. The articles hidden there should be similar to those in the bag.

Everybody gets his own article back, and may get another one also.

Teach the children to ask one another some of the questions, so that the teacher is not the only one to talk.


Where are you off to…? (or Where are you going?)

Level: intermediate

Age: fairly young children

Group size: whole class

Use: to practise the infinitive of purpose

Somebody walks to the door and says Goodbye, everybody, goodbye. The class says: Oh, where are you going? Reply: I’m off to/going to the supermarket/butcher’s/stationer’s/greengrocer’s, etc. Class: What are you going there for? or Why are you going there? Reply: Guess (You must guess.). Everybody guesses. To buy a kilo of beans/a chair/a pint of milk/some potatoes, etc. (choosing the vocabulary according to the kind of shop mentioned). Whenever a correct guess is made, the ‘guesses’ change places with the ‘shopper’.


What is it? Is it…?

Level: elementary, intermediate, and advanced

Age: any

Group size: whole class, groups, or pairs

Use: to practice ‘yes-no’ and other questions and to brush up vocabulary

Somebody thinks of an object or person the class knows the name of, and the others ask questions, putting up their hands and waiting to be called on: Is it a green book?, Is it Mary’s desk? Is it my face? Is it the door? Is it John and Peter? Is it the railway station? Is it the man who came here this morning? etc. The first to guess correctly takes the ‘thinker’s’ place.

After the class has successfully played such a game as a whole, it can be played in groups or even in pairs.

Members of another team may question the learner who has thought of something only, and points scored according to the number of questions asked (e.g. one point for a guess after only five questions). There should be a frequent change from one team to another, to keep the whole class active.

The number of yes-no questions may be limited (e.g. to twenty), after which the answer must be given and the game started again.


Out of place

Level: intermediate

Age: any

Group size: whole class

Use: to practice ‘there’s’ and prepositional phrases, the present perfect (variants A and B), the passive (B), and ‘should/shouldn’t’, ‘ought/oughtn’t’

At least a dozen objects are placed beforehand in unfamiliar positions, all being in ‘full’ view. The learners are not told what the objects are, but are given a minute or two to look about them, and then are asked to say what have noticed. They may say, for instance: There’s a book on top of the door. There’s a bag in the waste-paper-basket. There’s a hairbrush on the record player. There’s a ruler in the vase, etc.

At another stage the past tense could be used, if the objects have been taken away. Thus: There was a book on top of the door. Was there? Yes, there was. Is there a book there now? No, there isn’t.

Or, if some of the objects have been removed and not others, one of the uses of still can be practised. Is it still here? No. Is my bag still there? Yes, it is – it’s still in the corner.



Level: intermediate

Age: children

Group size: whole class

Use: to practise adverbial of manner

One learner goes out of the room and thinks of a simple action – such as cleaning the blackboard, drawing or writing something, counting objects or people, telling about what happened the day before, etc. Meanwhile the class has chosen an adverb of manner e.g. quickly, slowly, softly, loudly, etc. Back comes the one outside and performs the action in various ways until he hits on the manner chosen by the class and guesses the adverb. But he may have to change the action to discover what the adverb is – one can hardly clean a blackboard loudly!

The class should respond to each ‘performance’ by using the adverb that seems appropriate to it, e.g. No, it isn’t ‘quickly’. If the ‘performer’ does not agree with their choice of adverb to describe the way he performs an action, he can say so, e.g. I wasn’t writing carelessly.

It should not take long for any ‘performer’, by means of his actions to discover what adverb the class has chosen.


If it happened…

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: any

Group size: whole class

Use: to practise conditional clauses (hypothetical)

While the class, with the teacher’s help, is imagining something that might happen, one learner is out of the room. On returning, he or she asks various learners What would you do if it happened? Until in due course it becomes clear what the imaginary event must be. Answers begin I would…


  1. I would visit Britain/move to a bigger house/take my mother for a long holiday/give presents to all my friends, etc. (Answers such as these would doubtless lead the questioner to guess If you won a lot of money.)
  2. I would stay here/ring up home to ask somebody to come/take shelter in a shop/run home very quickly/borrow somebody’s coat, etc. (Such answers might bring the guess If it began to rain hard.)

Answers should be so worded that the secret is not given away immediately, as it would be, for instance, if an umbrella were mentioned in connection with If it began to rain.

Both possible and impossible ‘happenings’ may be allowed, and some of the answers are bound to be a bit improbable. The teacher’s help should be directed towards ensuring that ‘happenings’ are chosen which enable as many suggestions are possible to be put forward.

Hide and search

Level: intermediate

Age: children

Group size: whole class

Use: to practise conditional clauses (factual or open condition) and the ‘may’ of possibility

A small object, such as a button or coin, is hidden somewhere while the searcher waits outside. Converse with the rest of the class in this way: What will Jim/Jane find/see if he/she looks in your desk/in Sally’s bag/in the cupboard/under that papers/behind the stove? etc. He’ll/She’ll find four books and a ruler/some sandwiches/six piles of books and three bottles of ink, etc.

Preliminary conversation might also involve the may of possibility. What may she/he open/move/look behind? Where may she/he look? At a more advanced stage should and were might be practised in the same situation: If he should look in your desk, what would he find? If he were to move those books, what would he discover/see there? etc.

The search may be for several objects, and there may be a number of searchers. The teacher need not know where the objects are – members of the class can place them.

So Jim or Jane come back and search. As they search, teacher and class have a little conversation. Where has Jim looked (so far)? Where is he going to look now? Has Jane looked under the table (yet)? Is she going to open the cupboard? And so on. Have you looked in my bag (yet), Jim? But do not bother the searchers too much.


Where could…have looked?

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: children

Group size: whole class

Use: to practise ‘could/might have…’

This is an activity, which follows upon the previous game. Everybody looks back at what has happened.

For instance: Did Jim look in the cupboard, Alan? No, miss. Could he have looked there? Yes, he could, but he didn’t. Where else could he have looked, but didn’t look? Everybody makes one suggestion. He could have looked under my foot/behind that picture/in the vase, etc. Did you look under his foot/behind that picture, etc. Jim? No. Could you have looked there? Yes. The class is talking about what they saw happen and not happen.

An alternative to could here is might.


The type of games belongs to vocabulary games. A vocabulary game is one in which the learners’ attention is focused mainly on words. Many of these games give incidental vocabulary practice.


What is this/that? Who is this/that?

Level: elementary

Age: children

Group size: whole class or groups

Use: to practise naming people and objects

Learners in turn hold up or touch or point to objects or people (or to pictures of them), naming a pupil in another team to answer. Those who answer correctly ask a similar question in return. If an answer is incorrect, the questioner (or perhaps someone else from the same team) asks another question. A point may be scored for every correct question answered.

Replies take the form It’s a…It’s the…It’s my/your/his/her…It’s X. They’re…and…Yes, it is. No, they aren’t. No, I’m…, etc.

At a slightly less elementary stage a game can be made out of the following kind of naming sequence: A (to B): What is this?, B: It’s a…A (to class or group): Is it a…? Reply: Yes/No.

‘Choice’ questions also lend themselves to this game: Is this a lemon or an orange?



Level: elementary and intermediate

Age: any

Group size: small class or groups

Use: to practise the vocabulary needed for various kinds of shopping

 There are many vocabulary games of this type. They can be adapted to circumstances. Examples:

  1. My father/sister/I/You and I, etc. went to (name a town). Oh yes, did he/she/you? What did he/she/you bring back? He/she/I/We brought back…Each learner adds an item and repeats the items already mentioned by other learners. If this is found unduly difficult, write some of the items on the board. Keep a note of what is mentioned. In a large class the list becomes unbearably long and the game is then better played in-groups.
  2. I went to the market/shops/supermarket with…and there we bought…,etc. The vocabulary can be restricted to what is obtainable at one kind of shop, and this varies from country to country.
  3. Amounts can be specified: I went shopping yesterday and bought a dozen eggs, a pound/half a kilo of coffee, a pound of butter, etc.
  4. Other tenses can be used: My mother and sister have gone to… What are they going to buy? Guess… Every Saturday we go shopping, and what do you think we buy? etc.
  5. ‘Uncountable’ and ‘countable’ may need practice: some rice, some cheese, some bacon, two packets of rice, a quarter of bacon, six eggs, etc.


I spy

Level: elementary

Age: children

Group size: whole class or groups

Use: to brush up known vocabulary

This is an old and simple vocabulary game. Somebody says: I spy with my little eye something beginning with B. Others guesses what the object is. Susan: The blackboard? No, no the blackboard. Dick: A biscuit? No, I can’t see a biscuit. Stephen: Dick’s ball? Yes that is right, Dick’s ball. It then becomes Stephen’s turn. He thinks of something beginning with another letter, e. g. S. I spy…something beginning with S. The object must be visible in the room or in a wall picture.

If anyone dislikes spy because it is not among the ten thousand most frequent words in printed English or because of its associations, then the following rhyme can be substituted: One – two – three, what can I see? Something in this room (or garden) beginning with…



Level: elementary

Age: children

Group size: whole class

Use: familiarisation with known vocabulary, spelling practice

Simple sketches are drawn on the board. If you have a long stretch of board there can be several ‘artists’ drawing at once: they can be, for instance, three learners from each of two teams. As soon as they have finished, they print neatly under each drawing what it is supposed to be (a kitchen, a tree, an aeroplane, etc.). The class is given a few moments to look at these words, then the teacher rubs them out and the class writes them from memory, looking at the drawings (some of which would no doubt be unrecognisable if one had not been told what they were). Then other learners come forward to draw and name other things, and the procedure is repeated. With a quick class this can be done three or four times. The team with the most words right, legible, and correctly spelt is the winner.


Classroom shop

Level: intermediate

Age: children

Group size: whole class or groups

Use: to practise the vocabulary of shopping

The pupils provide the articles for sale – or pictures, drawings, or models of them, or simply their names on cards – and the teacher, to get the game going, acts first as salesman and then as customer. Useful phrases: Can I help you? Have you got a…Have you got any…? I want to buy…pounds/kilograms of…Please give me…How much is (all) that? Is that right? (when handing over the exact money), I’m sorry we’re out of stock/we haven’t got that, etc.


Aunt Mary’s cat

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: any

Group size: whole class or groups

Use: a vocabulary stretcher (adjectives and adverbs)

This is an old party game played by children and adults together, the adults usually saying whether the word chosen is possible or not. Again, the name can be varied: My uncle’s parrot. The grocer’s horse. Bill Lee’s bulldog. My grandmother’s monkey, etc. The first player begins with ‘a’ and says perhaps My Aunt Mary’s cat is an alarming cat. The second has to use an adjective beginning with ‘b’; e.g. My Aunt Mary’s cat is a bad cat. The third may continue My Aunt Mary’s cat is a careful cat. And so on through the alphabet.

Adverbs can be added to adjectives: My Aunt Mary’s cat is an alarmingly fierce/badly behaved/carefully fed/dangerously thin cat, etc. Or…is alarmingly fierce, etc.


Incomplete definitions

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: any (except young children)

Group size: whole class and groups

Use: to practise how to describe things they know

A member of one team defines something and challenges somebody in the other team to guess what it is. Team points are given for correct guesses and an extra point if the word is spelt correctly.

Much depends on what is chosen for definition, and also on not giving away too much. For example an elephant can be defined as a large animal which lives in India and Africa and which can carry people as well as goods – but do not mention it trunk, which would make it too easy to guess.

Examples: a piece of furniture in which we keep clothes (a wardrobe). A way of telling us to stop or go ahead in the street (traffic lights). A place where a farmer keeps his cows (a cattle-shed). A means of sending a spoken message a long way (the telephone).


Shipwreck lists

Level: intermediate

Age: any

Group size: whole class or groups

Use: to brush up the vocabulary of food, drink, clothing, tools, etc.

Each group has pencil and paper and the group leader does the writing. First, the names of foods must be written down. Allow two or three minutes for all the groups to do this, then ask for drinks, and finally for articles of clothing.

Group ‘A’ leader reads out Group A’s list, while the other group leaders cross out on their lists anything he mentions. Then Group ‘B’ leader reads out what his group still has, and the other groups cross out those items if they have them, and so on with all the groups. The result will be that the items not crossed out on any list will be those that only that group has thought of. You have been wrecked on a desert island, and this is all the food and drink and clothing you have. The surviving items are read out. The group with the longest list (including no doubt one or two items that would not be essential or even suitable on the island) is the winner.



Level: intermediate

Age: any

Group size: whole class and groups

Use: to brush up vocabulary: food, drink, clothing, tools, etc.

This is usually played as a vocabulary game. Somebody thinks of an object and others ask questions such as Where do you keep your coffeepot? Is your coffeepot big? What is your coffeepot made of? Can we see your coffeepot in the room? Can we eat your coffeepot? Do you wear your coffeepot? Both yes-no question why-questions can be asked.

The coffee-pot may be almost anything – somebody’s TV set, somebody’s stamp album, the local railway station, the post office, the teacher’s hat, somebody’s bicycle, your shoes, the moon, etc.

Coffeepot can also stand for a verb, and the questions might include Can everybody coffeepot? Do you coffeepot very often? Where do you go to coffeepot? etc. Almost any action verb is possible here, e.g. dance, swim, go for walk, climb, etc.

Word bag

Aims: Vocabulary practice, the development of attention, listening skill

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Time: -

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: This is to get your students to write down new words they hear in class.

At the beginning of the term/course divide students into groups of about 5 and give each group a number (e.g. 1-6). At the beginning of each class give each group about 10 cards on which they write the number of their group and the new words they hear in class. At the end of each class they put their cards into the "word bag" and every 2 weeks you check whether they still know those words and which group has the most cards. In the end there are two winners: the group that has the most cards, and the one that knows more words.


Especially for you

Aims: Vocabulary practice, reading skill

Level: Beginner

Time: 10 minutes

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: The teacher prepares a list of words. Each student gets one word which is prepared especially for him or her. The trick is that each student gets a word whose initial letter is the same as the initial of the student's first name, e.g. Linda gets listless. Each student must look it up in the dictionary during the class and after a few minutes report to the class. E.g. "My name is Linda and I'm listless. That means that I am ... (definition)...". For homework students can do the same using their surname.


Word tour

Aims: The development of imagination, vocabulary practice

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Time: -

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: Instructions for your students: 'Think of a town or city you know well. Imagine that you are organising a sightseeing tour. Think of 5 places you would include on your tour and write down the order in which the tourists would visit them. Learn your tour off by heart so that you can picture it in your mind. Whenever you have 5 new English words to learn, imagine these words are the tourists on your tour and picture the words in the places on your tour like this.
Tour: Trafalgar Square; Buckingham Palace; Houses of Parliament; Westminster Abbey; Downing Street. Words to learn: apron; dustpan; vacuum cleaner; feather duster; broom. Imagine Nelson on his column in Trafalgar Square wearing an apron, the queen brushing the floor in Buckingham Palace and using a dustpan...


Selling and Buying Things

Aims: Vocabulary practice, speaking skills

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Time: 15-20 minutes

Organisation: Individuals/Groups

Procedure: This game is playing in two different classes. 10 students were shopkeepers selling fruits and food to the rest of the class. The shopkeepers had to sell all food they had and the shoppers had to buy all food they needed in the shortest time. We observed the same students' reaction in both classes. Before the game started, the teachers tried to explain the game' rules to students and gave some examples. Once students understood the rules, they quickly rearranged their seats and grouped as instructed. The classes became as noisy as a real market. Students tried to use as many phrases and words they had learnt as possible. Thus, through this kind of activity students may be able to remember their vocabulary better.


Snakes and Ladders

Aims: Vocabulary practice, speaking skill, answering correctly to questions

Level: Beginners/Intermediate

Time: 10-20 minutes

Organisation: Groups of five

Procedure: Students worked in groups of five and everyone went from the start and tried to reach the finish as soon as possible by answering correctly to questions which were prepared by the teacher. After observing the game, we gave a small survey to 20 students with some questions about their feelings toward the game like; "Do you think this game is useful for you to remember words you have learnt?" and, "How can your classmates help you learn through the game?"... From this survey, we learnt that all 20 students agreed that games help them a lot in vocabulary learning. Among them, 12 students said that said that they could answer well two-thirds of questions in the game; and only one student could always respond to all questions.


Fish of the Sea

Aims: Vocabulary practice, to enliven the children’s attention

Level: Pre-intermediate

Time: 5 minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: The children make up groups, each with the name of a fish. The teacher, as the Sea, walks about, calling them to follow: “The Sea wants the shrimps. The Sea wants the cod...” When they are all gathered, the Sea says “I am calm”: children move on tiptoe, gliding. “I am rough”: children hop. “I am choppy”: children skip. “I am stormy”: children run, waving their arms about.


What animal is this?

Aims: To learn the names of the animals, imagination, miming

Level: Beginner

Time: 10 minutes

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: It is very useful when children are learning the names of the animals.

Children silently act as animals, and other players try to identify them:


Bull- paws the ground

Monkey- jumps and swings with tail

Kangaroo- bounds

Crocodile- swims and snaps mouth

Cat- washes face, curls up

Gorilla- beats chest

Dog- begs

Rabbit- bunny-hops



Aims: Vocabulary practice, listening comprehension

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Time: 10 minutes

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure:  This involves selective copying and is an excellent way of revising vocabulary sets (e.g. colours, occupations, clothes, etc.). through a game.

Write, with the help of suggestions from the class, 12 – 16 items on the board (e.g. for clothes: jacket, hat, shirt, socks,etc.). Ask the students to copy any words from the list.

Then read out the words from the list in any order. The first student to hear all his words read out calls out BINGO!

From these suggestions it should be clear that copying need never be a boring activity! Some of the following activities, particularly dialogue writing, also involve copying: the students do not actually have to contribute to the text.



Procedure: Start by suggesting an evocative word: ‘storm’, for example. A student says what the word suggests to him or her – it might be ‘dark’. The next student suggests an association with the word ‘dark’, and so on round the class. Other words you might start with: sea, fire, tired, holiday, morning, English, family, home, angry. Or use an item of vocabulary the class has recently learnt.


Blackboard bingo

Procedure: Write on the board 10 to 15 words which you would like to review. Tell the students to choose any five of them and write them down. Read out the words, one by one and in any order. If the students have written down one of the words you call out they cross it off. When they have crossed off all their five words they tell you, by shouting ‘Bingo’. Keep a record of what you say in order to be able to check that the students really have heard all their words.


Sentence Race

Level: Any Level

A good game for large classes and for reviewing vocabulary lessons.

  1. Prepare a list of review vocabulary words.
  2. Write each word on two small pieces of paper. That means writing the word twice, once on each paper.
  3. Organize the pieces like bundles, 2 bundles, 2 sets of identical words.
  4. Divide the class into 2 teams. get them to make creative team names.
  5. Distribute each list of words to both teams. every student on each team should have a paper.  Both teams have the same words.
  6. When you call a word, 2 students should stand up, one from each team. The students must then run to the blackboard and race to write a sentence using their word.

The winner is the one with a correct and clearly written sentence.

This is always a hit with kids. For more advanced students, use tougher words.


Catching up on your ABC's

Level: Any Level

This game is short and simple. Write the alphabet on the board. Throw a bean bag to someone and say a word begining with the letter A. This person must catch the bean bag, say a word begining with the letter B and then throw it to another person This third person says a word begining with the leter C and so on.

Obviously the game is meant to be played fast. If played with higher level students you may not want to write the alphabet on the board. There are many ways to change the game to make it adaptable to your level of students.


Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt

Level: Easy to Difficult

This game may require students to leave the classroom depending on how you set it up.

Make a list of things students must take photos of. Then put your students into teams, each with their own camera and have them go out and take the photos. The team that comes back first with all the photos is the winner.

Some ideas for lists are:

  • bus, taxi, car, bicycle, etc.
  • restaurant, post office, mail box, traffic light, etc.
  • In the classroom: pencil, pen, eraser, blackboard, etc.
  • Around the school: principal's office, copy machine, cafeteria, etc.

For further review of vocabulary, have the students look at all the photos and identify other things that appear in each photo.


Words Beginning with a Given Letter

Level: Medium to Difficult

The teacher chooses a letter from the alphabet. Then each student must say a word that begins with that letter. If a student repeats a word that has already been said, then he/she is out of the game. The game ends when only one student remains. That student is the winner. In high level classes students lose if they say a past form of the verb. Example: see-saw. You can increase the difficulty by adding a timer. Only allow each student 5 seconds to think of a word.


Survivor Spelling Game

Level: Any Level

Use this activity to review vocabulary. Make a list of vocabulary covered in previous lessons. Have students stand. Call out a vocabulary word. The first student begins by saying the word and giving the first letter, the second student the second letter of the word, the third student the third letter, and so on until the word is spelled correctly. If somebody makes a mistake they must sit down and we start from the beginning again until the word is spelled correctly. The last student must then pronounce the word correctly and give a definition in order to stay standing. The student who is left standing is the "survivor" and wins the game. I usually give them some type of prize. If all the students remain standing we have a pizza party at the end of the week.


The Alphabet Game

Level: Any Level

This game is used to practice alphabet and check their vocabulary. Do as a competition. Divide students into groups of five (it depends on the number of students you have) and ask them to stand in line. Give to the students of the front a marker to write on the whiteboard. Then draw with your finger an imaginary letter of the alphabet on the back of the students at the end of the line. They must do the same with the student in front of him/her and so on. The students with the marker are supposed to run to the board and write any word that begins with that letter.


The spelling games we can use in the developing speaking skills too. It is a half-truth that spelling can be picked up. Voracious readers are often good spellers, but not always, nor does every language learner read voraciously! A wisely planned foreign language course provides for drills and exercises to ensure that spelling in mastered. Fortunately these are readily converted into games.

A few general principles are worth observing.

A lot depends on the visual image of the whole word, which tends to be photographed on the memory. Thus the visual image should never, if we can avoid it, be an incorrect one. Do not write up misspellings on the board and do not allow a misspell word any pupil has written there to remain – rub it out. Refrain also from giving the class words of which the letters have been put in the wrong order. They can only sort them out correctly if they know how to spell the word, and in the process of trying to do so are likely to be confused by several incorrect versions.

Spelling games ought not to be played as if they were only tests. Every spelling game should include or follow a period of study – of the words used in the game.

Words are best introduced to the class in the context of sentences. To focus on the spelling, it is necessary to list them out of context now and then, but not for long. Words like their and there, wait and weight, should always be put into a phrase.

 There is point in including words, which the class in general can spell easily.

Spelling exercises and games are not so much needed at an elementary stage, when the learners have seen relatively few words, as later, when they may have seen many. A brief spelling game twice a week (if there are several weekly lesson periods) is probably enough, but a hard-and-fast rule cannot be laid down.

The ability to write the word is the main thing. The first writing is the copying from the board or book of short and fully meaningful sentences, with the meaning of which the learners have become familiar in oral communication. There is no reason to spell these out orally.

If the foreign language alphabet is the same as the mother tongue alphabet, the letter names need not be taught until writing is well under way. It is another matter if the foreign language alphabet is an entirely different one. Then we must give handwriting instruction, and the learners might as well meet with the letter names along with the new letters themselves. But even then there should not be a divorce of what is visually learnt from what has been learnt orally. These new and strange letters make up the sort sentences the learners have already been speaking, and can be ‘found’, with the teacher’s help, in the visual forms of such sentences.

There are some examples on spelling games.


Filling the gaps

Level: elementary

Age: young children

Group size: whole class or groups

Every learner has a number of cards, each bearing a letter clearly visible anywhere in the room. Each team can have cards of one colour, different from the other teams’ colours. The letters which occur most often in printed English are e, a, t, o, i, s, h, d, l, and r, and each learner should have plenty of these; nobody should be given only letters of low frequency.

 Think of a word (not too short) and ask for certain of the letters in it. Place the learners who have these letters in order, but leave gaps for the letters missing. The class has to guess the word and those with the missing letters then come forward to fill the gaps. Thus if the letters provided are i, r, and one f, and the correct guess giraffe is made, the teacher says Yes, good, it is giraffe, and shows a picture of one. Now, what is the first letter? Right, ‘G’. Who has a ‘G’? Harry, you were first. Come here. Where are you going to stand? All right. What is the next letter? Is it ‘A’? No, ‘A’ doesn’t come next. Where does ‘A’ come? Yes, Peter, stand next to ‘F’, and so on. The letters are not necessarily taken in sequence.



Level: elementary and intermediate

Age: children (possibly also adults)

Group size: whole class, teams, groups

A number of incomplete words, either in sentences or with simple ‘clue’ attached to them, e. g. a be---r (begs), are on the board. The pupils complete them on paper and if the teacher doubts their ability to do so without mistakes he allows them the consult the textbook or dictionary. The first to finish helps other members of his group or team. A limited time is allowed.

Even if the completion is made orally, it is helpful to write the words as well.


Wolves and lambs

Level: elementary and intermediate

Age: young children

Group size: pairs, groups, or whole class

The teams or groups sit in circles well apart from each other, and are visited by ‘wolves’ (or ‘tigers’ or ‘lions’ or some other animal if you like) from other teams. Each ‘wolf’ has a list of words to be spelt, and fear is shown as he approaches. Anyone who cannot spell the word the ‘wolf’ gives him has to stand aside as a captive ‘lamb’. After a short time the ‘shepherd’ (the teacher) chases the ‘wolves’ away and they take their ‘captives’ back to their own groups. The team with the most ‘captives’ is the winner.



Level: elementary

Age: children

Group size: individuals and groups

Collect especially (for spelling and reading games) pictures of objects, people, and activities the class has been talking about. Paste them on cards, leaving room underneath for phrase or a short sentence.

Reading is chiefly a matter of reading whole words, phrases, and sentences (i. e. of understanding them in print), while spelling is chiefly a matter of writing letters in the usual order. Give the learners a stock of letter-cards and let them make words to suit the pictures. Under the picture of a house, for example, they should build up the phrase a ‘house’ or ‘This is a house’, under a picture of a man or woman jumping either ‘jumping’ or perhaps ‘John/Barbara is jumping’.



Level: intermediate

Age: any (except young children)

Group size: whole class, teams, or groups

Somebody thinks of a word and indicates the number of letters in it by means of dashes on the board. The others each guess, asking such questions as Is there a ‘T’ in it? If there is, the letter ‘T’ is put in its correct place in the word. Is there a ‘B’? And so on.

 If the letter suggested be not in the word, it is written at the side of the board and crossed out. Thus, if the thought of were table, an ‘S’ would be written at the side as ‘S’. At the same time the first line of the sign is drawn – it can be completed in exactly ten lines. Every time a wrong letter is suggested, a line is added to this drawing. When the STOP sign is complete, the team or group concerned has to stop playing. The last survivor wins the game.

It may be necessary to explain the procedure beforehand in the mother tongue.


Pattern puzzle

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: any

Group size: groups, individuals

Each group is given a card bearing a letter-pattern, the same on each, as in the example here. The players each write down on paper all the words they can think of containing some or all of these letters, provided that the middle letter appears in each one. No letter should be used more than once in any word. There is a time limit. The group with most words is the winner.


Sentence relay

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: children

Group size: whole class

At a leader’s signal the first in each team runs to the board and writes a word, then back to his team, handing the chalk to the second player, who does likewise, and so on. The aim is to write a complete sentence, which must not come to an end until all the members of the team have written one word each. If a word is misspelt or illegible, it is rubbed out at once.

The words may be added either in front of or after what is already on the board.


The useful alphabet (self-initiated independent learning)

Aims: Speaking skill

Level: Beginner

Time: 5-10 minutes

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: Each student gets a letter and has to find 5, 10 or 15 words she/he thinks would be useful for them. They then report to the class, perhaps as a mingle activity, using word cards (on one side they write the letter, on the other the information on the word - spelling, pronunciation, definition).


Chain Spelling (Shiri-tori)

Level: Easy to Medium

The teacher gives a word and asks a student to spell it, and then a second student should say a word beginning with the last letter of the word given. The game continues until someone makes a mistake, that is, to pronounce the word incorrectly, misspell it or come up with a word that has been said already, then he/she is out. The last one remaining in the game is the winner.

This game can be made difficult by limiting the words to a certain category, e.g.. food, tools, or nouns, verbs, etc.


Spelling Contest

Level: Any Level

First, if you have a large class you have to divide it in 2 teams. Then the teacher says a word or a sentence depending on the level for the students to spell.  Students should spell these correctly with not even one mistake. The team that has more points is the winner.


Level: Any Level

Divide the class into two teams. On the blackboard, draw spaces for the number of letters in a word. Have the players guess letters in the word alternating between the teams. If a letter in the word is guessed correctly, the teacher writes it into the correct space. If a letter is guessed which is not in the word, the teacher draws part of the man being hanged. The teams which can guess the word first receives a point, then start the game over.


Now let we see what pronunciation games are.

Errors made in pronouncing a foreign language vary to a certain extent from one mother tongue to another, although some are widespread. Listening and speaking habits formed during the process of acquiring the mother tongue make it hard for the learners to hear and make differences of sound which are unimportant in that mother tongue. In such circumstances it is no good asking impatiently Can’t you hear what I am saying? Yet it can be helpful to isolate the sound and point out visible features of its formation, such as the position of the jaws and lips. Indeed, this in itself may enable learners to hear it better. Until they can hear that there is a difference between what they say and what they should say, there will not be much advance.

Pronunciation drills, which can take the form of games or contests, should be held regularly, but not for long periods; five minutes every lesson may be enough, with a longer stretch occasionally. They should be as meaningful as possible. Although it is necessary to isolate sounds from time to time, sentence examples such as ‘The man outside ran away’ and ‘The men outside ran away’ do help learners to realise that what may seem a very small difference of sound can accompany a big difference of meaning. But at an elementary stage, while the learners’ vocabulary is very small, these drills and games may have to be based on isolated words and sounds.

Learners can act as the teacher in activities but should not do so unless their pronunciation is reasonably good. The teacher tells the learner what to say or writes it on a piece of paper. If it is spoken accurately the learner’s team can win a point, apart from any points others may win with their answers. It is interesting that inability to make their fellow learners understand what they are saying does a lot to convince learners of the shortcomings of their own pronunciation.

As the games and activities, which follow are all meant to help pronunciation.


Are you saying it?

Level: intermediate

Age: any (except young children)

Group size: whole class, teams, groups

It is not enough to be able to recognise differences between speech sounds; one must also be able to produce them. Production exercises can also take the form of games. For instance: as a means of overcoming persistent difficulties with the pronunciation of sounds, a team contest may be arranged. Suppose the difficulty is poor discrimination between /v/ as in veal and /w/ as in wheel. Assuming that the formation of these sounds, in particular the lip positions, has been demonstrated one team can take /v/-words and the other /w/-words, and then change. To begin with, a few members of each team are called upon to say one or the other kind of word (these will be on the board or can be given orally). Then small groups within each team can be given a minute or two to find two-word or three-word phrases containing both /v/-words and /w/-words. Points are awarded for the way in which they say these, and the opposite team can be involved in the adjudication.

Possible phrases: very wet/very warm, worse verses, wet violets.


What are you saying?

Level: intermediate

Age: any (expect young children)

Group size: whole class

There are some numbered sentences on the board, which differ slightly from one another in pronunciation but greatly in meaning. Examples:

1a. I can’t find my class.

  b. I can’t find my glass.

2a. Ballet-dancers work very hard.

  b. Belly dancers work very hard.

3a. The trees are full of birds.

  b. The trees are full of buds.

4a. We shall leave there.

  b. We shall live there.

Students take it in turn to read any sentence aloud (there should be about twenty on the board, based on the learners’ actual difficulties with sounds) and various members of the same team mention the number of the sentence they think has been read.


The same or different

Level: intermediate

Age: any (except younger children)

Group size: whole class

This game can be played with sounds, words, or sentences. It goes roughly as follows: the teacher says two sentences and the learners decide whether they are same or different. Examples:

Teacher: ‘We began to think.’ ‘We began to sink.’ Are they the same? I’ll say them once more…Peter?

Peter: ‘The second one was different.’

Teacher: Right. Listen again: ‘That’s a good road.’ ‘That’s a good road.’

John: ‘Different.’

Teacher: ‘Listen again.’ (Repeats them)

John: ‘The same.’

Teacher: Yes, now listen again. ‘I’d like to look at your bag.’ ‘I’d like to look at your back.’ Hands up.

And so on. Sometimes the sentences are given in pairs, sometimes in threes or fours, and often they will be identical, often different. The teacher should sometimes say ‘Listen again’ even when the answer is right.

It is essential that each sentence of a pair should be spoken in exactly the same way (e.g. with the same stress and intonation) apart from the one difference between them.


Which is which?

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: any (except younger children)

Group size: whole class

These drill-games are like those described under ‘The same or different’, but more is excepted of the learners. They do not simply have to decide whether the utterances are different or the same, but to identify them.

The presentation can be oral or both oral and visual.

Suppose the pupils can hear there is a difference between /i/ and /ı/ as in ‘You must leave there’ and ‘You must live there.’ Let’s call ‘leave’ (go away) A, says the teacher, and ‘live’ (live in a place) B. Now, listen. Which is this? ‘You must live there.’ Tom? Mary? Yes, it’s B. now what about this? And so on, with scoring of team points if necessary.

  Learners can take the teacher’s place if they are good enough, but must be supervised.

Responses can be either oral or written. If the responses is written, pupils write A or B or the words themselves.

For the sake of fun and to keep the class alert, introduce occasionally a sound which is neither of the two, even if the word in which it is put is non-existent, as in You must /lev/ there. Neither is the only acceptable response.

  If isolated words are being used, several can be given at once, the class being told, for instance, Write A if you hear the vowel sound of ‘bed’ (the thing you sleep in) and B if you hear the vowel sound of ‘bad’ (the opposite of good). Now – ‘set, set, sat, set.’ The answer should be A, A, B, and A.


Say what you mean

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: any

Group size: whole class

Here is a type of pronunciation game in which there is a very close link between sounds and meaning.

The teacher says, for instance, What do people sometimes wear on their heads? Hats. Right. Do they wear huts on their heads? Of course not. But some people live in huts. Where? Does anyone live in a hat? (There could be matchstick figures on the board of somebody wearing a hat and somebody sitting at the door of a hut, as well as ridiculous ones of somebody with a hut on his head and somebody sitting on a hat.) Now, listen. Tell me whether I am right or wrong. Some people live in hats…Some people live in huts…Some of us wear huts…and so on. Write R for right and W for wrong.


Likes and dislikes

Level: intermediate and advanced

Age: any (except young children)

Group size: whole class

This game can be adapted so that the ultimate focus of attention is a pronunciation point. Examples: X likes watches but he doesn’t like clocks; wheels but no bicycles or cars; windows but not doors; twilight but not dawn or dusk (i.e. he likes words containing /w/). Y likes veal but he doesn’t like meat; violets but not flowers; virtue but not goodness, volcanoes but not lava; lovers but not sweethearts (i.e. he likes words containing /v/.)

There is a semantic link between what is liked and what is disliked, and the listener’s attention first focused on the meaning, which is puzzling. For example, how is it possible that somebody can like wheels but not a bicycle?

This is the sort of game that cannot be played many times, perhaps only once within its field of reference (here pronunciation).

If the two sounds concerned are both included in the statement, the ‘solution’ will be found very quickly and the resulting ‘impact’ on the learner will be weaker. Examples: X likes wheels but he doesn’t like veal; watches but not violins. This is also more inconsequential, as the semantic link between the two items is not close.

In balanced activities approach, the teacher uses a variety of activities from these different categories of input and output. Learners at all proficiency levels, including beginners, benefit from this variety; it is more motivating, and it is also more likely to result in effective language learning.


Speaking/conversation games


Hotel Receptionist

Aims: Cooperation, team spirit, speaking skill, miming

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Time: 10-15minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: Students sit in the form of a reception desk. The teacher gives sentence to one person in the group, student reads and memorises. This student is the guest. The guest has lost his/her voice and must mime the problem or request to the collective receptionist. The receptionist aks questions to discover what the guest wants.

The language is limited so suitable for a renge of abilities- students gain confidence as they realise they are not performing to a potentially hostile audience but simply working together as one group.


Pairs interview

Aims: Speaking skill, asking questions, answering

Level: Pre-intermediate

Time: -

Organisation: Pairs

Procedure: This is useful at start of a course to help people get to know one another and to create a friendly working relationship. It also establishes the fact that speaking is an important part of a course right from the start.

Put the students into pairs. They should interview the other students, asking any question they wish, and nothing down interesting answers. When finished they introduce the person they interviewed to the rest of the class.

If you are concerned that the class may not have enough language to be able to ask questions, you could start the activity by eliciting a number of possible questions from the students.

Planning a holiday

Aims: Make decisions, Speaking skill, writing skill

Level: Pre-intermediate/Intermediate

Time: 20-30 minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: Collect together a number of advertisements or brochures advertising a holiday.

Explain to the students that we can all go on holiday together, but we must all agree on where we want to go. Divide the students into groups of three and give each group a selection of this material. Their task is to plan a holiday for the whole group (within a fixed budget per person). Allow them a good amount of time to read and select a holiday and then to prepare a presentation in which they attempt to persuade the rest of the class that they should choose this holiday. When they are ready, each group makes their presentation and the class discusses and chooses a holiday.


Back to back

Aims: Speaking skill, listening comprehension

Level: Beginners

Time: 10-20 minutes

Organization: Pairs

Procedure: The teacher should bring a tape recorder to the lesson. While the music is playing or the teacher is clapping, everybody walks around the room observing other’s people clothes, hairstyle. As soon as the music stops, each student pairs up with the person standing nearest and they stand back to back. Taking turns, each of them makes statements about the other’s appearance.

After a few minutes the music starts again and all partners separate. When the music stops a second time, the procedure is repeated with a different partner.


A day in the life

Aims: Speaking, writing skills

Level: Intermediate

Time: 10-15 minutes

Organization: Groups of four to students each

Procedure: The class is divided into groups. One member of each group leaves the room. The remaining group members decide on how the person who is outside spent the previous day. They draw up an exact time schedule from 8 am to 8 pm and describe where the person was, what he did, who he talked to.

The people who waited outside are called in and return to their groups. There they try to find out- by asking only yes/no questions- how the group thinks they spent the previous day. When each ‘victim’ has guessed his fictions day, the group tries to find what he really did.


Secret topic

Aims: Speaking skill

Level: Intermediate/ Advanced

Time: 15-20 minutes

Organisation: Pairs, class

Procedure: Two students agree on a topic they want to talk about without telling the others what it is. The two students start discussing their topic without mentioning it. The others listen. Anyone in the rest of the group who thinks he knows what they are talking about, joins in their conversation. When about a third or half of the class have joined in, the game is stopped.


Which job?

Aims: Speaking skill, logical explanation

Level: Intermediate

Time: 15-20 minutes

Organisation: Groups of six students

Procedure: The students work together in groups. Each group member writes down the ideal job for himself and for everybody else in the group. The job lists are read out and discussed in the groups. Students explain why they feel the ideal jobs suggested for them would/wouldn’t be ideal.



Aims: Speaking and writing skills

Level: Beginners

Time: 10-15 minutes

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: The teacher unites a list of names on the board. She asks the students to select the six personalities they would like to invite to their classroom to give a talk and rank them in order the preference. They write their choices in order on a piece of paper. All the papers are collected.

The list of the names:

  •                              William Shakespeare
  •                              Walt Disney
  •                              Cinderella
  •                              James Bond
  •                              Napoleon
  •                              Monet
  •                              Sting

    When the final list for the whole class has been completed, students who selected the most popular personalities are asked to explain their choice. Then at home they write down the questions what they will ask from them.


Our town

Aims: Describing a town, writing skill

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Time: -

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: Divide the class into groups. Give each group the task of describing one feature of their town. For example:

  • places of interest
  • good places to eat at
  • entertainment facilities
  • sports facilities
  • local industries, etc.

Each groups should write their description in such a way that the feature described sounds attractive to someone visiting the town. Each student should also make his own copy of the description.

Then form new groups, making sure that they contain at least one representative from each of the original groups, and ask them to write a full report on their town based on these descriptions. The report may be accompanied by a map showing the location of various places of interest, etc.


How do you feel?

Procedure: Tell the students to close their eyes; they might like to place their heads on their arms. Ask them to think about how they feel; they might think about their day so far, or about their previous lesson with you and what they remember of it, what they learnt and what their problems might have been. After a few minutes, students who are willing to do so can say what their feelings are.


Describing Appearances & Characteristics of People

Level: Easy to Medium (Low to low intermediate)

Each student is then give one sheet of paper. One student sits at the front of a room. He/she describes a person and the rest of the class draws the person being described.

It is more interesting if the person being described is known by everyone. Once the student has finished describing that person then he/she reveals who it is and each student shows his/her drawing. The laughter from this is hilarious as the impressions tend to make the character in question look funny.

It is a good idea to encourage students to ask the interviewee student questions about who they are describing.


Crazy Story

Level: Any Level

This is an activity that will make your students speak in class and be creative.

  • Ask students to write a word on a piece of paper and tell them not to show anyone. This word should be a verb (or whatever you'd like to rewiew).
  • The teacher starts telling a story, then stops and chooses a student.
  • That student will continue the story and must use his/her word. This student then chooses the next student to continue the story.
  • The last student must end the story.
  • After the story is over, the students then try to guess what words each student has written on his/her paper. The student who guesses the most words wins the game.


Suppose That

Level: Easy to Medium

This works well as a fluency activity

  1. You are the black sheep of your family. Explain to us why.
  2. You won a motorcycle and you are planning to embark on a voyage. Explain where you go.
  3. You arrive face to face with a person who you owe 100 dollars to. What do you say?
  4. You help an old woman across the street. It turns out that she is a magician. To thank you, she offers you four wishes. What do you ask for?
  5. You arrive home at midnight, you open the door and


Group Dialogue

Level: Any Level

Following a simple warm-up where each person must say a word associated with the word mentioned by the person before him or her, I have them repeat the same procedure but with complete sentences, as if it were a discussion between two people. For example: student 1, "Hi how are you Joe?"; student 2, "Oh pretty good Sue. How about you?"; student 3, " Well, not so good."; student 4, " Why not?", etc. The dialogue must procede in such a way that the last person concludes the discussion and they bid each other goodbye. You never know where the conversation will lead and it's excellent for listening, even without a point system!


Writing games


Something for everybody

Aims: Speaking and writing skills

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Time: 10-15 minutes

Organisation: Groups/class

Procedure: Imagine that you, that is all of you together, have 200 $ left over from a bargain sale you organised. You should now think of what you could do with the money so that everyone in the class is satisfied. First write down all the ideas you have without talking about them or commenting on them, then rank them. When you have found one suggestion you all agree with, present it to the class. The class then tries to agree on a common proposal by arguing and presenting reasons.


Writing a questionnaire

Aims: Writing skill, making a questionnaire

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: 10 minutes

Organisation: Pairs

Procedure: the students preferable working in pairs, write questionnaries which they can use to interview one or more other students in the class. Questionnaries can focus on specific topics and even particular items of language.

Find someone who?


Can play the piano


Is interested in fairy tales


Likes horror films


Has a brother and a sister


Always gets up early


Has a special pet



Writing puzzles

Aims: Writing skill, making sentences, answering correctly

Level: Beginner-Advanced

Time: 5-10 minutes

Organisation: Individuals/pairs

Procedure: The students working individually or in pairs. They should write one or more puzzles which they give to other students to answer.

What is it?

It lives on the tree. It is a small animal.

It jumps very quickly from one branch to another.

It eats nuts.


Writing jumbled texts

Aims: Writing skill, dialogue or short-story writing, sentence connection

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: 20-25 minutes

Organisation: Pairs/groups

Procedure: the students work in pairs or small groups to write a dialogue or a short story, which they then cut up into separate sentences and give to another pair or group to put together.

They met Little Red Riding Hood who has a small umbrella.

Suddenly the wolf ran out from a cave.

When they entered the forest, it began to rain.

It stops raining.

The children were trembled because they were afraid of the wolf.

And finally Jack and Jill, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf had a picnic in the middle of the forest.

Jack and Jill went to the forest to play hide-and-seek.


Book reports

Aims: Writing skill, reading skill

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Time: -

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: Ask each student to write a report on a book he has read. If there is a class library, he should choose book from this and place the report he has written inside the book for the guidance of prospective readers. If there is no class library, the book reports may be circulated among the students in the class in a folder. Similarly, the students may be asked to report on new records or on films they have seen.



Aims: Writing skill, correct usage of the language

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: -

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: Ask the students to write ads or notices for things which they would like to sell or buy. These should be pinned on the class notice board or circulated round the class in a folder. The notice board may also be used as the location for some of the activities.


Class wall sheet

Aims: Writing skill, team spirit

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: -

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: Ask each student to write a contribution for a class wall sheet- items of class news, items of general interest. Divide the class into three or four groups and ask them to edit the various contributions. They must also decide how these will be arranged on the wall sheet. These wall sheets, when completed, should be displayed for the other students to read.


Writing clues for crosswords

Aims: Writing skill, sentence making, imagination

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: 15-20 minutes

Organisation: Pairs/Groups

Procedure: For this the students, working in pairs or small groups, are given a crossword puzzle (perhaps made up by another groups). They then have to write the clues. The clues can consist of a series of sentences.


Instructions for a game

Aims: Writing skill, game-like learning

Level: Pre-intermediate

Time: 10 minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: For the single board game below, the students working in groups, can write their own instructions for moving round the board. For example:

  •                       If you can ride a bicycle, go forward 3 squares
  •                       If you got up before 9 o’clock, go back 2 squares
  •                       If you haven’t had breakfast, go back 4 squares

To play this game, the students take it in turns to throw a dice, moving round the board first from left to right, then right to left. When they land on a square, they look at the instructions to find out about their move. The first player to reach ‘home’ is the winner.











































Jumbled story

Aims: Writing skill, make up a story

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: 15-20 minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: The students, working in groups, have to write two short stories of about four to six sentences each. The stories can be about the same person or similar event. The stories are then cut up into separate sentences and given to another group to sort out into the two original stories.


Instructions for drawing a map or a picture

Aims: Writing skill, using of instructions, fun.

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: 15-20 minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: The students, working in groups, have to draw a simple map or picture. They then work out the step by step instructions for drawing these. They must decide how much detail they want to include. The groups then exchange instructions and try to draw one another’s pictures. As the final stage they check their pictures against the original ones. Then at home they can colour the pictures.



Aims: Writing skill, imagination

Level: Pre-intermediate

Time: 10 minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: Give each group one or more headlines. These can be invented or taken from real newspapers. Ask the students to discuss and write out the related story. At this level the students should not be asked to try to write a newspaper account of the story. The important thing is for them to use their imagination.  Real or imaginary book titles can also be used to stimulate a similar activity.


Cutting down texts

Procedure: Take a short text of up to about 30 words (it can be from your course book), and write it up on the board. Students suggest any section of one, two or three words that can be cut out, while still leaving a grammatically acceptable – though possibly ridiculous – text. Sections are eliminated for as long as it is possible to do so. For example:

 The princess was awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince.

The princess was awakened by the kiss of a prince.

The princess was awakened by a prince.

The princess was awakened.

The princess!


The students then try to reconstruct the original text.


Writing Idea

Level: Medium to Difficult

I asked my students to write in their daily journals what rules they would like to see implemented in our classroom and which rules they beleived would benefit our class the most. I then asked them to imagine how it would be if we had no rules in our class, in our school, and in the world. I asked them to weigh the pros and cons of this idea and write whether or not they would like to experience or live in this type of environment.


Warmer games

Picture difference

Aims: Find out the differences

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Time: 10 minutes

Organisation: Individuals/Pairs

Procedure: In pairs, one student is given picture A, one picture B. Without looking at the other picture they have to find the differences (ie by describing the pictures to each other).


Three adjectives

Aims: Speaking skill

Level: Intermediate

Time: 10-15 minutes

Organisation: Individuals, class

Procedure: On a piece of paper each student writes down three adjectives which he feels describe himself. All the papers are collected. The teacher reads out the papers one after the other. With each set of adjectives the group speculates who wrote them. The student concerned should be free to remain anonymous. Then each student is asked to write down three adjectives which characterise his state of mind.


Rules and regulations

Aims: Rules and regulations, comparison, writing skill

Level: Pre-intermediate-Advanced

Time: 5-10 minutes

Organisation: Groups

Procedure: Divide the class into groups and ask each group to draw up a list of rules and regulations to control a certain situation: for example, safety precautions (fire, hygiene, etc.) for a holiday camp. After each group has finished drawing up its list of rules and regulations, ask them to compare these with those of other groups. 


Don’t say yes or no

Procedure: One volunteer student stands in front of the class. The rest fire questions at him or her, with the aim of eliciting the answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The volunteer has to try to answer the questions truthfully without these words. This will mostly be through the use of ‘tag’ answers such as ‘I did’ or ‘She does not’. If the volunteer does say the forbidden words, he or she is ‘out’ and another is chosen. Give a time limit of one minute; if within that time the volunteer has not said ‘yes’ or ‘no’, he or she has won.


Finding the page

Procedure: Write up or dictate a series of words (possibly ones they have learnt recently). The students have to find each word in the dictionary and write down the number of the page where it appears. You, of course, have to do the same! How many of the words can they find the right pages for in three, four or five minutes?

The aim of the exercise – which the students should be made aware of – is to improve their speed and efficiency in finding words in the dictionary.


Numbers in my life

Procedure: Each student thinks of a number which is important in his or her life – a date, a telephone or house number, an age, or whatever. A volunteer writes his or her number on the board, and the others try to guess what it is and why it is important.


Odd one out

Procedure: Write six words on the board from one broad lexical set. For example:

 Chair  table  window cupboard  desk  shelf

Ask the students which word does not ‘belong’ to the others. Challenge the students to argue why this word is the ‘odd one out’. For example, a window is outside and inside a building and the other objects are all inside. Encourage students to argue that another word is the odd one out. One might say that chair is the odd one out because it is the only one that you normally sit on.


Use the dictionary

Procedure: Give a set of six to ten English words the students probably do not know yet. They find out the meanings of as many as they can from the dictionary within a given time: three minutes, for example. Check the meanings.

 This activity can be used to prepare the vocabulary they are going to meet in their next reading passage.


Bang Bang

Level: Easy

Divide the group into two teams. Explain that they are cowboys and they are involved in a duel. One student from each team comes to the front. Get them to pretend to draw their pistols. Say "how do you say..." and a word in their mother tongue. The first child to give the answer and then "bang bang", pretending to shoot his opponent is the winner. He remains standing and the other one sits down. I give 1 point for the right answer and 5 extra points if they manage to "kill" 4 opponents in a row.

Editor's Note: Instead of saying the word in the students' mother tongue, it would be possible to use a picture or to say a definition ("What do you call the large gray animal with a long nose?")

Paper Airplane Game

Level: Any Level

Draw a target (with points - like a dart board) on the white board or use a cardboard box in the middle of the room. Then, students make paper airplanes and launch them after they answer your question in the form of a sentence. I don't except my beginners/low intermediate students to form complete sentence so I help them to form correct sentences. To my surprise they will repeat the sentence several times (while I'm helping them) just so they can throw their airplane. For beginner and low intermediate classes, I recommend formulating questions that lead to 1 or 2 types of answers. This allows for better memorization. For example, use CAN/WILL questions and write the beginning part of the answer on the board "I can/will...".  I recommend giving a prize to make the target points mean something, thus peaking their interest.


Pictionary (Game 1) - revamp - Charades (Game 2)

Level: Any Level

Write out series of categories like professions (doctor, bus driver, etc.), animals, foods, actions (fishing, haircut, etc.) then divide the class into groups of 2. One student draws and the other guesses. Next turn, the guesser draws and drawer guesses. This game works best with the arbitrary stop watch (30 seconds). This is designed for one lesson.

Then for another day take the same categories (or create new ones) and play the same game except students, this time, act it out (no speaking or noises).


Can You Find What Is Different?

Level: Easy

Ask a volunteer to go out of the classroom. While the student is out of the room, the other students change their sweaters, shoes, coats and so on. Bring the student who went out of the classroom back inside. He/she has to guess the differences (speaking in English, of course.)


Alphabet Liar Game

Level: Any Level

  • Take a pack of letter cards, mixed up. It is better if it is not a complete alphabet, and there are some duplicate cards.
  • Deal all the cards out to the players
  • Students take it in turns to play cards face down. They must go through the alphabet, starting from 'A', playing one card face down and saying the letters in Alphabetical order.
  • Even if they do not have the card to be played for that turn, they must play any card and pretend it is the card they said. Say the sequence has gone A, B. The next player must play a card and say C, even if he has not got an C.
  • If any player does not believe that someone has played the real card, he can say: "You're a liar" and turns the card over. If the card has the letter which was said, the challenger picks up all the cards. If it is not, the liar picks up all the cards in the pile. The winner is the first one to finish all their cards.


What's Your Name?

Level: Easy (Raw beginners)

One student sits in the front of the classroom (usually in the teacher's comfortable chair) with his back to the other students. The teacher then points to students in the class and asks "What's your name?" The student indicated must respond "My name is__________" with either his own name or the name of someone in the class. The student in the front cannot see who is speaking. The teacher says to him, "Is it___________?" and he, must say "Yes, it is" or "No, it isn't". If the student in front is correct, he gets to stay there, but if he's mistaken, he changes place with the student who fooled him.


Good Morning Balls

Level: Any Level

  1. You have three different coloured balls, (they should be very light weight, samll balls).
  2. Get the class to make a circle.
  3. Then give three people a ball.
    • Red Ball - Good Morning
    • Green Ball- How are you?
    • Blue Ball - Fine thank you and you?
  4. The class members pass or gently throw the balls and the person who receives them says the meaning of the balls.



Level: Any Level

One person "writes" letters, words, numbers, shapes etc: in the air and others guess what it is. Can be done in pairs, as a group, along a chain. Can also be played as back-write, that is, writing the letter/word/... on the back of another and they guess what it is.



Level: Difficult

Size: for larger classes

Preparation: choose songs that are easy to understand and somewhat enjoyable.

1. Divide the students up into groups of 4-5 people.

2. Give each group a different song. Have them figure out all the words to the song. Make sure that not just one person is doing the work, but that it is a group effort.

3. Give them the entire class (one hour) to work on it. Next class, have them return to their groups to practice one time.

4. You then have the group as a whole, stand up and sing along with the recording.


Traffic Light Questions

Level: Any Level

This games works especially with adult students who are reluctant to speak about personal issues. Prepare three cards (a green, a yellow, and a red one) with six questions each. The questions on the green card are easy and not personal, and the ones on the red card are more difficult and personal. Each student throws a dice twice. The first time is to decide upon the color of the card (1 or 2 = green card; 3 or 4 = yellow card; 5 or 6 = red card) and the second time is to choose the question.

The Miming Game

Level: Any Level

This is a simple game which requires little preparation. Divide your students into groups of 2 people (there may be two groups or more). Give each group a sentence that includes grammar and/ or vocabulary already practised, and underline the words that should be guessed exactly. One of the students in the group has to mime the sentence and the other has to guess. Of course the other groups will also be allowd to guess, which will create competition.


Who am I?

Level: Any Level

You can use use this with any subject. Write the names of famous people (mixed nationalities) on small pieces of paper. Tape a name on the forehead of each student. The individual student should not see his or her paper, but the others should. Then, like with 20 questions, only yes or no questions should be asked. Perhaps start with yourself and ask "Am I am man?" If the answer is yes, I can ask again, but if the answer is no, it's the next person's turn. Play until everyone has guessed who he or she is! This can be played with nationalities, countries, household objects, anything and it's a gas, especially for adult students!


Guess the Object

Level: Any Level

The teacher prepares cutout pictures that are pasted or taped to index cards. One student selects a card and must describe it in English until another student can guess the object. This is very much like "20 Questions" but instead of the challenge being to ask questions, the bonus is on the cardholder to verbalize the description. The teacher should be careful to select pictures that reflect the vocabulary level of the students. Simple objects, like "baby", "door" or "car" are good for beginners. Later on, more complicated pictures that suggest actions, scenes and relationships could be used, like: "mother bathing child".


Twenty Questions

Level: Any Level

First one member of the class chooses an object, an occupation, or an action which ever you decide. Then members of the class try to discover what it is by asking questions which can be answered by "yes" or "no". For example, if the subject is "occupations" then the questions might be like these.

Do you work in the evenings?

Do you work alone?

Do you work outside?


Whispering Game

Level: Easy

Divide the class into two teams. Line up the players. If there’s an odd number of a player, one can be the teacher's "helper". The teacher or his helper whispers a message to the first person of both group A and group B. The game only starts when both players know the message. Then each player whispers the message to the next player in his group sucessively until the last player gets the message. The team which can repeat the message first and correctly receives a point. Start the game over with the second student of each group becoming the first ones in line.


Grammar games

Something else

Aims: Speaking skill

           Conditional sentences

Level: Intermediate

Time: 10-15 minutes

Organisation: Individuals

Procedure: The teacher explains the basic idea of the activity: “Suppose you weren’t you but something else entirely, eg: animal, musical instrument, colour, and city. Just think what you would like to be and why”


Comparing things

Procedure: Present the class with two different (preferably concrete) nouns, such as: an elephant and a pencil; the Prime Minister and a flower; a car and a person (preferably using vocabulary the class has recently learnt). Students suggest ways of comparing them. Usually it is best to define in what way you want them to compare, for example, by using comparatives:

 A pencil is thinner than an elephant.

Or by finding differences:

 The Prime Minister is noisy and a flower is silent.

Or similarities:

 Both a car and a person need fuel to keep them going.


Jumbled sentences

Procedure: Pick a sentence out of your coursebook, and write it up on the board with the words in jumbled order:

early the I week to during have to go sleep

The students work out and write down the original sentence:

 I have to go sleep early during the week or

 During the week I have to go to sleep early.

If there is time, give a series of similar sentences, and the students do as much as they can in the time. You can use activity to review a grammatical point, taking the sentences from a grammar exercise.


Match the adjectives

Procedure: Write three adjectives on the board. For example:

Important   dangerous   heavy

Ask the students to suggest things, which could be described by all three adjectives. For example:

 Student A: A car.

 Student B: A plane.

 Student C: An army.

 Student D: A printing machine.

In pairs, ask the students to jot down three adjectives and as many things as they can think of which those adjectives could describe. Take three adjectives chosen by one pair of students, write them on the board and ask the class to suggest things, which the words might describe. Compare and discuss the pair’s suggestions with those of the class.


Sentence starters

Procedure: Write on the board:

  Being young is…

Ask the students to call out what they think could be added to this sentence beginning. It there is time, ask the students to work with a neighbour, to select four of the lines, put them in order and then to find a fifth line which they feel makes the writing more like a poem. For example:

  Being young is being with friends.

  Being young is losing friends.

  Being young is taking examinations.

  Being young is wondering.


Classroom Rules: Must and Mustn't

Level: Easy to Medium

  • Prepare small pieces of paper each with either one thing students must do or one thing students must not do.
  • Tell the students that they are supposed to form sentences that explain classroom rules.
  • Divide the class into groups (of 4 if possible, so that everyone gets a chance to speak).
  • Give each group the pieces of paper.

The winning group, the group that finishes first, reads their sentences aloud. (Each student of the group reads one or two sentences depends on size of group.)

It's an easy game and the preparation does not take too much time. You can make as many rules as you wish.


Act Out an Activity

Level: Easy to Medium

This is a game-like activity to teach continous tense. One student simply acts out some activity (e.g.cooking) and the other students guess what that student is doing. The student who guesses correctly acts out another acitvity...


Reviewing Tenses

Level: Any Level


  • Print out three sentences (negative, positive, and question) of the tense you want to review.
  • Cut each sentence into words.

The Activity:

  • Students work in groups.
  • Give each group of students words of a sentence and ask them to make the sentence.
  • Draw a table on the board and ask students to tick sentences at suitable positiions, positive, negative, or question.
  • Ask students to make rules of the tense.


  • Three Sentences:
    • I am a student.
    • I am not a student.
    • Are you a student?
  • The Rules:
    • TO BE at the present simple
      I am a student.
    • Positive: S + am/is/are + O.
      I am not a student.
    • Negative: S + am/is/are + not + O.
      Are you a student?
    • Question: (Ques words) + am/ is /are + S + O?


Find Parts of Speech of Words in a Sentence

Level: Any Level

  • Prepaire cards with parts of speech. Give these to your students.
  • Write the sentences on the board.
  • Ask your studnets to find parts of speech of words in the sentences.
  • You can divide the class into teams to make the games more fun.

Example: Your sentence:

I        WENT       TO       SCHOOL   YESTERDAY.   

pronoun   verb   preposition    noun     noun


Ball Game

Level: Any Level

Students stand up in a circle around the teacher. A ball is tossed to a student and the teacher asks a question, e.g.: "Say a color". The student then responds and throws the ball back to the teacher. The teacher then throws the ball to another student and asks another question. For higher levels, you can ask such questions like "Give me the past participle of an irregular verb". This is a fast game, and it is great for reviewing vocabulary.


Acting Adverbs

Level: Easy to Medium

This activity is a great way to introduce the idea of how adverbs affect the way a verb action is done. Divide the blackboard in two and write as many verbs on one side and as many adverbs on the other as you can (get the class to come up with them). At this stage you can also teach how adjectives 'turn into' adverbs by writing down adjectives e.g. angry, happy, and adding the 'ily'. Then divide the class into two teams and perhaps give them goofy team names (I find they enjoy giving each other names). Then get one team to choose a verb and adverb combination and the other team has to act it out, e.g. talk crazily.


Prepositions Game

Level: Medium to Difficult

Prepare a text that contains prepositions. Take out the propositions and print them on a separate sheet, then cut this sheet so that each preposition is on a piece of paper, then put all of them in an envelope. Divide the class into groups and give each group an envelope. Tell the students that you are going to read a text and whenever you raise your hand they should bring a suitable preposition and put it on your desk and that the fastest team would get points. Read the text with each groups' order and cancel a point for each mistake. Finally read the text with correct prepositions. You can play this game with adj as well as a, the and an.


Associations Using the Subjunctive Mood

Level: Medium to Difficult

This game is very useful to teach the subjunctive mood. All your students take part in this game. One of the students goes out of the room. All the rest think of one student (he or she should be present). The student who went out of the room comes in and asks "If this person were a vegetable (fruit, sweet, animal, car, nature, flower, city etc) what vegetable (fruit, sweet, animal etc) would he be?" One of the students answers in a full sentence: "If he were an animal he would be a dog" for instance. After some questions and answers the student who is asking the questions should guess who it is and the game begins again with another student going out of the room.


Present Continuous Videos

Level: Any Level

I've used this activity in just about every class I've ever had, it's suitable for any age group and any level but the best thing about it is that it requires almost no preparation. You'll need a video. I usually use Mr Bean but anything will do as long as it isn't dialogue heavy and has a lot of action. The students will need a piece of paper and a pen. Arrange students in two rows and seat them back to back so that the video can be seen by one row (watchers) but not by the other (writers). Explain to the watchers that they are to describe the action taking place on the screen using the present continuous; they can also describe clothing, people, anything really but try to keep the focus on the action. The writers have to listen carefully to the watcher sitting behind them and write down as much information as they can. Keep this going for about five or ten minutes (or as long as a Mr Bean sketch) then get them to swap chairs and play a different sketch/segment for the new row of watchers. Put the students into two groups according to row. They must now pool their notes and create their own version of events.


Village Fair

Level: Easy to Medium

Aim: To practise interrogatives; suggestions; acceptance; refusal etc.

Each student decides what wares he is carrying to market to sell. Also what he wants to buy to take home.

Melee': Students move around classroom trying to sell their wares; haggling over prices, quantities etc.

They use language such as How about...?; Could you make that...?; That's a deal; No deal etc. End of 10 minutes all students report to rest of class what sales they made, what they couldn't sell and what they bought. Depending on the proficiency of the class, language help may be provided at the beginning.


Bingo! (with irregular verbs)

Level: Easy

The teacher prepares a 5x5 grid with 25 irregular verbs in the past tense in each square. Make enough variations of these grids so each student has one that is slightly (or very) different. The teacher then calls out the verbs in their present tense form until a student gets five in a diagonal or horizontal row. Bingo! While it may seem time-consuming to make the grids, they can be used over and over. This game is received very enthusiastically because often, students are already familiar with it. It is great as a warmup activity and can have many variations (past-participle, time of day, vocabulary).



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