TEFL.net : ESL Lesson Plans : Classroom Ideas : Games


Ideas on how to have fun with your students

10 Tips for Games in the ESL Classroom
From the creator of the world’s best-selling ESL board game—ten practical ideas on using games when teaching English

How To Use Running Dictations in EFL Classes
How to make sure one of the best physical activities ever really works.

Creating Games for TEFL Classes
Creating your own games based on language points you cover in class.

How to Use the Game Stations in EFL Classes
How to make an incredibly fun running-around game also incredibly useful.

7 This/That/These/Those Games
Moving beyond “This is a pen” in fun ways. For young learners.

Physical Games To Practise A/An
TPR games for the difference between “a” and “an”.

7 Have/Have Got Games For Young Learners
Active and exciting games for talking about possession.

7 Games For Have/Have Got
Fun activities for “I have…”, “He has…”, “Have you got…?” etc, most of which also work well in adult beginner classes.

Fun Oral Practice Of Future Continuous Tense
Pairwork and groupwork for will + be + v +ing

7 Future Continuous Games
Fun spoken practice of will+be+verb+ing.

Speaking Activities For Present Perfect With Unfinished Times
Fun oral activities for a use of Present Perfect that controlled practice is particularly important for.

Playing With Our Word Bag
Games and fun activities for revising vocabulary chosen by your students.

10 Present Perfect For Experiences Activities
Speaking activities for the simplest use of has/have + past participle.

Interactive Practice For Present Continuous For Arrangements
Ways of practising the future meaning of Present Continuous For Arrangements through students speaking and writing to each other.

Continuous Aspect Activities
Ways of combining the Present Continuous, Past Continuous and Future Continuous so that students can get a feel for the links between those three tenses.

Fun 1st Conditional Practice
Stimulating ways of practising “If + Present Simple, Will” sentences in the classroom.

Games To Practise Dates
Fun ways to practise the surprisingly tricky topic of saying years, months and days.

Adverbs Of Frequency Games
Motivating activities to practise expressions like “once a week” and “hardly ever”.

15 zero-preparation games with scrap paper
Sheets of paper that you would otherwise throw away can be the most adaptable resource for classroom games. This article gives 15 ideas for using whole pieces of scrap paper.

15 no-prep games with just little scraps of paper
One of the most flexible and useful resources in the classroom are bits of scrap paper.

35 Present Perfect Simple & Continuous games
An array of fun classroom games to help your students understand the difference between present perfect continuous and present perfect simple.

Picture dictionary games and activities
Successful ideas for using picture dictionaries for fun activities with your students.

Problems, solutions and variations with hangman in EFL
Hangman is a game in which students try to guess what letters are in the word before a complete picture of their man getting hanged appears, with one element of the man and scaffold being added for each time they choose a letter that isn’t in the word. It is popular with native speaker children, […]

Speaking games for (false) beginners
Many teachers seem to think that using games in very low level classes is almost impossible, and the lack of photocopiable materials and game ideas for students under Elementary in books and online reinforces this impression. The same is true for ideas on how to bring speaking and pairwork into a class for beginners. Not […]

24 defining and non-defining relative clause games
1. Trivia sentence building challenge Give or brainstorm a list of things that trivia questions are often about, e.g. the Amazon, the Statue of Liberty and Einstein. Students should choose one of the things from the list and say something true about that thing or person, e.g. “The Amazon is in South America”. Their partner […]

23 uses for pelmanism and SNAP
Pelmanism (also known as “pairs” or “the memory game”) is one of the most versatile games in TEFL and can be used for almost any grammar or vocabulary point. The game basically consists of spreading a pack of cards face down across the table and trying to find pairs of cards that match up. See […]

32 variations on pelmanism
Pelmanism (also known as “pairs” or “the memory game”) is one of the most adaptable games in English teaching, and is just as good for adults as it is for children as young as four. Many uses for it are given in other articles on TEFL.net. Students are given a pack of cards that they […]

Countable and uncountable noun games
1. Picture difference Students ask each other “Is there any milk?” or “Are there any sandwiches?” to find the differences in their pictures. This is best done with photocopies of drawings which have been changed with tippex and pen, but is also possible with two completely different pictures from magazines. A variation that works well […]

Variations on the Clap Clap Clap game
This is a nice game that can be used with classes of four year olds and also anyone up to adults. The whole class claps three times and on the fourth beat the person whose turn it is must say a word in the category selected that no one has said before, without pausing too […]

Variations on Change Chairs If
Change Chairs If is a great game for approximately 4 to 12 year old kids (plus older students who are up for fast physical games). Students sit on chairs in a circle with one chair less than people in the class or group. The person left standing up, e.g. the teacher, then gives a description […]

Yet another 15 games for Reported Speech
1. Reporting the whole course Students report something someone in the class (including the teacher) said, and the other students try to guess or remember who said it. This is nice near the end of a course or as part of a revision lesson. 2. Tell on his errors Students watch a segment of a […]

15 variations on Grammar Reversi
Grammar Reversi is a game first described, I believe, in More Grammar Games by Paul Davis and Mario Rinvolucri and that I have used in almost every adult and teenage course I’ve had since discovering it. It is a variation of the game Othello, redesigned for language practice. The original game, Othello, is similar to […]

More Reported Speech games
I always used to get stuck for interesting games that involved Reported Speech and so tended to skip through that unit of the book quite quickly and then spend far too much time on the First Conditional just because it is so much fun. Not anymore! After sitting down for some serious brainstorming the last […]

Q and A personalisation games
Getting students talking about themselves to each other is a great way of making them take interest in classroom communication and showing them that the language is something they can use in their own lives. There is also evidence that connecting language with your own experience is a good way of making it easier to […]

Fun ways of practising Reported Speech
Alex Case offers 15 ideas for getting learners to use indirect speech

15 more fun ways to practise the Past Perfect
1. The Time is Right! This is based on the television quiz show “The Price is Right” in which contestants see how close they can get to the real price of a product without going under. A student gives an event or a number of times they had done something before a certain (unstated) time, and […]

15 fun ways of practising the Past Perfect
1. Fairytale dominoes This is a game from Intermediate Communication Games that can easily be played without access to the book. Students continue a story by choosing from pictures that they have spread out on the table in front of them, continuing until they bring the story to a conclusion with the very last picture. To […]

15 board game variations
Board games, especially the classic version of tossing a coin and then answering the question in the square you land on, have been the saving of many a tired teacher or bored class over the years, so much so that the students might have had one from each teacher for several years or teachers might […]

15 variations on a grammar auction
Grammar auctions (students bidding for the right to say whether a sentence is right or wrong and/ or correct it, doubling the money they bid if they are right and losing that money if they are wrong) make correcting errors fun and are therefore one of the most popular games in TEFL. Unfortunately, this can […]

15 typical textbook activities you can personalize
Below is a list of ideas on how you can bring personalization into classes where you are using typical textbook activities such as gapfills. The tasks mentioned can be done instead of the task given in the book (sometimes the textbook exercise will need rewriting in order to make this possible), as a warmer/ lead-in […]

15 games for the language of likes and dislikes
1. Likes and dislikes mimes Students mime whole sentences about likes and dislikes, e.g. miming “I hate tea” by showing picking up a cup from a saucer, sipping, and looking disgusted and maybe spitting it out. The game can be personalized by students only being given a single word or picture clue and miming their […]

15 classroom language games
Using English and avoiding L1 for instruction language and common questions in the classroom is absolutely vital if you want students to use English every day and realise that what you are teaching them is relevant to their lives. Below are 15 games to practise this kind of useful

15 fun ways to score points
Giving students points in class has so many benefits in terms of motivation and classroom control that some teachers of kids and even adults use games and other activities with points in almost every class

15 fun gapfill task games
1. Musical gapfills Give the students the lyrics of a song with some words blanked out. It is best if those are words they can guess through rhyme, collocation, logic or

15 variations on Find Someone Who and mingling games
“Find Someone Who”, in which students stand up and walk around asking questions to match people to information they have been given, is one of the most popular TEFL games as it is a good excuse to get students up and moving around, and so

15 best drawing games
1. Pictionary Students are given a word or sentence and have to draw it until their partners guess what they are drawing.

15 best TEFL games with miming/ TPR
Miming is used in almost every English language class, if only as a warmer or when a teacher is trying to explain or elicit language. However, the positive elements of waking people up with movement, making them aware the use of gestures for communication, an easy activity for students who have difficulty speaking etc. can […]