7 Have/Have Got Games For Young Learners

By Alex Case
Active and exciting games for talking about possession.

The example sentences below are all for the more common British English spoken form “have got”, but it is arguable that it is better to stick to “have”, and all the games below work just as well with that form.

1. Grab and guess

I’ve only played this game with young learners but it could also work with a particularly lively group of low-level teenagers or adults. Dump a whole load of objects or flashcards between the students, e.g. on tables with four to eight students on each or on the floor in the middle of a circle of students. When the teacher says “Go”, the students grab one or more things each while also trying to spot where the other things go. Students can then try to get things off other students by asking “Have you got an eraser?” and “Have you got (a picture of) an elephant?”, getting that thing and one point if the answer is “Yes”. With even livelier classes, students could run off at the same time to grab things from anywhere in the classroom and then sit down and try to hide them.

2. Pass and guess

This is like a variation on the game above, and in fact can start with a grabbing stage, but is one I have also successfully used with fun-minded older learners. Students try to pass objects or small flashcards around a circle without the person or people watching keeping track of where they are. When the teacher says “Stop”, the person or people watching can try to guess where the things are with “Have you got a pencil?” or “He/She has got a (picture of) a cooker”. The game can be played with one or more people in the middle of the circle watching where the things go or everyone trying to pass and watch where things are going at the same time.

3. I’ve got cabbages

This is like the opposite of the games above, in that students are tested on what they themselves have and lose anything that they can’t remember. The most fun way is to give students objects like plastic fruit as rewards (e.g. for guessing what the object is from its description) or punishments (e.g. touching the wrong thing when running around the room), then occasionally test them on their memory of everything they are holding. The same thing can be done with flashcards by students keeping all their cards face down on the table as they get them and occasionally holding them up so that others can see them but they can’t so that the teacher and/or students can test them with questions like “Have you got a butcher?” and “What sea creatures have you got?”

4. Happy families

This is a common card game that is easily adaptable for this language point. Prepare cards with at least four categories, e.g. some foods, colours, numbers and body parts. Deal out the cards and tell students how many cards they need (e.g. three) to have a set that they can lay down on the table and get a point for. After laying down any sets they already have with statements like “I’ve got three colours”, students ask each other questions like “Have you got any foods?” and/or “Have you got apples?” to get cards they need to make sets. This also works fine with adults as long as the cards and topics are more serious than toys etc.

5. Guess who

Prepare a worksheet with at least six (true or imaginary) people on, each one with a list or pictures of things that could describe them with “have got” such as blue eyes, two sisters, a BMX and their own house. Most things should be true of more than one person. Students choose one person from the list each and take turns asking each other “Has he/she got…?” questions until they guess which person their partner chose. This also works with low level adults.

6. I have got chains

Students sit in a circle and take turns repeating the previous people’s “have got” sentences and adding one themselves, e.g. “Juan has got a twin brother, Stefano has got lots of baseball gloves and I have got a pet turtle.” When anyone makes a mistake, everyone else who has already spoken gets one point and the game starts again from zero.

7. Multicoloured Swapshop

Like in the old British kids’ television show, students must find things that their partner have that they want and then try to find something that they have that they’d like to swap for that thing, e.g. “Have you got a teddy bear?” “Yes, I have” “Great! I’ve got three PC games. Do you want to swap?” These can be real objects that they have at home, or flashcards or realia that they have been given.

Written by Alex Case for Teflnet April 2013
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
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