15 Fun Games for the Present Continuous

By Alex Case
From miming to brainstorming, from searching to racing. Great games for Present Continuous

1. Present Continuous Mimes
Students mime whole Present Continuous sentences until the other students say the whole correct sentence. It is important they don’t stop until people guess to give the idea of an action in progress.

2. What am I (doing)?
Students mime different actions you can do with one object . Their partners describe each activity they are doing until they guess what the object is.

3. Present Continuous Noises
In this variation on Mimes, students make noises with their mouth (e.g. “You are snoring”), impressions of other sounds with their mouths (”You are sawing”) or with objects in the classroom (”You are opening and closing the cassette recorder”).

4. Present Continuous Pictionary
Similar to Mimes and Noises above, students try to guess which Present Continuous sentence someone is drawing on the board, e.g. a picture of “The man is throwing a javelin”. Students can either race to draw an identifiable picture as quickly as possible, or draw very slowly to make guessing more difficult.

5. Who is doing?
In this variation on Mimes or Noises, students test each other on which people in the class are doing various things, with the person answering having to close their eyes.

6. Present continuous brainstorming
Students compete to say or write as many things that are going on in the classroom, out the window or in a picture (e.g. Where’s Wally/ Waldo) as possible.

7. Present Continuous drawing race
Students race to draw a picture of a Present Continuous sentence they hear or read, e.g. “Two men are dancing on a table”. Give points for the first one that matches the description and/ or the best picture.

8. Present Continuous magazine search
Students race to find a picture matching the Present Continuous sentence they hear as quickly as possible, e.g. “A man is wearing sunglasses” or “Some animals are running”. This can be done with students have the same or different magazines; with flashcards, photos or other loose pictures; or with pictures in the textbook.

9. Present Continuous not getting through
Students try to give as many different excuses as they can why the person calling can’t speak to the person they want to, e.g. “He is meeting a client” or “He is flying to New York in 5 minutes”. This can be used for present and/ or future uses of the Present Continuous tense.

10. Present Continuous diaries
Students try to find a gap in their diaries when they can meet. This can be done with real diaries, real diaries with imaginary arrangements added to fill it up and make the activity more challenging, or with roleplay diary pages. It can also be done as a mingling task, or as emailing or telephoning practice.

11. Present Continuous diary differences
In an easier but less realistic task than Present Continuous Diaries, students are given two slightly different diary or schedule pages and have to find the differences between them by asking and answering questions with the Present Continuous for future arrangements.

12. Present Continuous time zones
A student secretly chooses a country and describes what (most/some/a few) people in that country are doing now until someone guesses where it is. A map with time zones drawn on can help for this.

13. Guess the family member
In a similar way to Time Zones, students describe what one of their family members is (maybe) doing now until the others students guess what the relationship is. To make it more challenging, they can start off with vague clues (”This person is breathing”) and the people guessing can have a limited number of guesses.

14. We are doing a video
Students watch a video and shout out if they see anything that is exactly the same as what is written on their worksheet or the whiteboard, e.g. “Mr Bean is putting his head into a turkey”. This can be combined with practice of typical confusions by some of the sentences being slightly different from what’s on screen (”…into a chicken”).

15. Picture dictation
Students describe action pictures to each other, and try to draw them from the description, changing them if they are not quite right, e.g. “No, the man is kicking with his left foot, not his right foot”

Written by Alex Case for Tefl.NET March 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
© Tefl.NET


  • Alex Case says:

    I definitely wouldn’t teach Past Continuous to A1 level learners, but my ideas in the link given by the editor just below will work for A2 to B1 and maybe B2 level learners.

  • Editor says:


  • Dorothy says:

    Hello, I am new at this site. Please can you tell me where I can find this kind of information of Past Continuous? English Level A1-A2. Thank you.

  • Gary says:

    You can practice using the Present Continuous tense and other tenses on websites like https://typeng.com. It’s a free online simulator that provides exercises and helps you improve your English grammar skills.

  • Ola says:

    Refreshing ideas:) Perfect job. Thank you.

  • Manal says:

    this was helpful

  • rupal shah says:

    Thank you, very creative.

  • Alex Case says:

    The link I gave earlier is broken and my worksheets on this grammar point are now here: https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/worksheets/grammar/present-tenses/pres-cont-worksheets/

  • Laura says:

    Loved all the ideas, it was a great source of things to do with them. The best part is that it has activated my creativity and now I am going to use them in every Present continuous lesson. Thanks, thanks, thanks.


  • Zainap says:

    Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it very much. I will definitely try out these games.

  • fawaz says:

    thank you

  • Shailesh says:

    It is a good time for learning to

  • Anoma says:

    Great job , I will try some of these and I will tell you the progress . Thanks for sharing

  • Marcia Díaz says:

    thank you you are amazing!

  • Kerry says:

    Six years later…
    Thank you for these great ideas.

  • mike says:

    really good games, I did the pres. cont. race in a pretty low level class and they understood it well for the most part, I will come back and use these ideas in the future, thanks a bunch!

  • VIVI says:

    Hi Alex your games are creativity are really fun, I used a picture that they made in teams in which they describe it using the present continuous and their imagination. The ss. learn and got fun too. thanks a lot.
    Rgds, Vivi

  • Marketa says:

    Hi Alex, I played Pictionary with the kids today. It was focused on questions and short answers. They had to ask the drawer – Is he playing the guitar? Are they singing? etc. It was such a great fun!! Thanks a lot for the idea.

  • Tania says:

    All games are fantastic!! I love them :) as well as my lerners,
    Thank you very very much:)

  • Heliana says:

    Thank you for sharing! These games ideas are great!

  • Alex Case says:

    Hi Lam

    Tefl.NET isn’t my website, I just like publishing things here (and anyone can do so!) Glad you liked my ideas though

  • Lam says:

    Thanks Alex Case, The website you give is very great.

  • lucy locket says:

    these are a great help! im sure my 8 year olds will love them! thanks for sharing!

  • Ky Sarin says:

    These fifteen games are very amusing and interesting, wow!

  • Alex Case says:

    Many Present Continuous worksheets here, some of which contrast with Present Simple:


  • DIEGO says:

    Great games I totally agree with the rest

  • saleh says:

    this is a good idea

  • linh says:

    these games are so cute. Thanks a lot for your sharing ^^

  • Alex Case says:

    Hi Corina

    How did they go?

  • corina says:

    these games are great!!
    then i will tell you how it result in my classroom…thanks

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