79 Easy Classroom Games To Teach English
1- Alphabet Shout Out
Randomly choose an alphabet flashcard and award a point to the first student who shouts out a word beginning with that letter.
2- Alphabet Writing Relay
Divide and line up the students into two teams. Divide the board into two halves and have one student from each team run to the board, write ‘A’, then run to the back of the line. The next student writes ‘B’, etc. The first team to finish wins.
3- Alphabet Erase relay
As ‘Alphabet Writing Relay’, but this time, write the alphabet on each half of the board and have each team race to erase the letters in order.
Divide the students into teams and call out a letter of the alphabet. Award a point to the first team that can form the letter with their bodies.
Give each student an alphabet flashcard and have them skip around the room to the ‘ABC Song’. Stop the tape at random and have the students rush to line up in order, e.g. A-K.
Call out letters and have the students find and touch them in the classroom, on posters, etc.
Give each student a few ordered alphabet flashcards and play the ‘ABC Song’. Have the students hold up the cards that correspond to the letters they hear in the song.
Take a big dice and assign an animal to each number. Have the students roll the dice and act like the animal!
Throw the ball to a student and ask that student a question. The student answers and throws the ball to another student asking the same question. E.g. “Can you…?”, “Yes, I can. / No, I can’t.” “Do you like…?”, “Yes, I do. / No, I don’t.”
Have the students stand in a circle. Toss a balloon to one student and elicit vocabulary or a structure from that student. They must be able to tap the balloon in the air without missing the vocabulary or structure E.g. S1: “My name’s Miki. What’s your name?” (tap) “My name’s Hiro. What’s your name?” (tap).
11-Basic Flashcard Fun
The teacher simply holds up a flash card and elicits the answer from the students. This can be done in teams with points awarded for correct answers.
12-Beat The Clock
Time the students as they race to put alphabet, days of the week, or month flashcards in order. Have them try again to see if they can beat their fastest time.
Bingo can be used with any topic. Blank Bingo sheets can be used, and students can write of draw randomly in the boxes. The winner is the first student to cross out all the numbers/letters etc. on the sheet.
Arrange the class in a circle and choose one student to stand in the circle with a blindfold on. Spin the student and tell him/her to point. Tell the student to guess the name of the student he/she is pointing at by talking to him/her. E.g. “Hello. How are you? Do you like…?”
class room games
The object of the game is to be the first student to get rid of all his/her cards. Divide the students into small group and deal flashcards to each student. Player 1 chooses a card from his/her hand and throws it face down on the table saying, for example, “I have (a cat)”. Player 1 may be telling the truth or bluffing. If player 2 has a ‘cat’ in his/her hand then there’s a good chance player 1 is bluffing. Player 2 should say “No, you don’t”. If player 1 was bluffing, player 2 gives player 1 a penalty card from his/her hand. If player 1 was telling the truth then he/she gives player 2 a penalty card from his/her hand. Continue until one student is out of cards.
Pass a ball, object or a flash card around a circle of students. When the timer rings, the student holding the ball must answer a question, make a sentence or say a word.
Arrange the flash cards in a long line with starting and finishing points. Give each student a counter. The first student throws the dice and moves. The student must say the word on the flashcard he/she lands on. If the student makes a mistake, he/she goes back to his/her original place. Add colored paper between cards to represent ‘Take Another Turn’, and assign a crash number e.g. #4 on the dice which means the student must return to the beginning.
18-Catch The Fruit
Toss a piece of plastic fruit to a student and ask, “What is it?” Elicit and prompt the correct vocabulary. Gesture the student to throw it back to you and repeat with different fruit and students. For a variation see ‘The Ball’.
Divide and line up the class into two teams. The first student from each team comes to the front. The teacher whispers a word or shows a flashcard to the two students and they act it out. The first team to call out the correct word gets a point. E.g. sleeping, eating, playing soccer…
Play any music and have the students walk, skip, jump, hop, etc around the room randomly. Stop the music and call out a number between 1-8. The students must quickly get together in a group or groups of that number, and the odd students must sit out until the next round.
The teacher is the commando and gives commands to the class and/or individual students. This is a great energy burner as well as review of actions colors, numbers or anything else you can throw in. E.g. “Jump 10 times”, “Touch your (body part)”, “Touch (classroom object”, “Turn around”, “Stand up / Sit down”.
22-Concentration / Memory
Have the students sit in a circle. Spread out the flashcards (2 sets) face down. Students take turns flipping over two cards and saying the vocabulary. If the flashcards are a match, the student keeps the cards. If they are different, they remain face down. The student with the most pairs is the winner.
23- Conversation Relay
Line up the students in two teams and have the last student in each team tap the shoulder of the student in front and have a conversation E.g. “What’s you name?”, “How are you?”. The student answering then starts the same conversation with the student in front, and so on. When the conversation reaches the front, the student at the front must run to the back and continue the procedure. The first team to get all the students back in their original positions wins.
Students line up behind the teacher in a choo choo train line. Give commands such as “faster”, “slower”, “turn left”, and “stop”.
25-Dance Of The Ostriches
Pair up students and attach a flashcard to their backs. The object of the game is to look at the other student’s flash card and yell out the word before they see yours.
26-Draw It Relay
Divide the students into two teams. Whisper a flashcard to the first member of both teams and have them run to the board and draw the word as fast as possible. Award points to the fastest team.
27-Duck Duck Goose
Students sit in a circle and the teacher starts by walking round the outside of the circle tapping the students on the head saying “duck”. When the teacher says “goose” the student whose head was touched must jump up and chase the teacher round the circle. The teacher must sit down in the student’s spot before being tagged. If tagged, the teacher must continue tapping heads. If not, the student walks around the circle touching heads. It might be easier to use vocabulary like “cat, cat, dog” or similar, or even “duck, duck, dog” to practice awareness of ‘u’ vs ‘o’ and ‘g’ vs ‘ck’ sounds.
Have each student stand up one at a time and elicit from the class what he or she is wearing.
The teacher holds up a letter flashcard. The students must search around the room to find either a corresponding object/picture that begins with that letter or find that same letter written somewhere in the room. The purpose of this game is letter recognition. It can be played as a relay race with two teams racing to find the letters first.
Give the students various picture flashcards. Go through the ABC’s and instruct students to hold up the flashcards that begin with that letter.
31-Flash Card Act Out
Choose one or more students to come to the front. Show a flash card or whisper a word, and have the students act it out. Reward the first student to guess the correct answer. This can be used with many subjects (e.g. sports, actions, verbs, animals, etc.)
32-Flash Card Walk
Arrange the flashcards in a big circle. Play some music while the students walk around the circle. When the music stops, call out a flashcard, and the student standing next to the flashcard wins.
33-Follow The Leader
Students line up behind the teacher and follow the teacher’s actions. Use as a review for identifying and chorusing classroom objects or acting out actions. Give the students a chance to lead.
34- Go Fish
Have students choose two flashcards each. Have the students hold the flashcards face up but not to show anyone. Choose a student and ask “Do you have a cat?” If the answer is yes, they have to give you the flash card. Have each student ask other students questions. A student with no cards is out.
Use Lego. Spread out the Lego and call out “(Five!)”. The students should take five blocks, join them together to make a pattern and hold them up. Next say “two blue, one yellow” and other combinations to 5.
36-Grab It Relay / Race to Touch
Lay the flashcards on the floor at one end of the room, and have the students line up in teams at the other end of the room. Call out a flashcard and have the first person in each team race to grab the card. Those students then go to the back and the next students race to grab the next flashcard the teacher calls.
Use review words from past lessons. The teacher chooses a word and writes the appropriate number of spaces on the board. Students guess a letter one by one. If the student guesses correctly, write that letter in the space and give the student another turn. If they guess wrongly, start drawing a hanging man and have the next student guess a letter. Let the first student to guess the word take the teacher’s place. You may prefer to draw a hanging spider (Spiderman?) instead.
Play like ‘Pass It’ using a time limit for added motivation. Set the timer for 10 seconds. When the timer goes off, the student holding the flashcard must say the vocabulary / structure.
The teacher says “I spy with my little eye something beginning with G”. Students try to guess the object (E.g. garbage can). Use classroom objects and with younger students use colors rather than letters e.g. “I spy with my little eye something (red).”
40-I’ve Got It
Have students sit in a circle. Give each student a flashcard or item. Ask “What is it?” and elicit the vocabulary. Call out the vocabulary and have the students stand up and say the flash card. Repeat until all the students are standing, then continue until all the students are sitting. Go at a fast pace so the students are sitting and standing rapidly.
41-Jumping The Line
Put a piece of tape across the middle of the floor or draw an imaginary line dividing the room. Designate ones side as ‘true’ and the other side as ‘false’. Line up the students on the line, hold up a flashcard and say a word. If the students think you said the word that matches the flashcard, they should jump to the ‘true’ side, otherwise they should jump to the ‘false’ side. Students who make a mistake should sit out until the next round.
Spread Lego on the floor and call a color for the students to pick up. Continue until all the colors have been called. Allow the students to play with the blocks for a few minutes before packing up. While the students are playing, talk to them about what they’re making and the colors they’re using.
43-Letter To Word Match
Give each student an alphabet flashcard, and spread alphabet picture cards randomly around the room. Play and sing the ‘ABC Song’. When finished, have the students match their alphabet card to an alphabet picture card and say the letter and vocabulary. Change cards and repeat.
44-Listen and Order
Put the students into pairs and give them number cards (1-10). Call out numbers (out of order) and have the students put their cards in that order. When finished, have the students chant the numbers in the order you gave them.
Print a letter of the alphabet on the board. Instruct the students to stand and face the board. Raise your ‘magic finger’ and trace the letter in the air. Be silly and use other parts of your body to trace the letter, e.g. elbow, foot, nose, tongue.
46-Make A Sentence
Put the students into teams and lay out a selection of flashcards or items. One student from each team chooses a vocabulary item and uses it correctly in a sentence. Give each student ten seconds on the timer. Reduce the time in the second and third round. As the item is named, the teacher puts it away and gives the team a point. Write the points on the whiteboard.
Use a world map and elicit “Where are you from?”, “Where do you live?”, “Where do people speak Spanish?”, “Where’s China?”, and any other questions you can think of. Also show and tell the students about where you are from.
Have the students sit in a circle and start building a sentence. Student 1 says “In the classroom, I see a clock”, student 2 says “In the classroom, I see a clock and a map”, student 3 says “In the classroom I see a clock, a map and a chair” etc. For a variation, see ‘Question Chain’.
Have the students sit in a circle. Designate one student to be the Memory Master. Arrange the flashcards face up in the center. Each student chooses a flashcard and says the word. They cannot touch the flashcards. After everyone has chosen, the Memory Master must hand the correct flash cards to each student.
Bring in a tray of various review or new objects. Elicit the names of the objects and give the students a minute to memorize what’s on the tray. Take the tray away and see how many objects can be remembered. Older students should write a list of objects. The student who remembers the most objects gets a point. Can be done with flashcards.
Line up the chairs and place a flashcard on each one. Play some music and have the students walk, skip, jump around the chairs. When the music stops, the students should sit down on a chair and shout out their flash cards. For more excitement remove a chair while the music is playing and make the chair-less student sit out until the next round.
Select three soft objects. Assign object#1 the question “Do you want some milk?”, assign object#2 the response “Yes, I do.” And object#3, “No, I don’t”. Toss each object to a student and have them use the appropriate phrase. Then they toss the objects to different students.
54-On My Back
Line up the students in two teams and have them face the front. Show an alphabet flashcard to the student at the back of each line and have them use their finger to draw the letter on the back of the student in front. The next student draws on the next student and so on. The student at the front of each line then writes the letter on the board.
55-Paper Airplane Contest
Give students a couple of minutes to make an airplane and one minute to test them. Divide the students into two teams and have the teams stand at the back of the room. Ask a student a question and if the answer is correct that student gets a throw. Assign points to different objects in the room (white board = 10pts., far wall = 15pts., etc.). Each student should be asked a question and teammates can help if needed.
Have the students sit in a circle. The teacher holds up a flashcard or object (e.g. ball, pen, eraser, etc.), says the word and passes it to the next student. That student holds up the card/object and says the vocabulary and passes it on. After a couple of rounds start the flash cards/objects going in the opposite direction. Also try a speed round.
57-Pass The Secret
Have the students sit in a circle. Show them that they have to whisper to the person next to them. Start the secret by whispering it to the student next to you, e.g. “It’s Windy.” Have the students pass the secret around the circle. The last student says the secret out loud. Compare how close it is to the original secret. If necessary, write the original secret on the board.
Have a student come up to the front and show him/her a flashcard. That student should draw it on the board. The first student to guess the picture gets a point. This can also be played in teams.
Have the students sit in a circle. The teachers starts by asking the student on the right a question. That student must answer the question and ask the next student the same question. Go round the class then change the question. For a variation, see ‘The Bomb’.
Cover a flashcard and quickly show it so the students get just a quick peek. Reward the student who can guess it correctly.
61-Run And Get It
Divide the class into two teams and have them stand in two lines facing each other. Assign each team member a number from one to four. Place a few flashcards in the middle of the two teams. Call a number and a flashcard, e.g. “Student three – rabbit”. The students assigned that number must run into the center and touch the flashcard and shout “rabbit”. The member who touched and called first can take the flashcard to their side.
Write a selection of letters on the board. Explain to the students that they have to make up as many words as possible from the given letters. Model one or two examples on the board for them. Give them a time limit.
63-Ship In The Fog
Make an obstacle course, put a blindfold on a student and have the other students verbally help him or her through the course. For example: Take 2 steps, turn left, one small step, etc.
This is a popular Japanese game. Have everyone sit in a circle. The teacher says a word and each student must add a word that begins with the last letter of the word just spoken e.g. apple-egg-girl-lion-neck-etc.
65-Shoot The Basket
This can be done in teams or individually. Ask a student a question and if the student answers correctly then he/she gets a shot at the basket. Variations include rolling a ball between ‘posts’, throwing a ball to knock a stuffed animal off a box, bouncing a ball into a bucket, etc. Award points.
Use plastic fruits, vegetables or corresponding flashcards. Gather the students around you and let them ask for what they want using a dialog such as: “What do you you want?”, “An apple, please.”, “Here you are.”, “Thank you.”, “You’re welcome.” Then the teacher calls back the objects from the students, “Apple, please”. Then the students put the fruit back into the basket.
Play Simon Says as a review using “touch” body parts, classroom objects, etc., or with actions. E.g. “Simon says touch your toes” = Students touch their toes. “Touch your eyes” = Students don’t move. When a student makes a mistake, he/she must sit out until the next round.
Have the students sit in a circle with their hands on their heads. Spread the flashcards face up in the middle. The teacher calls out a flash card and the students race to touch it. The first student to touch it gets to keep the flashcard. In the case of a tie, have the students ‘Rock, Scissors, Paper’.
Put a flashcard in a bag or behind something. Pull it out very slowly showing only the top part of the picture at a time. Reward the first student who can guess it correctly.
This can be done with the whole class or in two teams. The first player on team one is given a word to spell orally. The teacher writes the letters on the board as they are spelled out loud. If correct, the team gets a point. If you do a class competition, line the students up and give them words one by one. When they make a mistake they must sit down. The last student standing is the winner.
Put a name or word on the board and have teams or individuals make as many words as possible from those letters, e.g. Brad Pitt = bat, rat, bad, at, etc.
72-Spin The Bottle
Use the bottle to ask each student questions. The teacher spins the bottle and asks the student it points to a question. First ask basic warm-up questions and then move on to target structures or review structures.
Students stand in a circle and chorus counting from 1-10. Instruct the students to each call out one, two or three of the numbers in numerical order. The student who calls out ‘ten’ must sit down. Continue until only one student is standing. That student wins the game. E.g. “one, two”, “three, four, five”, “six”, “seven, eight, nine”, “ten (sits down)”, “one”….. Try playing it backwards as an extra challenge.
Give a topic, e.g. fruit. The students must run around the room trying to avoid the teacher’s tag. If the student is tagged, he/she has five seconds to name a fruit. If no fruit can be named or the fruit has already been said, that student should sit out until the next round.
Order the students to touch various objects around the classroom e.g. “Touch your book”, “Touch something red”.
76-Vocab with Rock, Scissors, Paper
Lay the flashcards in a straight line on the floor. Assign two teams and have them line up at each end of the flashcard line. When you say ‘Go’ the first member from each team starts to walk from their end of the line, straddling the flashcards, reading the vocabulary out loud as they walk. When the two students meet they have to Rock, Scissors, Paper, the losing student goes to the back of his/her line and the winning student continues along the flashcard line. The second student from the losing team starts walking and reading the vocabulary until the two students meet and Rock, Scissors, Paper, and so on. Give points for reaching the opposite end of the line.
Scatter 8-10 flashcards face up on the table. Give the students a minute to look at them, then have them close their eyes and take away one flashcard. Tell the students to open their eyes and ask, “What’s missing?”. Reward the student that guesses correctly.
78-What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?
Have the students line up against the back wall. The teacher should stand with his/her back turned to the class. The students must ask the teacher “What time is it, Mr. Wolf (or teacher’s name if easier)?”. The teacher answers with a random time, e.g. “It’s four o’clock” – the students take four steps toward the teacher. The students should move the corresponding number of steps. If the teacher says “It’s lunch time!”, the students must run to safety at the back wall. The teacher chases the students and if tagged, the student must sit out until the next round.
79-Who’s Got What?
Have the students sit in a circle and secretly pass a few objects or flashcards from hand to hand under the table or behind their backs. Say, “Stop”, and ask “Who has the (apple)?” The students should point to who they think has the (apple) and say “He/She does.” The first student to guess correctly should be rewarded.