ESL Game

ESL Game, Some have used "Settlers of Catan" or "China" in the English classroom. Though these are not specifically designed for teaching English.

Activities you can do in the Classroom

If you are in a teaching rut, or you just want to liven up your teaching there are some great games. One game I like to use in junior high and children`s classes is typhoon. It isn`t my creation. I think this game has been around for a long time.

Again, even some activities not designed for teaching EFL, can be used with some tweaking. Age of Steam (pictured) has been used by some teachers.

ESL Game - Typhoon

You draw a grid on the board on the top you have the following:







Within this grid you write different numbers for all 25 spaces, and T for typhoon. I usually have T in the grid three times or more--it makes for a topsy turvy, roller coaster of a game.

Teams take turns answering whatever questions you want to ask, (to test or reinforce) whatever English aspect you are teaching.

My junior high classes need to review Have you___________? questions and answers. So I might start by having them brainstorm Have you____________? questions in pairs or small groups, then have one of the pair or group persons come to the board and write 2 or 3 Have you________? questions. Then, I would have everyone copy down the questions. Then get them to find a partner, and ask the questions in pairs. Then I might follow this up with typhoon to reinforce it. I might ask Have you_____? questions to the students or better still have one team ask the other team a Have you__________? question. If the answer is correct or reasonable, they get to choose a space on the typhoon board (grid).

If the space says 25, their team scores 25 points. If they choose a space with a T, their team loses all their points. This game is not suitable for young children or children who take these kinds of competitive games too seriously. Losing all your teams points when you are five years old can be quite traumatic. However junior high - adults love this game. So do most elementary school aged children.

esl game: Check out GenkiEnglish for more great junior high activities!

Pictured above: Ten Days in Asia a game we use in some of our junior high and children`s classes

ESL Game -- The Keyword Game

You can do this game in your children`s classes and junior high students love it too! You teach the students one keyword in a theme for example vegetables. You should probably do this with picture cards. Let`s say your keyword is: "carrot."

Put the students into pairs with something on the table between them they can grab easily--a ball of paper, an eraser, or something small that they won`t hurt their hands by grabbing quickly.

They can sit side by side or facing each other. Tell them to put their hands on their heads.

Start saying different vegetable words, when you say, "carrot," they must grab the thing (ie paper ball) on the table before their partner does.


Great for children`s classes and junior high! Choose a word and draw the spaces on the board like this:

_ _ _ _ _ etc (in this example a five letter word)

The students take turns and try to guess the letters in the word. Everytime you are wrong you draw a body part. The head is a circle and the body is comprised of five lines. You draw one line for each wrong answer.

I think putting the students into two or more teams is better than have the whole class as one team. I think competition makes it more exciting.

As they get used to the game and their English improves you can use phrases instead of just words.

Row, Row your Vocab or Crossfire

Show the class a picture card, and ask them:

What`s this?

The first student in the vertical row who can identify it sits down. Continue until one student in the row is left standing. Now the students sitting horizontally to that student stand up and do the same.

Stone, Paper, Scissors Race!

Set up picture cards if you want to reinforce vocabulary, or word cards if you want to practice reading. You can set them up in a row or a U shape. There are two teams. Each stands in a line at the opposite end of the line of cards.

When you shout, "Go!" the first student of each team touches a card and says what it is. If they can`t identify it, their teammates can help them by shouting it out to them. The stumped student must ask them in English: "What`s this?" though.

When two racing students meet they must do stone, paper scissors. The loser goes to the back of the line. The winner continues identifying cards.

(This game can take a long time, as it is difficult for a team to win.)

Goal: One team wins when they make it to the last card of the line.

ESL Game--Pictured: The Around the World board game

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