Ideas and different activities you can use in language classes. These pages of ESL games will help with building English vocabulary, sentence formation, or can be used to help build grammar knowledge or solidify and practice new grammar structures.
Here are some general games that can be played with small game cards:
Snakes and Ladders: vocabulary review/sentence practice
Make your own snakes-and-ladders-type game by simply laying the small game cards out board game style and have the kids roll a dice and move along saying/using the vocabulary. If you have enough to go all over the room, great!
Make a bunch of the large flash cards and who needs markers. The students can play the game by literally moving and jumping themselves from card to card. Be the game.
Concentration: is also known as 'Memory'. You need two sets of flashcards so that with each vocabulary word you can make a pair. You'll put all of the flashcards out face down in the center of a group (2-6 students.)
- The first student will turn over two cards.
- If the cards are the same, the student keeps the pair as a point and goes again.
- If the cards are not the same, the student returns the cards to the face down position and then it's the next player's turn.
Each time they turn over a card I have all the students in the group say the word(s) associated with the card. With more advanced students they will make a sentence with the vocabulary, ask a question to another student using the vocabulary, give the opposite meaning, or any speaking task you can associate with the card.
Old Maid: vocabulary review/sentence practice
Shuffle a deck of cards containing two of each game card and one joker. Deal out all of the cards to the group.
- each person looks at their cards and discards to the center any pair they may have. As they discard, they perform some language task associate with those cards.
- play starts from the person with the most cards remaining (or whomever you'd like.)
- the first player takes one card from the person to their right. They look to see if they've made a pair. If so, they discard the pair as above. If not, play moves to the person to the left (clockwise.)
- The goal is to get rid of all your cards. As each player takes a cards, makes a pair and discards those cards, one player will be left with the joker. The last player left holding the joker is the loser.
Go Fish: is a game where again, students are trying to get 2, 3 or 4 of the same card. The more the students need to collect to make a set, the longer the game will run (and the more fun it is for older students.) Depending on how many of the same card you want the students to collect you'll need 2, 3, or 4 sets of small flashcards per group (3-6 students/group.)
- set all the cards face down in a messy pile in the center of the group. This is your 'pond.'
- tell each member to take X number cards. Somewhere between 5-7 is a good number. You want about half the cards left in the 'pond', the center.
- to start student 1 asks another student, anyone in the group, for any card student 1 has in his hand, "Kenny, do you have a lion?"
- Kenny looks at his cards and if he has a lion, he gives it to student 1
- If Kenny doesn't have a lion he says, "No, I don't have a lion. Go fish." and student 1 takes a card from the 'pond' ending his turn.
- Then the next student can ask someone for a card.
- When a player gets 2, 3, or 4 of the same card, they put the cards down in front of them and those are their points.
- At the end of the game, the player with the most points is the winner.
Kids love this game. You can really do a lot with the question. You can just ask for an item or you can make it more elaborate.
- "Do you have a boy that works at a gas station?"
- "Have you ever been to Brazil?" (if they have a Brazil card, they answer yes. If not, they answer no.)
- "What happened? Were you stung by a bee?" (if they have the 'stung' card, they answer yes. If not, they answer no.)
and so on...
Check the MES-English Games and Activities Forum for games that don't use flash cards
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