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ESL Kids Classroom Games & Activities
Classroom games and activities for english kids lessons.
Worksheets for ESL Kids
Over 1,000 printable worksheets right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All worksheets are made specifically for teaching English to children. They are quick to find and easy to print.
Blindfold Guess : Blindfold a student and give him/her an object to feel. The student must guess what the object is. This works well with plastic animals as they are a little challenging to guess (I always throw in a dinosaur to spice things up!).
FREE Lesson Plans
Lots of free lesson plans to print right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All lesson plans are made specifically for teaching English to children. They are also accompanied by lots of materials.
Flashcards for ESL Kids
Over 1,500 printable flashcards right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All flashcards are made specifically for teaching English to children. They are quick to find and easy to print.
Days of the Week March: see Months March.
Songs for ESL Kids
Downloadable songs to pay in your lessons available right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All songs are made specifically for teaching English to children. Just download and play in your lessons.
1. Split the class into 2 or 3 teams. 2. On the board write teams 1, 2 and 3 plus the names of the team members. 3. Each team needs to designate who they are going to dress. 4. Write items of clothing (between 4 and 6 items) under each group. 5. Tell the children that the first team to dress their person is the winner. Tell them to 'get ready', count down and then empty a bin bag of clothes on the floor.
The kids loved this game. Even the 2 children who wanted to sit out and watch were screeching with laughter. To add a bit more fun, if the team has chosen to dress a boy in their group I add 'dress' or 'skirt' to their list. (Submitted by G Holwill)
Craft Sheets for ESL Kids
Over 50 printable cut & paste craftsheets right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All craft sheets are made specifically for teaching English to children. Just print and use in your lessons.
Free ESL Teacher's Resources
Free printable resources for ESL KidStuff teachers. Take a look here . Certificates, attendance sheets, lesson records, lesson plan templates. Just print and use in your lessons.
Picture Fun: Have students cut out a picture of a person in a magazine. Students should describe the person, how old they are, what their job is, what their hobbies are, etc. and then present that person to the class. This is good for practicing adjectives. (Submitted by Kelly).
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EAL games for preschool learners
A perfect resource for English language learners
Hello and welcome to this lesson plan with EAL games. (EAL stands for English as an additional language, so ESL or EFL would do just as well.) Here you will find a complete lesson plan to teach my preschool story Hetty and the Lion .
This story is a small sample from my resource kit for teachers needing fun EAL games , activities, and stories for children aged 3-5. This teaching resource includes:
- *10* story lesson plans with games and activities, so you know what to teach and how to do it.
- *10* beautifully illustrated stories specially written for children aged 3-5 learning English as a second language.
- Extra teaching resources such as bingo sets and flashcards.
Thanks to Valentina at Douafetecucuiete in Romania for her pictures of these EAL games and flashcards below.
These EAL games work!
“THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR IDEAS!!!!! They are wonderful and extremely useful. I use them in all my classes. I tell my students: “Today we are going to play one of Shelley’s games or stories,” and they already know that we are going to have fun.
It’s amazing how effective they are, and my students and I love them. Thanks again from Argentina!”
Patricia Calvinho, Argentina
The Lesson Plan
Here goes with your fun lesson plan, EAL games to prepare for the story. Depending on your children’s ability and how often they are exposed to English, you might take 1 to 3 half-hour sessions to introduce all the above words using games and other fun activities. Ideally, you would include a song or two in the lesson and perhaps a 5-minute colouring sheet or fun sheet. (All of these are included in my great resource.)
Target language for Hetty and the Lion
Greeting: Hello, how are you? I’m fine, thanks. Nouns: lion, milk, orange, apple, banana, pear, ice cream Verbs: drank, ate Other: would you like some…? Oh yes, please, little
EAL Preschool Activities
Listening games for the first three fruits.
Introduce the first three fruits and play Run and Touch. First, display the flashcards or the fruits and tell the children to touch the fruit you name. Then, after a few minutes, spread the flashcards out over the room and tell the children to run over to the picture you name.
How long should an EAL games lesson be?
More listening games
Next, have the children make the shape of the fruit you name with their bodies.
If your children are doing well, you can introduce the other three food words and play the above games again, either with the three new words or with all six words if you have children who are fast learners. Only you can know exactly how fast to go.
Next, play Show me variation 3. In this game, you hand out a different picture card to each child who secretly looks at it and places it face down on the floor or holds it to their chest.
Play some music (such as the Hetty and the Lion song) for ten seconds and have the children move around the room. When you stop the music, name one of the fruits, and the children with that fruit must show the picture to everyone. You can add an element where when the music stops, everyone must freeze, and only those children with the picture you have called out can move. Then, after you have called out all the vocabulary, have pupils swap cards and play again, or move on to another game.
Now you have given the children some practice understanding the first three fruits, introduce the greetings. Seat the children in a circle and take a ball. Ask the whole group, “Hello, how are you?” and have the group answer back with, “I’m fine, thanks.” Have the children repeat this back to you three or four times in unison. Now roll the ball to one child and say, “Hello, how are you?” Help the child reply to you with, “I’m fine, thanks.” The child rolls the ball back to you, and you repeat with each child. You can only do this with up to eight pupils , or it gets boring.
With a bigger group, put the children into pairs in the circle. Now you can roll the ball to two children at once, and they can reply together, which cuts down the exercise by half.
More listening games and the rest of the food words
Introduce the remaining food words and play some more listening games. For a listening game that revises colours, name the fruit, and the children call out its colour. For example, you say, “banana,” and the children say, “yellow.”
Display the colours of the fruits and the milk on the floor. With a large group, you will want several of each colour. If you have my story set, use the coloured feet from story 3. A Twister sheet is a great idea and is easy to make. There’s one in the picture below. First, play music while the children dance around. Then call out a question such as, “what colour is a banana?” Next, the children must jump on the colour yellow. This listening game allows them to hear new words several times in preparation for saying them, and it also provides revision of colours. Remember to include, “what colour is milk?” as well as the fruits.
If your children do not know the colours then play musical fruits by just naming the fruits and food vocabulary and letting pupils jump on the correct pictures. You will need duplicate flashcards, so the whole group does not converge on one small picture. Please ensure pupils have enough images and space to move around without bumping into each other.
You may decide to leave these speaking games until after you have read the story or for another lesson – it just depends on your group. If you feel your children are not ready for these games, skip ahead to more listening games where you introduce the question, Would you like some..?
When the children are ready for some speaking practice, play games such as Mystery box, where you cut holes in a cardboard box, turn the box upside down, and place fruits inside. Then, students feel inside the box and try to name an item.
Cut several holes in the same box so several children can participate at the same time. If you have a big group, you will need more than one box. I suggest two to four children per box, so if you have eight children, one box is enough, as the others can wait a turn. However, if you have 12 children, I recommend two boxes, as you do not want half of the children sitting around doing nothing for more than a minute or two. Too much sitting around, and you may start to have discipline problems.
You can play a variant of this where you place three objects in the box. Two are matching, and one is the odd one out. For example, place two oranges and one banana in the box. The children feel inside and name the odd one out.
Hide and Guess game
Play a guessing game such as Hide and Guess, where a child picks up a fruit and hides it in a bag. The others guess what is in the bag or guess which fruit is missing from the ones visible. See the picture below for this game in action.
Listening games to introduce would you like some?
Moving on now from simple vocabulary words to the key phrase in the story, Would you like some..? At this stage, a few listening games should suffice so that pupils can understand the meaning of this phrase and follow the events in the story. First, explain the question and then ask each child if they would like some ice cream, apples, etc. Let the children answer yes or no, and if they answer yes, hand them the fruit or a picture of the fruit, and the children can pretend to eat it.
Play All Change
In this game, hand out the fruit and food words that the children have learned so far. Next, hand out pairs of words so that two children have the same item. You then ask the question, would you like some apples? The two children with an apple or a picture of an apple change places. Continue through all the vocabulary.
Then you jazz the game up by putting one child in the middle. This time, when the two children change places, the child in the middle must try to jump into one of the spots in the circle, leaving someone else to go in the middle. There are six food words in this story, which would mean that you could play with thirteen children – one being in the middle.
Suppose you have more than thirteen children and have a helper; consider forming two groups and let the helper look after the second group. If that is not possible, you will have to have up to three children holding the same cards. This game can be chaotic with more than 15 children, so make two groups and find an assistant!
If you have less than thirteen children, then instead of handing out two bananas, two apples, etc., hand out all the vocabulary and ask, would you like some apples and bananas? Then the child with the apples changes places with the child with the bananas.
Calm the kids down if you need to
During the lesson, when you want to calm the children down or give them a break, you can hand out the black and white version of the vocabulary and allow the children to colour them.
Flashcards for the lesson plan
The word lion is not included in the above eal games to keep everything to a food theme. However, you will be able to introduce the lion just before you tell the story.
Here now is the link to your flashcards that you can use to pre-teach all the target language. In addition, you will find a colour set to use in the games and a black and white set for colouring.
Natural fruits are ideal for young children because they are more authentic, but flashcards work too if you cannot access real objects; and for some of the games, flashcards are more practical.
Colour Flashcards for the Story
After the lesson
You should now be ready to read the story to the children, who, with the aid of the coloured illustrations, will follow and understand the events.
You will be able to follow up with more eal games and activities to revise, reinforce and spend more time practising speaking. The following blog in this series contains the story with illustrations and activities to do during the story.
I hope you like this approach and have fun with the games and ideas above as you prepare your children for Hetty and the Lion.
Lots more preschool EAL games
You will like my book of over one hundred preschool games to teach any vocabulary and language if you like these ideas. There are so many variations that you will have enough ideas to keep your preschoolers happy for several years!
Read reviews here or take advantage of the excellent value I am extending to you via the featured product below.
All the best, Shelley Ann Vernon, Teaching English Games
Preschool games book
ESL Preschool Stories 1-10 Teaching Kit + PowerPoints
The following blog.
Once you have taught the above lesson plan, perhaps over several sessions, you are ready for the story. You may download Hetty and the Lion story here .
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12 ESL Activities for Children to Make English Class More Fun
It’s true— teaching English to children can be incredibly different than teaching adults .
Attention spans are shorter, and kids’ vocabulary is much more limited—even in their native language—meaning that the topics you can discuss are limited as well.
The trick is to make English fun for your learners!
Whether you have a class full of young beginners or children who know some English already, these 12 fun ESL activities for kids will help you teach them everything they need to learn.
1. Art Projects
2. active games, 3. singing songs, 4. labeling, 5. educative play, 6. role playing, 7. storytelling, 8. show and tell, 9. picture dictation, 10. flashcards and memory games, 11. word puzzles, 12. nature walks, how to use these esl activities for children.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
Art is a fantastic way to get young students excited and interested in reinforcing different vocabulary. The art project that goes with your lesson should either come at the end of the class or at the beginning of the following class (after a brief review of the vocabulary).
Students can draw pictures independently, but you should walk around the room and encourage them to talk to you about their work.
Let’s say you’re using an art lesson to follow up acquisition of different color words. You could ask students, “What color is this?” to get them to practice the vocabulary.
The same sort of lesson can be used once students become more advanced with other sorts of vocabulary (fruits, careers, animals). Have students draw pictures using the words and help them label their drawings.
You can find more art project ideas via Art Projects for Kids , a teacher-approved site filled with resources and ideas. There’s also fun ideas from Artful Parent , craft ideas from Enchanted Learning and themed crafts from Funology .
You’ve probably already witnessed the awesome power of kinesthetic learning in the classroom, and active games can be a great way to get beginners up and moving.
One of the best for beginners is Simon Says, or a variant thereof.
Simon Says can be a very useful way to review new vocabulary while also upping the energy. That’s why it’s a great choice either at the beginning or in the middle of a class.
The obvious way to use Simon Says is to reinforce a vocabulary lesson involving body parts. It’s also great for action words, like “dance,” “jump” or “clap.”
Students may look like they understand what you’re saying, particularly if they’re following the rest of the group, but it’s important to introduce the words you plan to use in lesson format before introducing the game.
Try not to give them any hints with your own body language as to what they’re supposed to do when you play—let the ESL lesson be their guide!
There are more kinesthetic games in this list that you can try with your young learners.
Music is a fantastic mnemonic device for new vocabulary, and the Internet is a wealth of different song ideas.
The best time to use a song is once the vocabulary has already been introduced. Some songs are simpler, which makes them ideal for using the same day or same week that the vocabulary is introduced. For instance:
- “7 Days A Week” — for learning the days of the week
- “If You’re Happy” (simplified) — for learning emotions
- “Put on Your Shoes” — for learning clothing words
- “Rainbow Song” — for learning colors
Other songs are more complicated, making them better for students that already know some vocabulary in English. They’re great for reviewing!
- “Let’s Go to the Zoo” — for reviewing animal words
- “I See Something Pink” — for reviewing colors
- “One Little Finger” — for reviewing body parts
- “Colors Song” — for reviewing colors
But don’t limit yourself to simply singing the songs. Use them as a way to get kids participating—even your shyest students —by coming up with ways for the class to respond to the song.
For example, once the song has been learned, you can call on individual students to fill in a “blank” with the appropriate word. This is great for songs like “Old MacDonald,” where the verse is the same each time with a slight modification—in this case, the animal’s name and sound it makes.
Here are a few other ideas to keep your students engaged while singing:
- Have students make up hand gestures or a dance to go along with the song.
- Ask students to illustrate the song as an art project.
- Have students make up their own verses (when appropriate to level).
- Have students make their own musical instruments so they can play along as they sing!
Labeling can be a great way to remember new vocabulary. The kids can label art projects, as mentioned above, but you can also use labeling in a classroom or with photographs.
If you’re trying to teach the names of different things in the classroom, tasking your students with creating labels for them can be a great way to get them up and moving—and speaking!
Once the labels are created, be sure to laminate them. You can use the classroom labels with all sorts of games, from treasure hunts to interactive matching or memory games.
You can also use labeling with photographs, particularly if you can project them on the wall.
Find photographs or images of different scenes containing vocabulary that you’ve covered in class. Then, either make the labels yourself or have your students make them. Allow students to come up and affix the labels on the projected image as vocabulary review.
Labeling of this kind is great when used in tandem with an art project, as students first identify items as a group and are then encouraged to label things on their own.
Particularly when your students are very young, educative play is a useful technique for teaching them without ever letting on!
Students can be encouraged to play with one another in a variety of ways, such as with board games or in a playroom or similar space.
Teachers and assistants should participate in the play in English, asking questions that students can answer. Examples of such questions include:
- What are you doing?
- What are you playing?
- Can I play?
- What’s that?
- Would you like this block/ball/doll?
The key to making educative play fun and useful is to make sure that you engage students without frustrating them. Asking them repetitive questions or asking too many questions can be counterproductive. As a rule of thumb, ask about one question every minute or so.
Encourage students to answer you in English, but don’t force them to speak to one another in English. As things progress, they may speak to one another in English of their own accord—which is proof that your efforts are paying off!
If you have slightly older students who can handle a bit more structure, you can organize role play activities . These will help them move beyond simply recalling vocabulary so they can start consciously putting English sentences together.
Kids can act out scenarios as simple as playing “restaurant” or “doctor’s office” in English. Such interactions encourage creativity, build confidence and foster ease of communication—all in a supportive, low-stress environment.
Of course, they may not know exactly how these interactions are supposed to go, especially in English.
You can model them yourself (or with an assistant teacher), or you could make use of authentic English videos as examples, like the ones on FluentU .
In FluentU’s video library, you can search for a video of someone purchasing food at a restaurant or clothes at a store, for instance. Searches can be filtered by level, so you can ensure each video is a good fit for your students. There are also additional teaching and learning tools to help you utilize FluentU fully in your ESL classroom.
By assuming roles like doctors, teachers or shopkeepers during role play activities, students will learn to use English naturally while honing their speaking and listening abilities.
Tell stories to your young ESL students. Use some kind of visual (a picture book, puppets) to help keep their attention and show them exactly what the story is saying.
Reading stories, in particular, carries a host of benefits for your children. You’ll expose them to English in a fun and interesting way—in fact, you could even implement the popular language teaching strategy of Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling, or TPRS .
But storytelling can go two ways.
Especially if your students are older and have more of a grasp on the language, encourage them to tell stories in English themselves.
They can simply share something that happened to them, or they can use their imaginations and be as creative as possible. You can even provide them with picture cards or props to help them out and inspire them.
When children are given space to tell their own stories, they’re able to build essential language skills (clarity, pronunciation, logic, etc.) while learning how to express thoughts, emotions, ideas, events, concepts and more.
A favorite elementary school activity of many children, show and tell can be easily adapted to the ESL classroom.
Have students bring an item from home and describe it in English to their classmates, practicing both their speaking and listening skills.
This activity empowers children to confidently communicate about their favorite objects, experiences and/or hobbies in English. By presenting a personal item or topic to their peers, they’ll improve their vocabulary range and get a jump start on their public speaking skills .
This exercise can also be great for fostering a supportive environment where children actively listen and respond, boosting students’ self-confidence as well as their confidence in speaking English.
Plus, show and tell helps you get to know your students better, too!
This easy ESL activity has the teacher describe a simple scene or picture, and the children draw what you describe. It enhances listening, vocabulary and motor skills.
Children practice focusing on spoken English instructions, transforming them into visual representations, while improving their vocabulary retention by associating words with corresponding images.
Fun and interactive , picture dictation will allow your kids to show off their English knowledge and their creative drawings at the same time.
Just make sure you’ve gone over the vocab ahead of time so the students don’t wander off and create totally unrelated artwork!
These are staples for any language learner, and there are good reasons why.
One of those reasons? Flashcards and memory games can be a lot of fun!
Students can create their own flashcards for a specific set of vocabulary, as a type of art project. Or you can create or find relevant ones yourself to use with your ESL students.
You can use flashcards with words or images to hang around the classroom or study from. You can use them to play memory games or matching activities , reinforcing students’ vocabulary and word recognition.
The interactive nature of memory games also makes learning English both engaging and enjoyable, and can be used to encourage teamwork or healthy competition among students.
If you teach children who already have a decent vocabulary bank, you can create word puzzles like word searches or crossword puzzles with age-appropriate vocabulary.
These kinds of activities offer exciting challenges to students while encouraging problem-solving and word recognition. ESL pupils can even improve their reading skills and spelling via word puzzles.
Word puzzles are also great time-fillers . If you have an extra five minutes at the end of class and have a word search worksheet handy, then you’re all set!
In fact, there are all sorts of word-related activities you can introduce to your class.
Take your ESL kids outside for a nature walk and encourage them to name and describe things they see in English.
Nature walks provide a unique opportunity for children to observe and interact with their surroundings in English. Guided by the teacher, they can learn the names of plants and animals, or whatever happens to be outside near your classroom.
This activity is great for improving listening comprehension and observational abilities. Its biggest draw, though, might be teacher-student and student-student conversation opportunities.
Outside the walls of the classroom, children may feel more relaxed and less like they’re stuck doing something they didn’t sign up for. Guide them appropriately, but also give them the chance to speak freely.
If you and your students enjoy this activity, there are plenty of other outdoor ESL exercises you may be interested in as well.
Attention spans in beginner classes (of any age) tend to be shorter. After all, it’s hard to ask someone who barely understands what you’re talking about to follow an in-depth discussion about anything, even if it is of interest to them!
But for children, this is even more true. A child has a reduced attention span even in his or her own language; teaching children English, therefore, must be done with attention to this fact.
Children’s activities should generally max out at about 20 minutes, so if we imagine that a class lasts between 45 and 60 minutes, each activity would be about a third or up to half of a class period.
Often, however, an activity will take up much less time than this—perhaps even just five to 10 minutes.
Never expect an activity to take up an entire class, and be sure to organize your lessons in order to make the most of each activity time.
There are lots of different ways that these ESL activities for kids can be integrated into the classroom.
Now it’s your turn—try adapting some of them into your own lessons!
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ESL games and activities for kindergarten
Table of contents
When it comes to teaching kids, perfect knowledge of the language is not enough to become a good teacher. Grammar tenses and speaking exercises don't make any sense if they are not accompanied by playing games. In comparison with teenagers or adults, young learners don't have any logical reasons to attend your class but feelings. Children will love English if you show them how much fun there. It is crucial to be positive, easy-going, and patient when you teach kids. Don't try to push them to do something because it's a rule, make them interested in the learning process. It seems to be difficult, to come up with games for kids and create something entertaining all the time, but it is highly rewarding job.
Young students have no intention to win a game, they just want to have some fun during your lesson. That is why, it is so hard to make them focus on one thing for a long time. Whether you teach listening or vocabulary, it must be an active task.
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Fortunately, children memorize everything easily and quickly, you just need some supplies to catch their attention. We would like to tell you the most interesting and effective ESL kindergarten ideas that you can implement right away.
There are plenty of songs you can find on YouTube. Write some simple words to each letter on a board and make students repeat after you. Then change the game rules. They have to recall some words, which start from the letter you show.
If you want to revise animals, choose one card and show to kids. They must raise their hands to say some facts about the creature on the picture. Prepare some small gifts or stickers to encourage students to compete a bit. Give such prizes to those, who names right facts about an animal.
What is missing?
It is a good idea how to conduct a lesson about face features, parts of the body, or rooms. Prepare ESL flashcards relate to the topic you want to teach. Also, you can make such cards on your own selecting appropriate photos on the Internet. List them and say to students, they have only 10 seconds to memorize all things they see. Count backward loudly to hurry them up a bit. Then, ask them to close eyes or turn off screen sharing if you work online, and delete a card while they don't see it. When the list of things appears again, there will be one missing card that kids must identify and name.
If you have on offline class, you can use toys or other tangible things instead of pictures.
Find something blue
As little students love to move, you can have a short useful break during a lesson. As soon as you teach colors, use all things in a classroom as a vocabulary game. When you say, «find something blue» or whatever color you name, all class must find the color and point it out. It might be a spot on a t-shirt, or a pen in someone's pencil case, what is more important that students have to identify the color as soon as they can.
An online version of this game might be conducted through bright pictures. Prepare some colorful illustrations with small details or animals on it. So, students will be able to revise one more topic, because they have to pronounce what things they have found.
Guess the color
There is one more easy game to work on colors. However, in comparison with the previous one, it has an opposite objective. Instead of naming some colors, you show black and white pictures of things or animals that learners know. As soon as they recall what something looks like, they have to describe what colors there must be.
You can change the rules to train listening skills. Ask students to take their drawings from home. Then each participant should explain what they have drawn, whereas the rest of the class guesses what colors are in the drawing. It is more difficult, because the imagination of children runs wild and they can paint usual things like sky and field different colors.
Where is that?
Teaching grammar isn't something detached in children's course. It is integrated in all vocabulary topics to help young learners produce not only phrases but also sentences. They usually don't care what prepositions mean, or how to use Present Simple, they just learn through conversational patterns and lexical approach.
That is why, you should think in advance, how to combine two similar topics to train all productive skills. For example, if you are going to teach rooms and things there, include prepositions of place in your lesson plan. Show a picture for 10 seconds, while class memorizes all things and their positions. After 10 seconds, hide the picture and ask each one to recall one thing and its location in the picture.
Can or can’t
There is a fun ESL game that doesn't require preparation at all. It perfectly fits animal topic. In order to help students use grammar correctly and increase their vocabulary, implement it while you teach names of animals. Discuss and show if you can, what each creature can or can't do.
Each kid thinks of an animal and explains what it can and can't do instead of just naming it. Other classmates try to guess what it is. It is also a good chance to train Present Simple after that. Such an exercise help to get used to endings in English. For example children may say, «A rabbit can hop. It hops every day».
If you want to make the game more difficult, pronounce your examples keeping secrets what animals you mean. You may ask, «It can swim but can't fly. What is it?»
Feelings and emotions
The most difficult thing in English for the majority of people is the verb «to be». Adolescents may understand the meaning of it, whereas children couldn't care less. So, the best way for them to get used to it is repetition. In addition to this activity, you should stress all options of «to be» when you speak.
This game is supposed to teach kids how to talk about mood in English. Prepare some flashcards with peoples' facial expressions and ask questions using basic adjectives.
Ask yes or no questions accompanied by a picture with some feelings. The learners have to answer either «Yes, I am» or «No, I'm not». For example, ask your class, «Are you tired?», while you show the picture where a person smiles. According to such a facial expression they will likely answer «No».
What time is it?
It is not a secret that some kindergarteners struggle to pronounce the time even in their mother tongue. However, we have a new version of such a trivial exercise. Firstly, make sure that young students know all numbers. Then draw some watches on cards and give a card to everybody. Choose the first host, who should stand in front of the class and write down the time, which their classmates pronounce.
For instance, the student says the time on their card, «Half past seven», whereas the host writes 7:30. You check and help if it's necessary. Then, the turn of the next pair of learners, where one is a host, and another is a participant.
When little students have enough vocabulary to describe basic things like fruits, furniture, and animals, you may conduct a revision game. You need some baskets to prepare, the amount of those depend on the number of categories you want to have.
There might be following groups:
- things at home;
Write down relevant words to each category on small pieces of paper and put them on a surface. Everybody should move quickly as possible to take a sticker and choose what category it fits. Then one by one, they run to a certain basket with that category and put the word in it.
Who are you?
Jobs is one of the basic topics. That's a chance to have a role-play and an introduction game with little English learners. Write down all professions on stickers and give to everyone. Each kid should explain the job with some prompts, whereas others must guess it.
If it seems difficult, assign learners to think of only one fact. If the word is «chef», a child may say, «I cook food», or «I make dinner». Also, you can change the rules and explain different professions, where children have to listen to you carefully and answer correctly.
Close your eyes and show…
Parts of the body might be a piece of a fun game, if we add some physical work. Everyone must close eyes, while you as a host give instructions what to do.
For instance, «jump on your right leg» or «bend with your left knee». Keep in mind, you should observe everyone's result and pay attention to those, who couldn't figure it out quickly.
Also, you can use this game again in terms of imperative verbs. When you start teaching road signs or popular phrases, your students will recognize this grammar pattern. You may say, «count you fingers», and they will know what to do.
Describe a picture
It is better to show the meaning of the structures «there is» and «there are» on tangible and bright examples. Teaching ESL offline, go around the room and ask children to describe different places of the classroom.
When it comes to online teaching, you can find 3-5 pictures with furniture, food, or animals, in that case learners don't have to move, they can do everything verbally. In order to challenge your class, ask questions to confuse students. If there are 7 dogs in the picture, you may ask, «Are there 3 cats in the picture?».
There is another ESL idea to make kids laugh. Learning new words might be boring for little students, so let them let their hair down and move a bit. The important rule in this game is to use only nouns. Choose a topic that you would like your class to work on, and give everybody a role to play. Explain that hosts can't speak only show the word they have on a sticker. That's a good way to recall some words, which students have learned recently, and finish a lesson.
When we teach imperative verbs, it is also essential to drawn students' attention to politeness. The ESL activity «Simon says» is an illustrative way to make a group get used to saying «please». You as a Simon should speak quickly and check kids' reaction to your words. The point is to say random instructions, whereas class must do what you say only if they hear the word «please». It doesn't take much time, however everyone will love such an active break.
Truth be told, this type of game is so convenient, because you can adapt it to a topic every time when you have no idea what to do with ESL kindergarten. Turn music on and warn students that when music stops, nobody will be able to pass a hot potato. Start passing it around the class adding some emotions to show that a potato is real, it makes students feel excitement too. A person, who holds a potato when music is mute, must do the task. It depends on the topic you have chosen.
You can assign:
- name 3 red vegetables;
- say 5 your favorite animals;
- how many pictures on the wall;
- what time is it.
We know so many interactive activities for speaking and vocabulary practice, but what about listening? This ESL game takes some time on preparation, but the result is worth it. Make 10 questions to a topic you would like to have a revision on and draw them up on a colorful worksheet with bright illustrations. Encourage students to participate by some rewards and make a table to count everyone's points in the end.
Ask questions and give options to answer helping if some team members hesitate. As your class already knows the topic, probably it won't take much time, however listening practice may make it more complicated. Anyway, you can stress some words or even show some guests to help kindergarten kids understand you.
The young generation is better at technology than we. That is why, they will be amused by this ESL game. Start a new message in a chat on your phone and make a list of emojis. Try to place them in order that seems to be someone's day in life. If you teach offline print it out, or share this picture on your screen if you work online.
There is the great idea to demonstrate household chores or daily routine. Firslty, teach phrases according to the emoji, and then assign students to match each small image with a phrase. When students know all necessary vocabulary, get rid of prompts and phrases and show only emoji in a particular order.
The point is to make a story about one day in somebody's life. Each child makes only one sentence according to his turn and emoji. It is better to write the whole story down and laugh together in the end.
As you understand, there is much work to create a worth lesson and make young ESL students happy. Teaching English includes a lot of things at the same time except having fun with students.
There are some basic duties of English teachers during a lesson:
- to make instructions short and informative;
- to make sure that everybody understands what to do;
- to check difficulties that class faces during an exercise;
- to explain words in the easiest way and even show their meaning;
- to change and adapt activities very time when students get bored.
All ESL games that we have prepared might be changed in terms of a topic. There is only one principle to teach children - make them curious. Try to become a students' friend but stick to your guns as a teacher and an adult. Whether you have teaching experience or not, it might be difficult to catch young learners attention and make them listen to you.
TEFL / TESOL courses provide knowledge on how to react on children's offense, or how to give them a positive but an honest feedback. Also, there are so many materials to use whether you teach online or offline. After a TEFL/TESOL course you won't be surprised by kids behavior or expressions, and will always know what to do.
Enroll in an online TEFL/TESOL course to become a high-qualified ESL teacher in a couple of months. Check the link to get a course program with a 50% discount.
We hope this article will help you to organize your lessons and amuse little learners. What are you favorite ESL games and activities for kindergarten kids? Let us know in the comments below and don't hesitate to leave there your questions if you have.
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Fun ESL Games and Activities for Kids & Teens
- January 19, 2022
Let’s face it, learning English as a second language might not always make young learners’ and teens’ list of favorite activities. However, incorporating ESL games like these into your lesson plans can be a great way to help young students review their knowledge in an interactive, fun, and memorable fashion.
Get even more ESL game ideas for kids in the Bridge Micro-credential course: Games and Activities for the Online Classroom (Young Learners) .
Table of Contents
How do I make my class interactive?
Making your ESL lessons interactive is important for all levels of learners, but perhaps especially so for younger students and teens. This is because children have shorter attention spans and because teens may lack the natural motivation that older students have for language learning.
Keeping your class interactive ensures that students are engaged in the lesson. Here a few ways to achieve this:
- Encourage students to speak up by reducing teacher talk time and giving them plenty of opportunities to talk.
- Find out what your students are interested in and use it in your class. For example, if you’re teaching teens a lesson, try using one of their favorite pop songs to demonstrate the language point.
- Use a variety of media, such as podcasts, videos, news articles, and music, to keep things interesting and lively.
- Offer small rewards or other incentives to motivate students . These can be simple, such as, “If everyone participates at least once today, you can choose three short English videos on YouTube to watch next class.”
- Involve students in the lesson planning. For example, give them two options for activities for the next class and let them vote on which one they want to do. This will make them more invested in the lesson!
- Incorporate fun ESL games and activities like the ones we’ll show you in this article!
Check out these 11 fun TEFL speaking activities to get your students talking.
What can ESL games do?
Incorporating ESL activities and games into your classroom is a great way to help students learn. Here are a few reasons why using games to teach English is a good idea.
- ELL activities and games engage students. Because they’re having fun, students will pay attention and participate more. They probably won’t even realize they’re learning!
- Learning through games helps students retain information. Associating English words or sentence structures with certain activities can help kids and teens recall them better.
- English games for kids and teens create a lively environment where students are energetic and don’t feel as much pressure as they might during other activities. Focusing on having fun means learners might feel more comfortable speaking in English and making mistakes.
- Playing ESL games with young learners and teens helps you connect with them. By promoting a fun classroom environment, you will cultivate an authentic relationship with your students and motivate them to learn.
Where can I find ESL games for children and teens?
If you’re looking for ESL activities and games to incorporate into your classroom, consider the following resources:
- Join Facebook groups for ESL teachers, like the Bridge Teaching English Online Group . Other teachers are usually happy to offer advice or share ideas with one another. For example, if you have an upcoming lesson topic and don’t know which activities would be a good fit for it, try asking in a Facebook group!
- Use websites that offer free ESL lesson plans . Sites like BusyTeacher.org and UsingEnglish.com are great options to get you started, as they have plenty of English games for kindergarteners through adult students.
- Take a TEFL/TESOL course that includes activity and game ideas. For example, Bridge offers short, Micro-credential courses in Games and Activities for the Online Classroom .
- Ask your students what games they like to play in their free time. Then, adapt these games for your EFL classroom! Just about any game — Bingo, Taboo, Tic-Tac-Toe, etc. — can be altered to incorporate English language learning concepts.
Find out more about creating materials for the ESL classroom.
ESL/EFL Games for Teaching English to Young Children
Young children can be enthusiastic and active learners. Here are some ESL games for kids that are fun and engaging yet not too complex for young learners.
The What’s Missing Game
In this memory game, the teacher puts about 10-15 target vocabulary words on the board. This can be done by taping flashcards to the board or simply by writing the words or drawing pictures.
The students line up in front of the board and are given about a minute to try to memorize all the vocabulary words they see. Then, the students must turn around so they can’t see the board (no peeking!) and the teacher removes one of the words. Students turn back around and must guess what’s missing. The first student to say the correct word gets a point! (If you use flashcards, you can hand the student the card as an easy way to keep score.)
- To add variety, have a student come to the board and take the teacher’s place. You can also use this game to practice grammar, such as by putting verbs on the board and having students say the missing verb in the past tense to get a point.
See The What’s Missing Game in action in this video from the Teaching English to Young Learners Specialized TEFL/TESOL Course :
This is a great ESL kids game to have your students practice vocabulary and spelling skills.
- Have one student think of a word in their head.
- Have this student count how many letters are in the word and then draw underscore marks on the board for each letter in the word.
- The other students then take turns guessing letters from the alphabet that they think may be in the chosen word.
- If they guess a correct letter, it is written above the corresponding underscore marks and that student then gets a chance to guess what the word is.
- If they guess an incorrect letter, it is noted on the board, and one part of the stick figure hangman is drawn.
The goal of the game is to guess the word before a full stick figure is drawn, “hanging” the man.
- To put a little twist on the game, draw a person with a parachute. Draw the same number of strings attaching the person to the parachute as the number of letters in the chosen word. The other students then take turns guessing letters from the alphabet that they think may be in the chosen word. If they guess a correct letter, it’s written above the corresponding underscore, and that student then gets a chance to guess what the word is. If they guess an incorrect letter, it is noted on the board and one of the parachute strings is erased. The goal of the game is to guess the word before the person loses all of their parachute strings.
Try these last-minute ESL lesson plans that can be adapted for any class.
This is another fun game for practicing vocabulary. Brainstorm with your students to come up with a list of categories (maybe from new vocabulary you have recently taught), and write each category on a flashcard. Examples could be colors, jobs, or verbs. Choose two students to stand up. Call out a category and a letter of the alphabet (for example, “colors” and “b”). The first student to come up with something from within that category that begins with the letter is the winner and remains standing. Chose another student to go against the winner, and repeat with a new category and letter.
For this classic game adapted for young learners, you can either create bingo cards and a call sheet or print them out from a website such as this one: https://bingobaker.com/ . For your call sheet, you can use the usual numbers and letters or get more creative with vocabulary you have recently taught. For very young students, use pictures instead of words.
Cut up the call sheet and put the squares into a hat. Give each student a bingo card as well as something to mark their card with. Allow each student a turn to be the “caller.” Have the caller pick one square at a time from the hat and call out what is on the square. The other students listen for what is called and mark the called word or image on their card. The first student to mark their entire bingo card calls out “Bingo!” and is the winner.
What is task-based learning? Find out about this popular teaching method!
To play this ESL game for children, divide your students into two groups. Have each group write the letters of the alphabet on pieces of paper you give them to make flashcards. Shuffle each group of flashcards and place them in two piles on one side of the room. Have each group line up on the opposite side of the room. On the word “Go,” the first student in each line has to run across the room, find the letter A, and bring it back to their group. The next student finds the letter B, and so on. The first group to get to Z wins!
Pick five small objects and hide them under a piece of cloth. Show the objects to your students for a minute or two and then cover up the objects again. See how many of the objects your students can remember. Add more objects to make the game more challenging.
Students form a circle and one student starts by whispering a sentence into the ear of the student next to them. Have students incorporate at least one new vocabulary word or the newly-learned grammar structure in their sentence. The second student then whispers the same sentence in the next student’s ear, and so on. At the end of the circle, have the last student say the sentence out loud and see how close (or hilariously far) it is from the original sentence!
Need ideas for the virtual classroom too? Here are 11 low-prep ESL games for teaching online.
Keep an inflatable ball in your classroom (or use something else, like a balled-up piece of paper, in a pinch!). Choose a question/instruction based on the lesson/level you just taught, e.g., “Name a fruit!” The student must answer and then toss the ball to another student to answer. Change the question mid-game. The random nature of the ball toss keeps students on their toes.
EFL/ESL Games for Teaching English to Teenagers
Teenagers and students with more experience with English are typically better able to use it in a more productive and communicative fashion. These ESL games can be a great way to get your teenage or intermediate learners involved in the classroom and prompt them to use their knowledge of English.
Teaching online? Take a look at this 5-point checklist for planning online ESL games for teens.
Turn it into a competition to speak only English during the whole period. Keep a tally on the whiteboard for each time a student speaks in their native tongue. This keeps them focusing on English, and fellow students even turn into “English police.” To turn it into a reward/consequences game that everyone can enjoy, have the student with the most tallies bring a treat for the whole class next time. Cookies for everyone!
Read about the most popular and effective ESL teaching methods.
Balloon Sentence Race
This high-energy game (from the Bridge Specialized TEFL/TESOL Certification Course in Teaching Teenagers ) incorporates balloon popping and cell phones, so it’s perfect for teens or young adults. It can also be adapted to a variety of language levels and target grammar.
Students play the game in the following way:
- When the teacher says “go,” the students race to the board to grab a balloon and bring it back to the table.
- Each student pops his or her balloon to access the paper strips inside, which have words on them.
- Students must race to arrange the words on the pieces of paper into a correctly-formed question (for example, “What’s the longest word in the English language?”).
- Once they’ve formed the question correctly, students must use their cell phones to look up the answer.
- The first student to tell the teacher the correct answer to the question wins!
Find out how to create ESL grammar lesson plans.
Around the World
Have one student stand next to a seated student. The standing student must make it around the world (around the class) by correctly answering the question before each of the seated students does. An example of a question might be “What is the correct past tense ending of [insert an infinitive verb]?” Change the verb with each turn. If the standing student can answer correctly enough times to make it around the class, they have won! If a standing student is defeated by the seated student, they switch places and it is the new student’s turn to try to make it around the world.
Pass a ball or other object around the room and when the music stops, the student with the ball has to answer a question, make a question, or draw a prompt out of a bag — you decide, though it is best to stick to one format for the duration of the game!
Roll the Dice, Make a Question
Write the numbers one through six on the board and a different question word (who, what, why, where, when, how) next to each one. When a student rolls the dice, he or she needs to make a question with the corresponding question word. Then, the student will call on a classmate to answer it.
Use minimal pairs (words that sound similar and are often mispronounced by EFL learners) to make a list on the board. Examples: 1. very 2. berry 3. kitchen 4. chicken 5. three 6. tree 7. sixty 8. sixteen 9. sit 10. six. Students must write a number five or six digits long and then say their number using only the corresponding words. For example, if the student’s number is 23354, they’d have to say “berry, kitchen, kitchen, three, chicken.” Students take turns listening and trying to guess the other student’s number.
Check out other ESL pronunciation games.
Students form a circle (this can be as a whole class or in small groups). Write a sentence that could start a story, ideally incorporating vocabulary or grammar from the day’s lesson. Give the sentence to the first student, who continues the story by writing the second sentence before she passes it to the next student, who continues. At the end of the circle, have a student read the completed story. It is sure to get a laugh!
Your Day in Emojis
Using your phone, make a pictorial representation of any day in your recent past using only emojis. Take a screenshot, and then share it with your students (either give them handouts or display it on your screen if teaching online). Individually, with partners, or in groups, have students make simple past sentences about your emojis.
For example, using the photo above, which represents a Saturday, they could say something like, “She slept in. She woke up and ate breakfast. She watched some TV. Then, she went to the park for a run. Next, she went home and read while she listened to music. Later, she got a coffee with her friends. Finally, she went home and slept.” It’s funny to see what your students come up with! Whichever student/pair/team is closest to correct wins.
Afterward, have students make an emoji pictorial of their own weekends (or any day in the near past) on their phones. Then, see if the other students can figure out what they did from the emojis.
If you’re new to teaching, you’ll want to get initial training and qualification with a TEFL certificate . You can explore our online TEFL courses to get started!
Keeping young students interested and engaged can be a difficult task, but if you do, everyone in the classroom (including the teacher) benefits. These games and activities for teaching English to kids and teens can help plan effective lessons for students of all ages and levels!
Looking for ESL games for teaching kids English online? Check out our course: Games and Activities for the Online Classroom (Young Learners) .
Our diverse, global community of contributors includes experts in the field, Bridge course graduates, online and classroom-based teachers worldwide, and Bridge faculty and staff.
20 Super Fun ESL Kindergarten Games
Playing ESL Kindergarten games is the best way for kids to learn English. Students learn best when they are having fun, and at Games4esl we love creating fun and engaging educational games for kids. Below you’ll find a collection of our best fun ESL games for kindergarten students . All these activities are absolutely FREE and require little to no preparation. Let’s get started.
Related: 10 Fun 100th Day Of School Games
ESL Games For Kindergarten Students
Game 1: alphabet games.
One of the best ways for kindergarten students to learn the alphabet and the alphabet sounds is through playing games. The above activity is a fun alphabet game in which students must guess the word beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. Students will see an outline of an object and then have five seconds to guess the word. This game is available for all letters of the alphabet from A to Z on our Phonics Alphabet Games page here .
Game 2: Hidden Picture Games
Kindergarten students love playing the ‘Hidden Picture Game’ and it’s a great way to review vocabulary they have learned in the lesson. The Hidden picture game is a fun PowerPoint game in which there is a picture hidden behind some colored shapes. The teacher should click on the shapes which makes them disappear and reveal the picture beneath. Then the students should try to guess what the picture is of. You can find a blank template to make your own, and over 35 ready to use games on various topics for kids on our Hidden Picture PowerPoint Games Page here .
Game 3: Touch Your Nose, Please (Simon Says Game)
Simon Says is a classic classroom game which young learners absolutely love. And the best part is it doesn’t require any preparation from the teacher. If you’re not familiar with Simon Says, the rules of the game are simple. The teacher should give instructions to the students and if the teacher says “Simon Says..” before the instruction, then the students should do what the teacher said. If the teacher does not say “Simon Says…’ first, then the students should not follow the instructions.
A great alternative to the classic version of Simon Says is to replace “Simon Says..” with “…please.” So, for example, if the teacher says “Touch your nose, please.” then the students should touch their nose. But if the teacher doesn’t say “please” then the students shouldn’t follow the instruction. This variation of Simon Says is super fun and a great way to teach manners to kindergarten students at the same time.
Game 4: Colors Guessing Game
Another common topic that ESL kindergarten students learn is colors. This fun colors guessing game is a fantastic way to review the names of colors in English. In this game, students will see a black and white picture and are then asked “What color is it?”. Students will then see two names of colors and must guess what color the object is. Students have a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly. Kindergarten students really love this game, especially when they guess correctly.
Game 5: What’s Missing?
To play this fun ESL kindergarten classroom game, all you need are some flashcards . Place 6-8 flashcards on the board and then say each word aloud and ask students to repeat after you. Then, tell students they have 10 seconds to try to memorize the words. After 10 seconds, tell students to close their eyes and then remove one of the flashcards from the board. Next, tell students to open their eyes and ask them ‘What’s missing?’. If a student guesses correctly, invite that student up to the front of the class to choose the next card.
Game 6: What Time Is It Mr. Wolf?
This next kindergarten game is best played outside or in a room with lots of space for the kids to run around. To play this game, choose one student to be the ‘wolf’. The ‘wolf’ must face away from the other students and close their eyes. The rest of the class should stand at the other end of the classroom / playground. Next, the students should shout out ‘What time is it Mr. Wolf?’ and the wolf should answer with a time between 1 and 12 o’clock. The students should then take steps forward corresponding to the time that the wolf answered. For example, if the wolf said “It’s three o’clock.”, then students should move forward 3 steps.
Next, the students should ask again “What time is it Mr. Wolf?” and then take steps forward after the wolf has answered. Once the students are close to the wolf, the wolf can answer ‘It’s dinner time!” and then turn around and chase the students. If the wolf catches one of the students, then that student becomes the new wolf and the game can start again.
Game 7: Weather Guessing Game
Another common topic that ESL kindergarten students learn is the weather. This fun game asks students ‘How’s the weather?’ and then shows them two possible answers. Students should choose one answer. They have a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly and if they guess the weather correctly, they get a point. Students can show their answer in many different ways. They can either raise their hand, move to one side of the classroom, or write down their answer.
Game 8: Let’s Dance Game
One thing kindergarten students absolutely love is dancing and being silly. This next activity is a great game to play to get students up and active and dancing around. To play, first visit our Let’s Dance PPT Game page and download a blank template or one of the ready to use games on many topics. Next, show the PPT in class. On the PPT there are 30 squares and each square has a word/number on it. Students will take turns reading the words/numbers in the squares. Each time, the student will have a choice. They can either read 1 word, 2 words, or a maximum of 3 words. The student who says the last word must dance. Alternatively, if you want the whole class to dance, the student who says the last word doesn’t have to dance, but the rest of the class do.
Game 9: The Phonics Train
This next game is great for kindergarten students to review phonics and letter sounds. To play this game, simply show the video in class. Students will see a train go by with phonics flashcards on. Then, students will see the train go by again, but this time with a card missing. Students must try to remember which word is missing. You can find the 6 Phonics Train games for initial sounds A to Z, plus CVC words on our Phonics Train Game Page .
Game 10: Find Something Blue
This next game for kindergarten students is super fun and great for reviewing colors in English. To begin, have students all sit down in the middle of the class. Tell the children that when you say ‘Go’ they should stand up and find something blue and bring it back to the middle of the class and sit down. For safety, be sure to tell students not to run or push other students. Once students have found something and sat back down, invite each student to share what they found. The teacher can ask ‘What is it?’ and students can answer “It’s a blue ball.”, “It’s a blue pencil.”, etc. Next, ask students to put their items back and then play again with a different color.
Game 11: Clothes Guessing Game
This fun guessing game is a great way to review the names of clothes in English with kindergarten students. In this game, there are 10 rounds and each round will show students a drawing of an outline of an item of clothing. The children should then try to guess what item of clothing it is before the time runs out. You can find more guessing game ideas on our guessing games for kids post.
Game 12: Matching Game
Test your kindergarten students’ memories with this fun matching game. There are 12 squares and behind each square is a picture. Students should try to find the matching pictures by choosing 2 squares at a time. Once students have chosen the numbers, the teacher can click on the number to show the picture. If the pictures are matching, the students get a point. If they are different, the teacher can click on the red circle to hide the image again. After a few turns, the students will start to remember where the pictures were and the game becomes really fun. Download a blank template and many ready to use games on different topics from our Memory Game Page .
Game 13: Four Corners Game
This simple classroom game for kindergarten students is incredibly fun and requires very little preparation. To play, first give a name to the four corners of the classroom. The names you give can be the words the children learned during the lesson. For example, if they are learning about numbers, you can name the corners 1,2,3, and 4, or if they are learning about animals, you can name the corners cat, dog, bird, and fish, etc. Next, write down one of the corner names and don’t show the students. Then, give students 5 seconds to move one of the corners of the classroom.
Once students have chosen their corner, show students the corner name you wrote down and the students in that corner are out. Then, play again and repeat until there is only 1 student left. That students is the winner.
Game 14: Meet In The Middle
To play this game, place 6 to 8 flashcards in a line on the floor. Next, place one student at one end of the line of flashcards and another student at the other end of the line. The kids should then jump forward and land on the first flashcard and say that word out loud. Next, the two students should jump forward again and land on the next flashcard and say that word out loud.
The two students should continue doing that until they meet in the middle of the line of flashcards. When they meet, the two children should play rock, scissors, paper. The winning student gets to stay where they are. The losing student must sit down, and a new student then comes and stands at the end of the line of flashcards.
Then the game continues. Each student should jump forward to the next flashcard and then say the word out loud. When they meet, they should play rock, scissors, paper and losing student should sit down. The aim of the game is to get to the other end of the line. This game is super fun and kindergarten students really love playing it.
Game 15: Animals Guessing Game
This next ESL game for kindergarten students is great for learning the names of animals in English. Students will see an outline of an animal and must guess the animal name before the time runs out. There are 10 rounds.
Game 16: Prepositions Game
One topic that ESL kindergarten students learn is prepositions of place such as on, in, and under. This fun prepositions game is great for teaching prepositions of place to kids. Students will see a scene for five seconds and must try to remember where the objects are. Next, the scene will disappear, and students will be asked a question, such as “Where is the teddy bear?”. Then, students must say the correct answer using the correct preposition of place.
Game 17: I Spy With My Little Eye
The game ‘I Spy’ is a super game to play with ESL kindergarten students to review vocabulary they have learned. If you’re not familiar with the game ‘I Spy’, the rules are simple. The teacher or a student should look around the classroom and choose an object without telling the rest of the class.
Then, the teacher/student should give a clue to what object they are thinking of by saying telling them the first letter of the word by saying ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with b .” Next, the rest of the class looks around the classroom and tries to guess what object they are thinking of. The student who guesses correctly gets to choose the next object.
Game 18: Fruits and Vegetables Guessing Game
This ESL kindergarten game is great for teaching fruit and vegetables vocabulary in English. Students will see an outline of a fruit or vegetable and must guess what it is before the time runs out. Each fruit or vegetable word is in the plural form, so this game is also great for reviewing plural nouns.
Game 19: Duck Duck Goose
Duck Duck Goose is another fun game that kindergarten students love. This classic game can be easily adapted for ESL kindergarten classes to review vocabulary. In the classic game of Duck Duck Goose, students should sit in a circle and one student is ‘it’. The student who is ‘it’ should walk around the circle and touch each student on the head and say ‘duck’. At some point, the student who is ‘it’ can say ‘goose’ at which point the ‘goose’ should jump up and try to run around the circle and sit back down before the other student takes their seat.
To adapt this game for ESL kindergarten classes, simply replace the words ‘Duck Duck Goose’ with the target language from the lesson. For example, if you’re teaching about fruit, you can change the words to ‘Apple Apple Banana’.
Game 20: Feelings And Emotions Game
A common topic that ESL kindergarten students learn is ‘feelings and emotions’. This fun game asks students to guess the feeling/emotion. Students will see a blank emoticon and will be asked ‘Are you happy ?”. Students must then choose either ‘Yes, I am.’ or ‘No, I am not.’ Next, the feeling/emotion will be revealed. If the students guessed correctly, they get a point.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found some inspiration for your next ESL kindergarten classroom game. Before you go, don’t forget to check out our free resources for teaching English including Activity Videos , PPT Games , PowerPoint Lessons , ESL Worksheets , and Printables .
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Esl preschool games for kindergarten, kindergarten / preschool games.
Best Preschool Games
- Karuta (The simplest & best game for kindergarten)
- Warm Up Game (“Total Physical Response” – control the class!)
- Simon Says Please (polite version of classic game!)
- London Bridge (no English, but fun)
- Ladders Game (works great, lots of running)
- Monster Drawing Game (If there are any budding artists!)
- Fukuwarai (for parts of the face)
- Tower Game! (designed in kindergarten, great game!)
- Ostrich Game (for smaller groups)
- Ball and Music (if they’re not too genki)
- Koala Game (“Please” and “Thank You” practice!)
Top Blog Posts:
Other games that work well in preschool:
- Island Hopping ( picture card review)
- Sticky Fingers (very easy, no preparation)
- Newspaper Sumo (A bit rough, but fun!)
- Hoops Game!
- The Group Game (Great for big groups)
- The Hammer Game! (bit like “English tennis”)
- Leapfrog Game ! (no preparation team game)
- Body Building Game (good scoring system)
- Banana Tree (fun scoring system)
- Ski Game (similar to Grand Prix)
- Jeopardy (good review favourite)
- Criss Cross (quick warm up, all ages)
- Mingle (quick, silly game for any conversation!)
- Doctor, Doctor ! (for practicing parts of the body!)
- Lines quiz (great, fast paced warm up)
- What Time is it Mr Wolf? (classic kids game) Target language: “What time is it?
- Reindeer Race Game
- Hallowe’en Ideas
VIP Members who see their students everyday can also get access to Amye’s Preschool Workbooks:
More details here…
How to use these Kindergarten Games
Just about all the themes work great in kindergarten. Even conceptually difficult ones like “countries” or “telling the time” work great. 90% of the others work even better in kindergarten than they do in elementary school!
Many of the games on the main “ Games Page ” work very well in kindergarten, and indeed many of them were first developed there.
The ideas on this page have been specially selected for use with younger beginners. But here are a few tips to help you out:
Vary, vary, vary: Every class and every child is different, change the class to meet the needs of the kids
If at first you don’t succeed: All these games work great in Kindergarten, that’s the only criteria for them being selected. But if at first you don’t succeed, change it a bit and try it next time!
Keep it short : Don’t plan a 20 minute game. If kids are wondering off, let them! Keep going with the kids that are interested and the others may come back.
Under control: If the kids start getting out of control, well they’re kids so don’t expect them to sit still! But if you want to tire them out a bit, then do lots of “stand ups”, “jumps” etc. see the Warm Up Game
Fun Colours: Use bright picture cards to teach words. Don’t use writing, the kids probably don’t know the alphabet in their native language.
Get them talking : Don’t make the mistake of starting with “ABCs”, they’ll be bored as anything and it’s not going to help them communicate.
Can’t remember : Don’t expect the kids to remember all the words, just keep going. However songs really do help, the best ever Genki English show was at a kindergarten!.
Take a break ! Teaching kindergarten is fun, but it’s the most tiring teaching you’ll ever do! Take breaks!
It’s all worth it: Sometimes you may think you are getting nowhere with millions of kids screaming and running around and seemingly learning nothing. But experience shows that starting languages in kindergarten gives the kids an unbelievable advantage later on!
Smile and Be Genki! Above all, enjoy it!
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