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TESOL Games for you ESL Classroom


TESOL Game- Object Toss
Select three soft objects. Assign object#1 the question "Do you want some milk?", "Yes, I do." And   "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.


TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- Pass It
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.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- Pictionary
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.

TESOL Game- Question Chain
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'.

TESOL Game- Quick Peek
Cover a flashcard and quickly show it so the students get just a quick peek. Reward the student who can guess it correctly.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- Scrabble
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.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- Shiri Tori
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.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- Shopping
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.

TESOL Game- Simon Says
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.

TESOL Game- Slam
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'.

TESOL Game- Slow Motion
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.

TESOL Game- Spelling Bee
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.

TESOL Game- Spelling Game
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.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- Ten
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.

TESOL Game- Tongue Twisters
Use these tongue twisters with older students. They work well as an extension activity.
1) She sells seashells by the seashore.
2) Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
3) Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
4) How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

TESOL Game- Topic Tag
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.

TESOL Game- Touch
Order the students to touch various objects around the classroom e.g. "Touch your book", "Touch something red".

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- What's Missing?
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.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- 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.

TESOL Game- The Wind is Blowing (submitted by Wyatt Crane)
A great game for all kids ages 6+, as long as they're producing full sentences, in a group of maybe 8-15 people. It is best played outside or in an area with a lot of space. Have the students make a spacious circle with you in the middle (there should be maybe a meter between each student). Each student needs to leave one item at there feet to mark a fixed spot in the circle (a shoe, a pencil case, a backpack, a rock... something they don't mind possibly getting stepped on). You start the game by making a statement that will correspond to some or all of the students. If it corresponds to them, they have to leave their spot and find a different one. So, for a food unit, you can use a beginner command structure: "Move if... you like bananas," or "Move if... you don't like onions," an intermediate structure: "You have to move if... you like bacon on your pizza," or an advanced structure: "The wind is blowing for everybody that..." (The command structures can be used with lots of different verbs and themes e.g. "have" for family members, "are wearing" for clothes, "want" for Christmas presents) Once you make the command, you have to run to take an abandoned spot, and one student will be left in the middle. For younger kids, its fun to chant "_______'s in the middle, ________'s in the middle!" in a sing-songy voice. That person is then in charge, and has to make a sentence using the same structure that you used. The game goes on for as long as you want, cycling through lots of students and putting them on the spot to make sentences using relevant vocab.

TESOL Game- Winner Says M
A variation on the activity 'Ten'. Write a big 'M' on the board and have the students take turns reciting the alphabet, saying one or two letters each. The student who says "M" is the winner. E.g. "A", "BC", "DE", "F", "G", "HI", "J", "KL", "M" (winner)! Variations: Numbers 1-21 (winner says 21), Days of the week (winner says Sunday), Months of the year (winner says December).

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