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Fun ESL Games

When you are teaching English as a foreign language, it is important to incorporate fun games into your lesson. Games help with student’s memory of target vocabulary and will keep them engaged with the material. However, coming up with fun ESL games for every class can be difficult. Do not worry! We have put together a list of fun games that you can easily incorporate into any lesson.

One thing that most students enjoy is a competitive game. Whether you are dividing the students into two teams or more, it tends to have them more engaged and excited to play!

Board Slap

Before the beginning of class, you will write the target vocabulary on the board. Depending on the size of the class, you will divide the class into 2-4 teams. One student from each team will stand at the back of the classroom. You will then ask a question regarding the target vocabulary. For example, if the target vocabulary is the names of places around town, you can ask, “Where can I buy groceries?” The students will then race to the board and the first student to slap the correct answer will score a point for their team. This process will be repeated until all students have had a turn.

Follow the Leader

This is a fun game when teaching students directions or places around town. To set up, you will arrange the desks into a maze formation. The students will be divided into 2-4 teams depending on the size of the classroom. Each team will go one at a time. One student from the team will be blindfolded, while another student from the team guides them through the maze. The student guiding will use the target vocabulary “turn left” or “turn right” when guiding the other student. While they are being guided through the maze, you will time them. The team with the lowest time wins. Repeat this process until all of the students have participated.

Hidden Picture

This game can be played with the class as a whole or you can divide the class into teams to make it competitive. You will have a photo of the target vocabulary hidden by several other pieces of paper. A student will have to stand up and answer a question (we recommend using target language and questions from other classes to review). If they answer the question correctly, they may remove one of the pieces of paper to show a part of the picture. At any point, the students may guess what the photo is. The team or student that guesses the picture correctly wins!

These are just a few of the fun ESL games that you can play during your lessons. Some could even be adapted for a warm-up at the beginning of your lesson. Students tend to enjoy all of the above games that reinforce the target vocabulary, engage them, and can easily be adapted to any lesson.

What games do you enjoy using in your lesson?

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