Catch Phrase

How to Play: Just like the board game! Students are divided into teams. Write vocabulary words on separate pieces of paper (or have the students write them). One student begins by choosing one paper and describing the word (without say any part of the word or pointing to anything or making any gestures) to their... Continue Reading →

How to Carry Out Successful Class Games

Organization is key: If the students don't understand the game, it won't be fun. Be sure to explain all of the rules, the objective of the game and how to win. Demonstrate with 2 or 3 students before beginning.  For a lot of games, I number students from first to last on each team (usually based... Continue Reading →

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Poker Face

How to Play: This game has a bunch of different variations (and definitely has different names that I can't remember). The main premise is that the students sit in a circle and one student gets questioned by the others. One way you can play is that the student has to answer the questions but if... Continue Reading →

Going to the Moon

How to Play: This game is about guessing a pattern or rule. In a small group (3-8 students is best), the teacher tells them that they're going to the moon. The teacher comes up with a pattern, for example, things that are yellow. So the teacher says "I'm going to the moon and I'm taking a... Continue Reading →

Using Playing Cards for ESL

I always bring a deck of playing cards with me to my private lessons. While we usually only use them around once a month, they're nice to use as a reward because kids love them. A lot of time is also spent explaining how to play, which practices listening and speaking skills. These are some... Continue Reading →


How to Play: Students sit in a circle and each come up with a unique gesture (something simple and quick mostly utilizing their hands. For example, making "moose ears" or "dabbing"). The students each take turns showing the class their gesture and everybody mimics it. The teacher then teaches the students the "beat": SLAP, SLAP,... Continue Reading →


How to Play: Students stand in a circle with one person in the middle. This person will use their hands as a gun and "shoot" one person in the circle while shouting "BANG!". If the shot student ducks, they are safe. The two students on either side then turn to each other and "shoot" while... Continue Reading →

Zip Zap Zop

How to Play: This game is perfect for practicing pronunciation. Choose 3 words, i.e. "zip, zap, zop" (words that have the same starting letter work great) and have students practice saying these words repeatedly so it's almost like a tongue twister. Get them in a circle and start by clap/pointing at a student while saying "zip".... Continue Reading →

Find a Friend

How to Play: This activity works great for a first class. Create a matrix of about 20 boxes (more or less depending on the class size). In each box, you can write a different activity/skill/etc and the students have to find a classmate for each box (see photo!). The first student to find a unique person for... Continue Reading →

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