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 →

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 →

Acronym Race

How to Play: I played this with two students (private lesson) but it can be played with large classes also. The teacher writes any word on the board and the students (individually, in partners or groups) must write one word for each letter that is related to the word. For example, if the teacher wrote "CLOWN",... Continue Reading →

Name 5 Things

How to Play: This is an easy, simple game that's good to have in your back pocket if you need to fill a bit of class time. Put the students in small groups or in pairs with paper and a pen. The teacher says "Name 5 Things that are (see below for examples)" and the... Continue Reading →

Guess Who

How to Play: This activity can be played with any group size or in pairs. Students have to write down a word (for example, they all write different animals) on a post-it note and then pass it to another classmate (without them seeing it!) The students all put their post-its on their foreheads so everybody else... Continue Reading →

20 Questions

How to Play: Teacher goes first and thinks of any noun (you can give them a category if you want to make it easier). Students have 20 yes-or-no questions to guess what the teacher is thinking. Whoever can guess the noun, gets to go next. Other Tips/Alternatives: If their level is low, give them ideas of... Continue Reading →


How to Play: This is a good game to play when the students have to read from their books. Designate an order for the students to be in. Students can read either one, two or three words from the text (they decide). When they come across a period/full-stop, they say "sparkle" - which means the person... Continue Reading →

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