Why not try out the below ideas with your students as a fun way to help them learn English words and numbers.
This is a very popular Korean game. Students take turns to say numbers in order. The first student says, "1", the second student says "2", etc. Every time the digits 3, 6, or 9 appear, the student must clap once for each digit, not say the number.
So with the number "3", the student must clap , not say "three!". With the number "30", the students must also clap once, and with the number "39" students must clap twice, because there are two instances of the digits 3, 6, and 9.
If a student says a wrong number, claps at the wrong time, or says a number instead of clapping, they are out. Last person in the game wins.
As a variation, you can also include other rules for different numbers. For example, with multiples of 5, eg. 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. students must shout "A-Ja!".
Write the entire alphabet on the board. Give the students a topic, eg. boy's names. Each student must say a word that begins with a letter of the alphabet, and that fits into the given the topic. Every time a letter is used to start a word, that letter is erased. If a student cannot think of a word starting with one of the remaining letters, that student is out.
For example, the first student says "watch", so "w" is erased. The second student says "train", so "t" is also erased from the board. Game ends when nobody can think of a word, when the alphabet has been entirely erased, or when there is one student left.
Draw a 3x3 grid on the board. In each square of the grid, write a letter. Put the students into 2-4 teams. Each team selects a square, and must think of ten words beginning with the letter in the sqaure. Give them a time limit, for example 1 minute. If they get 10 correct words, that team gets the square. The first with 3 in a row wins the game. With more teams use a 4x4 grid, teams have to get 3 or 4-in-a-row. Good for younger learners.
Also, instead of letters you can write topics. Students have to name 10 words from a topic, such as food and drink, pop music singers, sports, etc... Great for older learners.
Have students make a 5x5 grid on a piece of paper. Students fill each square of the grid with a number from 1 - 25.
To play, the teacher calls out random numbers between 1 - 25 and students cross out the numbers on their grid as they are called out. If a student gets a row of 5 crossed out numbers, that students has a "Bingo" and has won the game.
Numerous variations are possible. Instead of numbers, any topic can be used, just make sure that the selection of items to include in the bingo grid is the same or a little more than the number of squares in the grid. For example, to review vocabulary, give the student a list of 25-30 words they can use , say from the back of the book, and have them put these words in the bingo grid. A classic game.
This is a method for making a game out of any questions you like. Put the class into teams, and tell them that if they want to answer your question they must make a sound like a buzzer from a TV show. Whoever buzzes first gets to answer the question first. If they are right they win a point for their team. If they are wrong they are out for that question, and the other teams get a chance. If you give a reward, say candy, it creaters even more enthusiasm. A great way to make any questions fun, eg. grammar review, spelling, etc.
Call My Bluff
Split the class into teams of three people each. Give each team their own difficult word, and a written definition of its meaning. Each team must then write two false definitions of the word. To play, each team reads their difficult word and three possible meanings to the class - one correct and two false. The other teams must guess which is the correct meaning.
For less advanced classes, the teacher can provide the false definitions as well as the right one, but this involves more preparation, and less English usage by the students.
Before class prepare sheets with a question on one side, and the answer on the other, or possibly have the students write them if they are good enough. Give each student 3-5 candies. Students must go around the class asking the other students the question on their paper. If the other student gets the answer wrong, they lose a candy. If the other student gets the question right, they get a candy from the asking student. An easy way to increase motivation to produce English! Naturally, students who can behave well will help a lot. It's best to ask questions with only one or a few possible answers, otherwise students cannot judge from their card if the answer given is correct or not. Can be used with grammar, spelling, past forms, etc. It can also be used for more advanced questions like FCE transformations, after all most of like getting candy!
Somebody says a word. The next student must say a word starting with the last letter of the previous word. For example, start - tomato - office - end - ... Students are out if they can't think of a word. Words can be confined to a given topic, eg. sports. Or, if you use a word from a given topic, you get a point or extra life. The winner is theperson left after everyone else is out. For kids it's fun to play without going out, and just stop whenever you like.
Put the students in a semicircle, and take away one chair from the students' chairs. Have one student come to the front and ask a question to the other students, eg. "Are you wearing a shirt?". All students who can answer "yes" to the question must change chairs with each other. The person who asked the question also tries to sit down. The person left standing asks the next question.
Often used with the question "Do you have a ... ?", it can also be used for many different situations. A very fun way for kids especially to practice questions.
Split the class into teams, and give 1 student a word which they must mime. The first team to guess the correct word wins. 2 people can also mime the same word, one from each team, with the first team to guess correctly getting a point. Fun, easy vocabulary practice.
Put the students into teams. Get a set of Scrabble letters, or an equivalent, and give the teams nine letters each. Each team can request a vowel or a consonant when choosing letters.
Teams have one minute to make a words from their nine letters. The number of letters in their word is the same as the number of points they receive. A wrong word receives no points. So with the letters "E - V - F - M - R - P - I - O - G, "forgive" would get 7 points, and "from" would get 4 points. The team with the most points wins.
Based on the popular TV show. Put the students into two teams. The teacher should then think of a topic, and secretly write down 5 words connected with that topic. Teams take turns to guess the five words the teacher thought of.
For example, give the students the topic "Things you make spaghetti with". Then jot down 5 connected words, eg. pasta, tomato, sauce, meat, herbs. The students in the first team take turns to guess the 5 words. If they guess them all correctly, they win. Otherwise the next team gets a chance. If both teams can' t guess all 5 items, the team with the most correct guesses wins.
Adapted from a popular British quiz show. Give each student three lives. Ask the first student a question. If they answer incorrectly they lose a life. If they answer correctly they get a point. Also, if they answer correctly they may decide to answer another question, or nominate another student. If they nominate, the nominated student has to answer a question. When a student loses all three lives they are out of the game. If a student loses their three lives, they are out. Game continues until there is only one student left. A fun way to brighten up any learning process.
As well as general questions, students can be given definitions and asked to give the word, students can be given words and asked to define them, or students can be asked to spell words, and so on.
Students take turns to count from 1 onwards. Every time there is a multiple of 3, the student must say "Fizz". Every time there is a multiple of 4, the student must say "Buzz". And everytime there is a multiple of 5, the student must say "Whizz". So the students would take turns as follows:
One, two, Fizz (3), Buzz (4), Whizz (5), Fizz (6), seven, Buzz (8), Fizz (9), Whizz (10), eleven, Buzz Fizz (12), etc...
If a student makes a mistake they are out. Last person in the game wins.
Guess the Word
Split the class into teams, and give 1 student a word which they must describe in English. The first team to guess the correct word wins. 2 people can also describe the same word, one from each team. Encourage them to use English only!
Think of a word and write a number of lines equal to the number of letters in the word. For example:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ = reading.
Draw a scaffold next to the word. Students take turns to guess the letters of the word. When someone guesses the entire word, they have won. When a right letter is guessed, it is written in the appropriate space. When a wrong letter is guessed, it is written on the board and a part of a person's body is drawn on the scaffold. If all the body is drawn before the word is guessed, the game is lost. Perhaps the most well-known game in English teaching.
Based on a popular children's game. Hide five candies in the classroom. Students must ask questions about where they are, for example, "Is it under the desk?", or "Is it next to the window?" If the student's guess is near a candy, answer "hot". If the student's guess is quite near, answer "warm". And if the student's guess is not near a candy, answer "cold". Using your answers students must find the location of the candies. Be careful that students don't become tempted to get up and just hunt for the candies themselves! Great preposition practice for younger learners.
As a variation, students can imagine they are in a picture from a book, eg. the coursebook. Or you can use a time, eg. "Is it 5.00 p.m.?" - "Cold" - "Is it 9.00 a.m." - "Warm".
First prepare pieces of paper with names of students, verbs, vocab items, or any topic you want to review. Students can possibly make the cards themselves. In class, stick the cards to the backs of your students, or their foreheads if everyone likes it. Students must get up and ask each other questions about their card. Only questions that can be answered with "yes" or "no" are allowed.
If all students at once is too much, one student can come forward and ask the class about his card. Alternatively, split the class into two teams, and have one student come from each team and face-to-face ask each other about their card, with the first person to identify their card winning a point. This is lots of fun with the cards on their foreheads.
Introductions - Catch Game
Give students a ball, and they then say the name of another student and throw the ball to them. Once the other student has caught the ball, the first student asks them a question. Continue throwing, catching, and asking questions until everyone feels comfortable with each other. A fun way to establish team spirit and remove inhibitions in a new class.
Before class prepare sheets with several questions about the student, similar to a job application. Questions can include, "What's your name?", "Where do you live?", "What do you want to be?", "Why do you want to be this?", etc. Students fill in the forms for their dream job. You can include a box to draw themselves doing their job too, if it seems appropriate. Great for all question forms and occupation vocabulary.
Choose around 10 words from a listening text that might be difficult for the students. Explain meanings as necessary. Students listen to the text and arrange the words in the order in which they are spoken. Easy and effective way to expand listening activities. (Related page: Can You Learn a Language by Just Listening?)
A fun way to practice pronunciation and phonics.
Memory Card Game
Firstly you will need a set of cards with words or pictures on them that can be taught in pairs, eg. opposites, jobs and buildings (firefighter/fire station), infinitive and past forms of verbs. You can also make cards by simply cutting out 16 pieces of paper, and on one side write 8 pairs of words.
Lay down the cards with the blank side face up. Each student in turn lifts up 2 cards. If they have a pair, they keep the cards. If they don't have a pair, they replace the cards in the same position. Game ends when all the pairs have been taken. The student with the most pairs wins.
Memory Game 1
Split the class into two teams. Ask each student the same question, it can be anything. Each team must remember the information from the other team.
For example, ask everyone the question "When is your birthday?". Team A must remember the birthdays of Team B, and vice versa.
Then simply ask the students questions about the other team. It works better to ask a student from Team A, ... Team B,... Team A,... etc. For example,
"Team A student, when is Team B student's birthday?"
"Team B's birthday is on 12th March."
An excellent way to practice a given structure and get younger students to focus on a topic.
Memory Game 2
Split the class into teams. Collect one object from each team. Each team must memorize which items belong to the other team. Ask members of each team who a certain object belongs to. For example:
"_______ (Team A student), whose is this?"
"It's _______'s(Team B student) pencil"
"________ (Team B student), whose is this?"
"It's _______ (Team A) student's eraser"
Good for teaching younger learners possessives and "Whose" questions.
Memory Game 3
Write a group of words on the board. Split the class into teams. One person from each team comes to the board. They look at the board and try to memorize the words. Then they turn around, and the teacher erases one word from the board. The two students look at the board again, and guess what word was erased. The student who guesses the missing word wins a point for their team. After a correct word is guessed, you can write it back on the board, or just leave it and let the selection of words get smaller and smaller. Great for kids.
Before class, prepare a bag full of objects connected to the lesson, or just of general interest to the students. Students take turns to feel inside the bag and guess what's inside. Correct guesses can win points or candies. Great vocabulary revision for younger learners.
Numbers Catch Game
Assign each student an ordinal number. A student says an ordinal number, and throws the ball to the appropriate person. If they catch the ball without dropping it they get 2 points, with one bounce they get 1 point. A poor throw earns the student a default point. An easy way to practice ordinal numbers.
Ordinal Numbers Hotel
Draw a 5 x 5 grid on the board. Each square represents a room of a hotel, you can draw some decoration if you wish. Number each sqaure as follows:
501 502 503 504 505
401 402 403 404 405
301 302 ...
101 ... etc.
Each number represents the floor and room number of the hotel. For example, 305 means "third floor, fifth room". Put the students into teams. Have one person from each team come to the front. call a room, eg. "second floor, fourth room!". The students must run to the board and touch the correct room (204) with their hand. First to touch the correct room wins a pont for their team. Great for ordinal numbers.
Pass the Parcel
Before class, wrap an inexpensive prize in layers of wrapping. In class have the students sit in a circle and play some music. Students pass the parcel round the circle while the music is playing. When you stop the music, the student currently holding the parcel gets to remove one layer of wrapping. Then restart the music, stop, and so on. Continue until the prize is revealed.
For more English usage, before the student can remove a layer they must also answer an English question. Great for general review and lots of fun!
Split the class into teams. One student from each team comes to the front and faces away from the board. The teacher writes a word on the board. The teams must give definitions to the team member at the front of the class. The first student to guess the word wins a point for their team.
As a variation, students can also be given three words which they cannot use in their definitions. For example, to define the word "rabbit", you could disallow the words "ears", "jump" and "carrot".
Have the students stand up and face the teacher. The teacher says a word. If it starts with a "ch" sound, they all jump to the left. If it starts with a "sh", they all jump to the right. Any pronunciation can be specified. If a student jumps the wrong way, they are out. Last student in the game wins.
If you have a lot of students jumping about, you can put them into two teams, and have one person from each team come to the front. The first person to make a mistake loses, and the other person gets a point.
A fun way to practice pronunciation and phonics.
Split the class into teams, and give one student a word which they must draw on the board. Whoever guesses the correct word first wins a point for their team. Two people can also draw the same word, one from each team. Simple and fun vocab review!
Write a few categories on the board, eg. clothing, food, country, etc. Put the students into teams. The teacher gives a letter to a team and the students have to think of a word (or several words) starting with the given letter for each category. For example, imagine a class is using the example categories above and the letter "s". Correct answers would include "shirt", "salad", and "Spain". If a team gives a word for each category in under a minute, they get a point. The team with the most points wins.
Split the class into teams. Give the students a sentence on the board. Each team must decide if the sentence is correct or not. If the sentence is not correct, they must identify the mistakes and give corrections. Students can get a point if they guess rightly that the sentence was correct/incorrect, and another point if they correct the sentence as well. If they guess the sentence was wrong but they cannot say why or don't offer corrections, no point is given. Encourages analytical thinkng in a fun environment.
The same as Hangman, but instead of using lines to represent letters of a word, draw lines to represent words of a sentence. For example:
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ = The dog is next to the sofa.
You can use pictures and hints to elicit the sentence, and the position of a word can also be guessed. You can also make long sentences and write the words jumbled on the board. Another fun way to practice grammar structures and use English.
Prepare a few strips of paper with jumbled sentences on them. There must be two sets of identical sentences.
Put the class into two teams. One person from each team comes to the front and is given the same jumbled sentence. They race back to their teams and together write down the correct version of the sentence as quickly as possible. Then they race back and show the teacher the sentence. The first person to give the correct sentence wins a point for their team.
A student must start by saying a letter, eg. "d". The next student must say another letter, eg. "a". This student should know a word that starts with "da". The next student says another letter, eg. "t", and this student must know of a word that starts with "dat". The next student says another letter, and so on.
Students may add letters even if they can't think of a word, but this is dangerous. Every student, on their turn, can challenge the previous student about their spelling. If the previous student knows a word that uses all the letters given, the challenging student is out. If the previous student does not know a word, then the challenged student is out. Game continues until there is just one student left.
Split the class into two teams; one person from each team comes to the board. Put two markers, caps on, on the desk, one for each team. Say a word, and the two students pick up the markers, race to write the word on the board and return the marker to the desk, cap on. The student who writes the correct spelling and puts the marker back on the table first wins. Can also be used for grammar topics, eg. past forms, opposites, irregular verbs, etc. To make the game harder, you could also give the definition of a word instead of just a word. Very popular game especially with younger learners.
Give each student a piece of blank of paper. Students must write the name of a man or male group at the top of the paper. Then, students fold the top of the paper so that the name can't be seen, and pass the paper to the next student.
Next, students write a girl's name on the paper they just received from the previous student. They fold the paper again so the girl's name can't be seen, and pass the paper to the next student.
The students then write where the man and woman meet, what the man says, what the woman says, and what happens next. After each new piece of information, they fold the paper to hide their response and pass it to the next student.
Once they have written what happens next (the last piece of information), students can look at the whole paper, and read their story. For example:MAN (meets)
HE SAYS: ("Student's idea")
SHE SAYS:( "Student's idea")
WHAT DO THEY DO NEXT? (Student's idea)
Encourage students to write in whole sentences, and if they can't read it out well to the class, help them. Most stories will inevitably be funny for the students.
Split the class into teams. Each student must talk about a certain topic for one minute. If they can do this without hesitation, they win a point for their team. If they hesitate, another team can challenge, and continue for the rest of the minute. If the challenging team finishes the minute, they get a point. Otherwise no points are given. The team with the most points wins. If there are many students in a class, pairs of students can both have a conversation on a topic for a minute or more.
So-called by many Asian students, simply write a selection of words on the board. Split the class into 2 teams. Have one student from each team come forward next to the teacher, one on each side. Say "3,... 2,... 1,..." then a word on the board. Students have to "touch" or hit, the correct word with their hand. The first to touch the correct word gets a point for their team. Great for younger learners.
For really elementary ones, just use letters of the alphabet not words, or write the alphabet on the board and students must touch the first letter of the word you give. If there is a problem determining who touches first, have the rule that they must touch the board, then run back to the teacher and slap his/her hand, one hand for each team. For extra fun, students must spin round two times before touching the word, or the teacher can call words of objects or people that aren't actually on the board, so they are looking verywhere. Very popular.