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5 Fun And Easy ESL Games For The Classroom

Updated on May 25, 2013

Taken by photostack


One of the challenges of teaching English to children is being able to practice the class material in a fun and engaging way.

Games can be the means to do this as it motivates students to participate. This list will contain 5 of the most popular, fun and easily adaptable games that can be used in an ESL classroom.

These games can be adapted to teach any part of English learning, including; Vocabulary, Grammar, Spelling and Comprehension.

The Classic Board Race

Board races can be easily adapted to practice any concept and can come in many different variations including; making sentences or drawing. It gets the students out of their seats and moving which is usually a good thing. The following will be based on practicing vocabulary words.


1) Split the class into 2 teams.

2) Have a member of each team stand at the back of the room facing the board. Give both students a marker.

3) Give the students the definition of the vocabulary word, that has been introduced for that class. For example, if the word is "chair," you may say something along the lines of "It's something that you sit in."

4) The students race to the board to either write the correct word down or draw a picture of it.

5) The first student to finish the correct word gets a point for their team.

Tic Tac Toe

Another game that is popular among students is Tic Tac Toe because it provides a puzzle aspect to learning and most children seem to love solving puzzles. This is also adaptable to practicing vocabulary, grammar and comprehension.


1) Draw a 3x3 grid on the board. Label the boxes 1-9 so that the students can easily choose a box.

2) Split the class into 2 teams, determine which team goes first and who is either X's or O's.

3) Ask the first team a question. If they get it correct they can choose a square. If the get it incorrect it passes to the next team.

4) The first team to get 3 X's or O's in a row wins the game.

5) Play the next round.

Draw It

This game can be changed so that it is played individually or in teams.


1) Determine who goes first.

2) Provide the student with a marker.

3) Show the student a word or phrase that they have to draw.

4) The student draws what was presented to them and the first student with their hand up gets to guess what it is. (If many hands go up, allow them one guess each before revealing the answer if they were correct. If more than one student is correct, find a winner by playing Rock Paper Scissors).

5) If a student guesses correctly, it is their turn at the board. If there are no correct answers, the original student continues drawing till a student provides the correct answer.


This is a game idea that was inspired by a game from Genki English. Students love to draw and this gives them an opportunity to be a little artistic. A die will be needed to play.


1) Split the class into 2 teams.

2) Draw 2 circles on the board next to each other. These will be the faces that the students can draw on.

3) Determine which team goes first and ask them a question. As usual it can pertain to vocabulary, grammar, or comprehension. If they get the answer correct they get to roll a die. What number they roll will determine what part of the face they get to draw on.

1 = Eye

2 = Nose

3 = Mouth

4 = Eyebrow

5 = Ear

6 = Hair

They can only add one part at a time and they can only add the amount of parts of the face that a real person has such as 2 eyes, 1 nose etc.... If they roll, say a 1 three times, they can only add 2 eyes total and the third one won't count.

4) Ask the next team a question.

5) The first team to finish a face wins.


In this game the students basically race to the finish line.


1) Divide the class into teams (2 is usually a good number).

2) Draw 2 horizontal straight lines on the board and split the lines into 10 sections. Draw a stickman at the beginning of each line.

3) Determine which team goes first and ask them a question. If the answer is correct they advance 1 line along. If incorrect the other team is asked a question.

4) The first team to the finish line is the winner.

These games have served me well so far and I hope they do the same for you.


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