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Games & Activities for ESL kids

ESL Kids Games & Activities

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Actions / Verbs Games for ESL Kids

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Action Race

HopThis is a fun game using actions. Use actions like jump, hop, clap, run etc. Have the Ss split into two teams and sit in lines with a chair by each team and one chair at the other end of the room. One S from each team stands next to their chair and T calls an action, e.g. "Jump". Ss must jump to the chair on the other side of the room and back, sitting down in their chair Ss say "I can jump". First one to do it gets their team a point. (Submitted by Gareth Thomas).

Adverb Action

Brush your teethT writes on the board an activity like "brush your teeth." S/He picks one student, they come to the front of the class. The T then shows the S a card with an adverb written on it, such as "slowly". The chosen student then does the activity in the way of the adverb. The other Ss have to guess the adverb. The one who guesses right gets a point and mimes the next action which the teacher writes on the board. To help them you can give them a list of options, if you think they need some help.  (Submitted by Libby McArthur).

Attention Commands

MarchCall out commands such as: Attention, salute, march in place...stop, sit down, stand up, walk in a circle, clap your hands...stop, run in place...stop, jumping jacks...stop, swim in place....stop, etc. At first students will copy you but later they should be able to do the commands without you. (Submitted by Tania Bibbo).

Bet you can't

SingThis game can be played in millions and millions of different ways, and essentially it's just this: go to the toy store and buy toy money. Give each student the same amount of money at the start. Have the students bet each other that they can't do something - like this: make each S stand up and walk around. Have them say, "I bet you can't (e.g. count to 20, run around the room 5 times, sing the ABC song. etc.)". Get the Ss to bet using the toy money. You'd be surprised how much even adult students enjoy this game.

Can You Actions

DanceUse this game for teaching "Can you...?"  "Yes, I can" "No, I can't".  These actions are fun: wiggle, dance, run quickly, hop, skip, do a star jump, do a handstand, touch your toes, cross your eyes, snap your fingers, whistle, sing.  E.g.  Ask a S "Can you cross your eyes?".  If the S replies "Yes, I can" then say "Ok, go!" and the S does the action.  If the S says "No, I can't" say "Too bad.  Ok, can you (wiggle)?". 

Charades

Spin aroundHave a S come to the front of the class and whisper a word or show a FC to that S.  The S the acts out that word and the first S to guess can be the next player.  This works very well with action verbs (e.g. jump, spin around, eat - you can also get more complex patterns, such as cut some bread, open a door, fly an airplane, etc.).  Variation: divide the class up into teams - the first S to guess wins a point for his/her team.

Classroom Races

RunRaces are a fun way to teach a lot of different action verbs and adjectives/adverbs.  Line the students up and tell them the action they have to do during the race and then shout go.  Actions include: giant strides, little steps, run backwards, skip, jump, hop, crawl like a crab/baby, hop like a rabbit/frog, fly like a bird, walk quickly/slowly and so on.

Exercises

Star jumpThis one is great for over excited Ss who need to burn off a bit of energy.  It's also good for classroom commands and numbers.  Stand the students in a line and call out instructions: "Jump 10 times", "Turn around 4 times" etc.  Other good ones to use are: run (on the spot), hop, hands up & down, touch your (body part), stand up & sit down and star jump.

Follow the leader

FollowSs line up behind the T and follows him/her around the classroom.  The T does an action and shouts out the word for that action.  The Ss copy the action and repeat the word.  Good actions include: wave hello/goodbye, it's cold/hot, stop, go, run, hop, skip, crawl, walk backwards, jump, sit down, stand up.

Songs for actions and verbs

ESL Kids SongsWe have a number of songs available for download which practice different verbs, such as:

  • The Numbers Song
  • What Can You Do?
  • Morning Routines Song
  • If You're Happy & You Know It
  • The Directions Song

Click here for our songs page.

 

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