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Games & Activities for ESL kids

ESL Kids Games & Activities

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Past Tense Games for ESL Kids

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Clock fun

ClockHave all of your Ss make a clock (our crafts page has a great one).

T (or in pairs Ss) ask questions. E.g. What time did you eat breakfast this morning? What time did you go to bed last night? Etc. Ss move the clock arms to the correct times.

Once upon a time ...

PrincessGive each S a squeeky toy or something that makes a noise. This is a nice listening activity. The T tells a story set in the past (make it up as you go along). However, make mistakes with some of the verbs (e.g. A beautiful princess one day waked up and looked out of her window...). Each time you make a mistake the Ss need to squeeze their squeeky toy to make a noise and then correct the T.

Past tense mistakes

East breakfastIn groups, have students write past tense sentences about anything they want on separate pieces of paper - but they have to make a mistake when writing the verb (most Ss will really enjoy being allowed to make a mistake on purpose!). For example, "Last week I eated curry for breakfast everyday" (Encourage crazy situations to make it fun). After writing some sentences on different pieces of paper have the Ss swap papers with other groups and make corrections.

Past tense slap

Throw - ThrewA very simple activity. Ss are put into teams. The teacher either shows a verb flashcard or says a verb in the infinitive and the Ss have to slap the table if they know the past tense version (e.g. T: "Throw", S: "Threw"). The T asks the S who slapped the table first to give his/her answer to win a point for their team.

The last time I ...

Played tennisSs sit in a circle with a pile of action flashcards, face down, in the middle. S1 picks up a card and makes a sentence using the structure, "The last time I ___ was (time expression)" E.g. The last time I played tennis was last summer. The last time I watch TV was yesterday evening. The last time I cooked was 4 days ago, etc. If the sentence is perfect the S keeps the card and scores 1 point. If not, the card is returned to the pile.

Yesterday I went to ...

Movie TheaterThis is a chain game, like the game "I went to the market and bought ___". T sits in a circle with the Ss. The T starts by saying "Yesterday, I went to the supermarket and bought some bread". Then S2 will have to repeat that sentence and add his/her own, e.g. "Yesterday, I went to the supermarket and bought some bread, then I went to the movie theater and watched a movie". Then S3 repeats these two sentences and add his/her own e.g. "Yesterday, I went to the supermarket and bought some bread, then I went to the movie theater and watched a movie, then I went to a cafe and drank a Coke" ,etc. If a S forgets something he/she sits out that round.

Yesterday Time Guess

SleepingOn 12 small squares of paper write down key hourly times (e.g. 6am, 7am, 12pm, 4pm, 6pm, etc.). Also include a few "wild cards" with a question mark written on them. Fold the squares of paper and put into a small box. Ss sit around the box and take turns on taking out a piece of paper. They have to make a sentence based on what they did yesterday using the structure, "Yesterday, I was ___ing at ___ o'clock" (E.g. Yesterday, I was sleeping at 6 o'clock in the morning, Yesterday, I was eating dinner at 6 o'clock in the evening, etc.). If a S picks a wild card they can make a sentence about any time of the day. If the student makes a perfect sentence they keep the piece of paper, if not it goes back into the box. The person with the most pieces of paper at the end is the winner.

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