10 Fun ESL Games and Activities for Teaching Kids English Abroad

Increase student engagement and satisfaction through these 10 esl games and activities..

Emma Lander

  •  Share on Facebook
  •  Share on Twitter
  •  Share on Pinterest

Marco, Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme

Games and fun activities are a vital part of teaching English as a foreign language . Whether you’re teaching adults or children, games will liven up your lesson and ensure that your students will leave the classroom wanting more.

Games can be used to warm up the class before your lesson begins, during the lesson to give students a break when you’re tackling a tough subject, or at the end of class when you have a few minutes left to kill. There are literally hundreds, probably thousands, of games that you can play with your students. EFL games are used to test vocabulary, practice conversing, learn tenses - the list is endless.

This list of ten classic ESL games every teacher should know will help get you started and feeling prepared. Having these up your sleeve before stepping into the classroom will ensure your lessons run smoothly, and, should things get a little out of control, you’ll be able to pull back the attention of the class in no time.

Want to jump right into the list? Here are the top 10 games we think your students will love:

  • Call My Bluff / Two Truths and A Lie
  • Word Jumble Race
  • Where Shall I Go?
  • What’s My Problem?

Don't have a job yet? Check our teaching job board for the latest openings around the world!

1. Board Race

There isn’t an EFL teacher I know who doesn’t use this game in the classroom. Board Race is a fun game that is used for revising vocabulary, whether it be words from the lesson you’ve just taught or words from a lesson you taught last week. It can also be used at the start of the class to get students active. It is a great way of testing what your students already know about the subject you’re about to teach.

This is best played with 6 students or more - the more, the better. I’ve used it in classes ranging from 7-25 years of age and it’s worked well in all age groups.

How to Play:

2. Call My Bluff / Two Truths and A Lie

Call My Bluff is a fun game which is perfect at the start of term as a ‘getting to know you’ kind of game. It is also a brilliant ice breaker between students if you teach classes who do not know one another -- and especially essential if you are teaching a small class size .

The game is excellent for practicing speaking skills, though make sure you save a time for after the game to comment on any mistakes students may have made during the game. (I generally like to reserve this for after the game, so you don't disrupt their fluency by correcting them as they speak).

With older groups you can have some real fun and you might be surprised what you’ll learn about some of your students when playing this particular EFL game.

How to play:

3. Simon Says

This is an excellent game for young learners . Whether you’re waking them up on a Monday morning or sending them home on a Friday afternoon, this one is bound to get them excited and wanting more. The only danger I have found with this game is that students never want to stop playing it.

4. Word Jumble Race

This is a great game to encourage team work and bring a sense of competition to the classroom. No matter how old we are, we all love a good competition and this game works wonders with all age groups. It is perfect for practicing tenses, word order, reading & writing skills and grammar.

This classic game is a favorite for all students but it can get boring quite quickly. This game is best used for 5 minutes at the start to warm the class up or 5 minutes at the end if you’ve got some time left over. It works no matter how many students are in the class.

6. Pictionary

This is another game that works well with any age group; children love it because they can get creative in the classroom, teenagers love it because it doesn’t feel like they’re learning, and adults love it because it’s a break from the monotony of learning a new language - even though they'll be learning as they play.

Pictionary can help students practice their vocabulary and it tests to see if they’re remembering the words you’ve been teaching.

7. The Mime

Miming is an excellent way for students to practice their tenses and their verbs. It's also great for teachers with minimal resources or planning time, or teachers who want to break up a longer lesson with something more interactive. It's adaptable to almost any language point that you might be focusing on.

This game works with any age group, although you will find that adults tire of this far quicker than children. To keep them engaged, relate what they will be miming to your groups' personal interests as best as possible.

8. Hot Seat

This is one of my students’ favorite games and is always at the top of the list when I ask them what they want to play. I have never used this while teaching ESL to adults , but I imagine it would work well.

Hot Seat allows students to build their vocabulary and encourages competition in the classroom. They are also able to practice their speaking and listening skills and it can be used for any level of learner.

9. Where Shall I Go?

This game is used to test prepositions of movement and should be played after this subject has been taught in the classroom. This game is so much fun but it can be a little bit dangerous since you'll be having one student in each pair be blindfolded while the other directs them. So make sure to keep your eyes open!

It is also excellent for the adult EFL classroom, or if you're teaching teenagers .

10. What’s My Problem?

This is a brilliant EFL game to practice giving advice. It should be played after the ‘giving advice’ vocabulary lesson has taken place. It is a great way for students to see what they have remembered and what needs reviewing. This game works well with any age group, just adapt it to fit the age you’re working with.

These games will keep your students engaged and happy as they learn! Remember, these are just ten on the hundreds of different EFL games that you can plat with your students. As you get more confident in the classroom, you can start putting your own spin on games and eventually make up your own.

Whatever the age of your students, they’re guaranteed to love playing EFL games in the classroom. An EFL classroom should be fun, active and challenging and these games are sure to get you heading in the right direction.

This article was originally published in October 2013; we redesigned and updated this article in May 2018.

Looking for a new Teaching Job? Here are the latest:

100+ teaching jobs in mexico, full support, tefl heaven mexico, paid teaching & tefl program in bali, indonesia with travelbud, korean horizons-the official recruitment agency of the epik, goe & cnoe programs. see our reviews., expand your teaching career options with ef english first – upfront paid flights for a limited time.

Teaching Expertise

24 Excellent ESL games for kids

esl games for kids

July 13, 2022 //  by  Michelle Mandel

What better way to learn a language than playing games? Playing games is so interactive and hands-on and children will speak and learn more when they are having fun.

1. Fizz or Buzz with numbers 


Children absolutely love circle games of elimination. It is a fast-paced game that can be played at the beginning of the class and at the end of the class to revise numbers. Instead of saying 3, 5, 13,15, 23,25, 33, and so on... the children have to say Fizz or Buzz.

The teacher starts out the round with a number and quickly, the children go round saying the next number except when they get to any number with a 3 or a 5 they replace it with a Fizz or Buzz. If you make a mistake sit down till the next round. Great laughter!

Learn More:  Dr. Mike's Math Games For Kids

2. Scavenger hunt


Treasure and Scavenger hunts are such fun. They can be done in small groups or pairs. The best thing about them is that you can do them by running around looking for objects on a list or by giving kids a list of clues and images to find depending on the clue. This can be done using old magazines, books, or newspapers.

Learn More: English Current

3. Taboo - 3 minutes Time limit!


This game really helps children learn how to paraphrase as they have a list of words that they cannot say for example bathroom, water, clean, soap stand, and their teammate must guess HAVE a SHOWER. Therefore they have to say, place in the house, don't sit or lay down, relaxing, small area, curtain, smells wonderful, sing ...The best part is you can get the students to help you prepare the material in advance. Fun game!

Learn More: ISL Collective

4. Pictionary  


We all love drawing and playing games and Pictionary is a fantastic game for vocabulary review I have even used it for verb tense review.

Small pieces of paper and pens or a whiteboard is all you need. Download the dictionary cards or make your own. Divide the class into teams and time for a fun activity!

Learn More: The Game Gal

5. Freeze Charades 


Explain the basic rules of charades and have the children come up with a verb to act out. Shopping, Swimming, Watching TV - something easy. Then in the middle of their turn, the teacher shouts Freeze! and other children take their places in the exact position and the class has to say what it looks like they could be doing. "They were watching TV but now they are fishing" and then they act it out for a moment. Everyone loves improvisation games .

Learn More: Drama Trunk

6. Last Man Standing 


Students stand in a circle and the teacher tells the students the topic and they pass or toss the ball around saying words or short sentences that relate to the topic. Keep it going faster and faster. If someone hesitates they are eliminated.  Depending on the class size you can have more than one group. This is a word association game.

Learn More: The Ideal Teacher

7. Twenty Questions 


This is a classic game and the game time is short so you can have more than one round. If you have a big group, I would say break it up into two teams.  20 Questions is one of the simple games that anyone can participate with a little help. Good for a vocabulary lesson and to learn to ask questions.  Students have 20 questions to guess if the word you are thinking of is a mineral, object, food, or animal. Students ask any question - yes or no answers only.

Learn More: Triple S Games

8. Stop the Bus!


The teacher draws or has a flashcard of the bus and a path. When the children say start the bus, the teacher gives them one letter and they have to try to write down as many words as they can starting with that letter. Until a short period of time passes and the bus reaches the bus stop picture on the board.  Children get one point for the same word and 5 points for something different.

Learn More: Teaching English

9. Sentence building XXL 


Prepare a long list of complete sentences and structures with the vocabulary you are learning. Write the sentences out on A5 paper in a big font. Then cut up the sentences so you have a lot of words on paper. Shuffle and play in teams then they can try to build short or long sentences over and over again. Fun for all ages. Make the sentences funny and interesting.

Learn More: Eslexpat

10. Call my bluff


This is popular with tweens and teens.

Students write down in their notebooks two facts that are true about them and one lie. The other students are allowed a couple of questions to find out which one is the lie. Student A. I speak German -  I play hockey -  My sister has a pet snake.

The question could be:  When did you learn German or how do you say I like cheese in German?  When did you start playing hockey?, Tell me 3 rules about the game, and What breed is your sister's snake?

Everyone will love this game. All can participate in trying to call the other one's bluff!

Learn More: Free English Lesson Plans

11. Hangman Games 


This is a good game played in pairs with mini-whiteboards. Students can invent their own words or they can have help from one of the lists. I would go the extra mile and have proper stands that you can make easily. They can practice spelling skills and they are very interactive games too.

Laminate your own boards.

Learn More: English Club

12. Move your body dice 

Get a twenty-sided dice and write a variety of exercises like jumping jacks, hop on one-foot touch, tap your head and pat your tummy .... Roll the die and one student shouts out the moment. Everyone keeps going until the die is rolled again.

Learn More: Kid Inspired

13. Backwards! 


Learning how to talk backward is a fantastic way to get children to really listen and pick up what you are saying. You are old how?  From are your where?  They think it is so silly, they pay attention and they are desperate to want to correct you.  Can be worked into any lesson for learners.

Learn More: Andy - The ESL Guy

14. What am I or the forehead game? 


If you have a classroom with space this is a fun activity. You can use printable worksheets or you can make your own.  Primary school children seem to love this the best. The teacher puts a sticky note on their forehead with a noun on it such as; baby pig, smelly sock, cow, or hotdog. then the teacher asks questions like am I alive, am I an animal. Normally all of the students have paper or sticky notes on their forehead, walk around mingle and play. What am I?

Learn More: Games 4 ESL

15. Singing grammar 


Singing Grammar has been around for a long time and it is still loved by all my kids and tweens.

"Johnny's playing football and he's gonna get dirty" ..." Johnny your mother's coming...

Singing grammar has downloadable worksheets, printable worksheets, and songs that teach all of the tenses in an amusing way!  Great for all English learners to practice their listening skills.

Learn More: Hancock Mcdonald

16. Riddle time and Jokes ESL


Riddles and jokes are something that is typically English and easy and natural to learn. Children can hear and understand English riddles and jokes and then they can go home and do some investigation and write their own to share with the class.  Good vocabulary practice, reading, and writing all in one lesson plan.

Learn More: English Post

17. Hidden picture PowerPoint game 


With this activity, you can discover how to make your own hidden picture PowerPoint game. The children will see one revealed square and slowly they will start to ask questions and deduct what the hidden photograph is.  Good for a class warm-up.

18. Jeopary ESL 


This game can be prepared over time where the students are coming up with the questions such as:

a festival celebrated in fall where people do not wear normal clothes and they like to look like something from a scary movie. They go out to the street at night and ask neighbors for sweets.

Answer = What is Halloween?

Good game to improve all 4 skills.

Learn More: Jeopardy Labs

19. Cup of Conversation 


Fill some plastic coffee mugs with different topics written on small pieces of paper. Each student draws a paper and then they have a simple conversation about the topic. When they are finished, exchange the cup to start a new topic. Effective lesson for pre-intermediate or advanced learners.

Learn More: ESL Cafe

20. Fast photos 


In this activity, we are trying to prepare the students for the Cambridge speaking exams PET or FCE. We quickly show the entire class the picture for less than 10 seconds and they have to try to explain something they thought they saw. Great Teen concentration game.

What were the people doing?

What was the weather like?

What clothes were they wearing?

How do they feel?

Everyone speaks and everyone participates. Good for A2+ levels

21. Did you say Drawing dictation


Your students will have a blast with this mix of ESL and art lesson games. Imagine the teacher says "okay listen to the dictation and instead of writing it, please draw it and share. "

Three ladies went to the beach to sunbathe at the sea.

Can you imagine what fun they will have trying to draw the dictation!

22. Tic Tac Talk 


Draw a simple tic, tac, toe board and write some prompts in it and the students take turns answering the questions and crossing out their box with an X or an O.

Learn More: Greg

23. Phonics time 


One of the best ways to learn English is to know your phonics . With some special websites like Kiz Phonics and Phonics Printable worksheets and phonics games, your students can really learn vowel sounds and consonant blends.  Slowly Phonics will be like patterns to kids on their way to reading.

Learn More: Kiz Phonics

24. Hungry Hamsters 


Hungry Hamsters ESL provides English Lesson plans, listening skills, and cute interactive digital videos to help your student learn English easily.  Fun classroom activities as well. With these little rodents learning English will be like riding a bike. Great way to start a beginner's class.

Related posts:

You'll also like:.

No related posts.

lego board games

Fun ESL Games and Activities for Kids & Teens

Let’s face it, learning English as a second language might not always make young learners’ and teens’ list of favorite activities. However, incorporating ESL games like these into your lesson plans can be a great way to help young students review their knowledge in an interactive, fun, and memorable fashion.

Get even more ESL game ideas for kids in the Bridge Micro-credential course: Games and Activities for the Online Classroom (Young Learners) .

Table of Contents

How do I make my class interactive?

Making your ESL lessons interactive is important for all levels of learners, but perhaps especially so for younger students and teens. This is because children have shorter attention spans and because teens may lack the natural motivation that older students have for language learning.

Keeping your class interactive ensures that students are engaged in the lesson. Here a few ways to achieve this:

Check out these 11 fun TEFL speaking activities to get your students talking.

What can ESL games do?

Incorporating ESL activities and games into your classroom is a great way to help students learn. Here are a few reasons why using games to teach English is a good idea.

Where can I find ESL games for children and teens?

If you’re looking for ESL activities and games to incorporate into your classroom, consider the following resources:

Find out more about creating materials for the ESL classroom.

ESL/EFL Games for Teaching English to Young Children

Young children can be enthusiastic and active learners. Here are some ESL games for kids that are fun and engaging yet not too complex for young learners.

The What’s Missing Game

In this memory game, the teacher puts about 10-15 target vocabulary words on the board. This can be done by taping flashcards to the board or simply by writing the words or drawing pictures.

The students line up in front of the board and are given about a minute to try to memorize all the vocabulary words they see. Then, the students must turn around so they can’t see the board (no peeking!) and the teacher removes one of the words. Students turn back around and must guess what’s missing. The first student to say the correct word gets a point! (If you use flashcards, you can hand the student the card as an easy way to keep score.)

See The What’s Missing Game in action in this video from the Teaching English to Young Learners Specialized TEFL/TESOL Course :


This is a great ESL kids game to have your students practice vocabulary and spelling skills.

The goal of the game is to guess the word before a full stick figure is drawn, “hanging” the man.

Try these last-minute ESL lesson plans that can be adapted for any class.

This is another fun game for practicing vocabulary. Brainstorm with your students to come up with a list of categories (maybe from new vocabulary you have recently taught), and write each category on a flashcard. Examples could be colors, jobs, or verbs. Choose two students to stand up. Call out a category and a letter of the alphabet (for example, “colors” and “b”). The first student to come up with something from within that category that begins with the letter is the winner and remains standing. Chose another student to go against the winner, and repeat with a new category and letter.

For this classic game adapted for young learners, you can either create bingo cards and a call sheet or print them out from a website such as this one: https://bingobaker.com/ . For your call sheet, you can use the usual numbers and letters or get more creative with vocabulary you have recently taught. For very young students, use pictures instead of words.

Cut up the call sheet and put the squares into a hat. Give each student a bingo card as well as something to mark their card with. Allow each student a turn to be the “caller.” Have the caller pick one square at a time from the hat and call out what is on the square. The other students listen for what is called and mark the called word or image on their card. The first student to mark their entire bingo card calls out “Bingo!” and is the winner.

What is task-based learning? Find out about this popular teaching method!

Alphabet Relay

To play this ESL game for children, divide your students into two groups. Have each group write the letters of the alphabet on pieces of paper you give them to make flashcards. Shuffle each group of flashcards and place them in two piles on one side of the room. Have each group line up on the opposite side of the room. On the word “Go,” the first student in each line has to run across the room, find the letter A, and bring it back to their group. The next student finds the letter B, and so on. The first group to get to Z wins!

Pick five small objects and hide them under a piece of cloth. Show the objects to your students for a minute or two and then cover up the objects again. See how many of the objects your students can remember. Add more objects to make the game more challenging.

Students form a circle and one student starts by whispering a sentence into the ear of the student next to them. Have students incorporate at least one new vocabulary word or the newly-learned grammar structure in their sentence. The second student then whispers the same sentence in the next student’s ear, and so on. At the end of the circle, have the last student say the sentence out loud and see how close (or hilariously far) it is from the original sentence!

Need ideas for the virtual classroom too? Here are 11 low-prep ESL games for teaching online.

Keep an inflatable ball in your classroom (or use something else, like a balled-up piece of paper, in a pinch!). Choose a question/instruction based on the lesson/level you just taught, e.g., “Name a fruit!” The student must answer and then toss the ball to another student to answer. Change the question mid-game. The random nature of the ball toss keeps students on their toes.

EFL/ESL Games for Teaching English to Teenagers

Teenagers and students with more experience with English are typically better able to use it in a more productive and communicative fashion. These ESL games can be a great way to get your teenage or intermediate learners involved in the classroom and prompt them to use their knowledge of English.

Teaching online? Take a look at this 5-point checklist for planning online ESL games for teens.

English Only!

Turn it into a competition to speak only English during the whole period. Keep a tally on the whiteboard for each time a student speaks in their native tongue. This keeps them focusing on English, and fellow students even turn into “English police.” To turn it into a reward/consequences game that everyone can enjoy, have the student with the most tallies bring a treat for the whole class next time. Cookies for everyone!

Read about the most popular and effective ESL teaching methods.

Balloon Sentence Race

This high-energy game (from the Bridge Specialized TEFL/TESOL Certification Course in Teaching Teenagers ) incorporates balloon popping and cell phones, so it’s perfect for teens or young adults. It can also be adapted to a variety of language levels and target grammar.

Students play the game in the following way:

Find out how to create ESL grammar lesson plans.

Around the World

Have one student stand next to a seated student. The standing student must make it around the world (around the class) by correctly answering the question before each of the seated students does. An example of a question might be “What is the correct past tense ending of [insert an infinitive verb]?” Change the verb with each turn. If the standing student can answer correctly enough times to make it around the class, they have won! If a standing student is defeated by the seated student, they switch places and it is the new student’s turn to try to make it around the world.

Pass a ball or other object around the room and when the music stops, the student with the ball has to answer a question, make a question, or draw a prompt out of a bag — you decide, though it is best to stick to one format for the duration of the game!

Roll the Dice, Make a Question

Write the numbers one through six on the board and a different question word (who, what, why, where, when, how) next to each one. When a student rolls the dice, he or she needs to make a question with the corresponding question word. Then, the student will call on a classmate to answer it.

Minimal Pairs

Use minimal pairs (words that sound similar and are often mispronounced by EFL learners) to make a list on the board. Examples: 1. very 2. berry 3. kitchen 4. chicken 5. three 6. tree 7. sixty 8. sixteen 9. sit 10. six. Students must write a number five or six digits long and then say their number using only the corresponding words. For example, if the student’s number is 23354, they’d have to say “berry, kitchen, kitchen, three, chicken.” Students take turns listening and trying to guess the other student’s number.

Check out other ESL pronunciation games.

Never-Ending Story

Students form a circle (this can be as a whole class or in small groups). Write a sentence that could start a story, ideally incorporating vocabulary or grammar from the day’s lesson. Give the sentence to the first student, who continues the story by writing the second sentence before she passes it to the next student, who continues. At the end of the circle, have a student read the completed story. It is sure to get a laugh!

Your Day in Emojis

Using your phone, make a pictorial representation of any day in your recent past using only emojis. Take a screenshot, and then share it with your students (either give them handouts or display it on your screen if teaching online). Individually, with partners, or in groups, have students make simple past sentences about your emojis.

For example, using the photo above, which represents a Saturday, they could say something like, “She slept in. She woke up and ate breakfast. She watched some TV. Then, she went to the park for a run. Next, she went home and read while she listened to music. Later, she got a coffee with her friends. Finally, she went home and slept.” It’s funny to see what your students come up with! Whichever student/pair/team is closest to correct wins.

Afterward, have students make an emoji pictorial of their own weekends (or any day in the near past) on their phones. Then, see if the other students can figure out what they did from the emojis.

If you’re new to teaching, you’ll want to get initial training and qualification with a TEFL certificate . You can explore our online TEFL courses to get started!

Keeping young students interested and engaged can be a difficult task, but if you do, everyone in the classroom (including the teacher) benefits. These games and activities for teaching English to kids and teens can help plan effective lessons for students of all ages and levels!

Looking for ESL games for teaching kids English online? Check out our course: Games and Activities for the Online Classroom (Young Learners) .

Post by bridge.

Our diverse, global community of contributors includes experts in the field, Bridge course graduates, online and classroom-based teachers worldwide, and Bridge faculty and staff.

Want more articles like this one and other TEFL resources delivered right to your inbox?

Stay in our orbit, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

esl activities 10 year olds

Featured Jobs

esl activities 10 year olds

Resources and materials for ESL Kids teachers

ESL KidStuff



Other Materials


Teaching Resources


Become a Member

ESL Kids Classroom Games & Activities

Classroom games and activities for english kids lessons.

Worksheets for ESL Kids

Over 1,000 printable worksheets right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All worksheets are made specifically for teaching English to children. They are quick to find and easy to print.


Blindfold Guess : Blindfold a student and give him/her an object to feel. The student must guess what the object is. This works well with plastic animals as they are a little challenging to guess (I always throw in a dinosaur to spice things up!).


FREE Lesson Plans

Lots of free lesson plans to print right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All lesson plans are made specifically for teaching English to children. They are also accompanied by lots of materials.


Flashcards for ESL Kids

Over 1,500 printable flashcards right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All flashcards are made specifically for teaching English to children. They are quick to find and easy to print.

Days of the Week March: see Months March.

ESL Kids Songs

Songs for ESL Kids

Downloadable songs to pay in your lessons available right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All songs are made specifically for teaching English to children. Just download and play in your lessons.

1. Split the class into 2 or 3 teams. 2. On the board write teams 1, 2 and 3 plus the names of the team members. 3. Each team needs to designate who they are going to dress. 4. Write items of clothing (between 4 and 6 items) under each group. 5. Tell the children that the first team to dress their person is the winner. Tell them to 'get ready', count down and then empty a bin bag of clothes on the floor.

The kids loved this game. Even the 2 children who wanted to sit out and watch were screeching with laughter. To add a bit more fun, if the team has chosen to dress a boy in their group I add 'dress' or 'skirt' to their list. (Submitted by G Holwill)

Plastic fruit

Craft Sheets for ESL Kids

Over 50 printable cut & paste craftsheets right here on ESL KidStuff. Take a look here . All craft sheets are made specifically for teaching English to children. Just print and use in your lessons.

Free ESL Teacher's Resources

Free printable resources for ESL KidStuff teachers. Take a look here . Certificates, attendance sheets, lesson records, lesson plan templates. Just print and use in your lessons.


Picture Fun: Have students cut out a picture of a person in a magazine.  Students should describe the person, how old they are, what their job is, what their hobbies are, etc. and then present that person to the class.  This is good for practicing adjectives.  (Submitted by Kelly).


ESL students all over the world can address custom essay writing service with 24/7 online team of ENL writers.

Join ESL KidStuff!

Full access to all resources on ESL KidStuff including lesson plans, flashcards, worksheets, craft sheets, song downloads, classroom readers, flashcards app and songs app.

Sounds good, right? Register Today!

Register now, only us$34 for a 1 year membership for access to all of our materials..

ESL Activities

ESL Games, Activities, Lesson Plans, Jobs & More

in Speaking

ESL Activities for Kids: Games and Fun Ideas for the TEFL Classroom

If you’re looking for some fun ESL activities and games for kids, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for everything you need to know ESL lessons for kids!


ESL activities for kids

Let’s get into the best ESL kids’ games and activities to try out in your lessons. Have some more fun in class!

ESL Activities for Kids

The key to happy, engaged students is a wide variety of interesting games and activities. Nobody likes doing the same old thing class after class, right? It’s easier than ever to design fun lesson plans for kids with some of these good activities you can try out today.

Without further ado, let’s get to the ideas for an ESL activity for kids to spice up your classroom.

#1: Password Vocabulary Game

It’s also ideal to help students remember new words and it’s actually one of my favourite guessing game ideas. After all, learning vocabulary is all about repetition and we can help our students do that in our classes.

More details here :  Password.

#2: Role Plays for ESL/EFL Students

This is one of the best things you can do with low-level students because it gives them confidence that they’re able to handle different kinds of real-life situations.  You can adjust the size and number of the blanks in the conversation depending on the level of your students.

It’s a great way to help students learn correct sentence structure.

Learn how to set them up here: ESL Role-Plays .

#3: Running Dictation: A 4-Skills ESL Activity

If you want to get some energy into your classes, try out this ESL activity for kids. However, it’s not great for young children, so 10+ only.

It’s really, really fun and also practices all 4 skills at the same time which actually makes it the holy-grail of ESL activities! Plus, it gets students up and out of their seats as they race around the class to get all the clues.

You can use it to work on review for grammar and vocabulary from previous units. Or, use it to introduce some new concepts at the beginning of a chapter. The basic requirement is that students can read, write and handle spelling at a basic level.

You can find out more here:

Running Dictation, a fun ESL Activity to Try Out Today | ESL 4-skills Dictation Passages Game

#4: Taboo English Vocabulary Game

This is a fun game for those party days at your school where you actually want to slip a bit of English learning in there in a kind of sneaky way. It makes an excellent way to review vocabulary with your children.

Learn how to play this fun ESL Speaking game for children here: Taboo .

#5: Rock-Scissor-Paper ESL Activity

What kid doesn’t love rocks-scissors-paper? You can adapt it and turn it into a fun ESL activity for kids that will have your students coming back for more!

One of the best things about this one is that it works best for larger classes. So, if you’ve got some serious numbers in your class, consider using this game.

Find out more here about one of the best ESL activities for kids:   Rocks-Scissor-Paper.

#6: Board Games for ESL Students

Board games are another one of my favourite activities for kids. You can learn more about how I use them in my classes in this short video below. Help students learn English by having some fun at the same time!

ESL Board Games: Try out a TEFL Speaking Board Game for Students Today

#7: 3 Things ESL Writing Activity

If you want to have some fun with English writing, then consider this 3 things activity. It’s simple, requires nothing in the way of preparation and makes a nice filler. Learn more about it right here:

3 Things Writing Activity .

#8: Holiday Activities and Games

Kids love to talk about popular holidays in English! And there are a ton of games and activities you can do for each of them.  Have some fun with popular North American holidays with your students today. Here are  some of our top picks:

Valentine’s Day Activities

Easter Activities

Christmas Games and Activities

#9: Activities for Telling Time

Learning how to tell time is a classic unit in almost all ESL textbooks for kids. The thing I like best about it is that there so so many fun activities you can do with it. Here are some of the best ideas:

ESL Telling Time Activities .

#10: Activities and Games for Body Parts

Parts of the body is another one of those units or topics that you can find it almost any  ESL textbook for children. There are so many fun games you can do with it that it’s a unit I enjoy teaching. Here are some of the best ideas:

ESL Body Part Games .

5 Body Parts ESL Activities, Games, Vocabulary, Lesson Plans + More | Teaching ESL for Kids + Teens

#11: ESL Whiteboard Games

I’m not sure why, but almost all students love to write on the whiteboard. Maybe it’s the novelty factor of it? Whatever the case, there are lots of fun, engaging relay type activities that you might want to try out with your ESL classes for kids. Here are some of the best recommendations:

ESL Whiteboard Games .

#12: A to Z Game

This is a quick warmer or time-filler activity that can be used with just about any topic but it works particularly well with animals or jobs. The way it works is that in pairs, students write the alphabet on a piece of paper. Then, they try to think of one word for each letter related to a certain topic. They don’t have to do it in order and the winner is the team with the most words at the end of the allotted time.

Find out all the details here: A-Z Alphabet Game .

A Quick ESL Warm-Up Activity: A to Z Game | Try out this TEFL Alphabet Vocabulary Game

#13: Songs and Chants for Kids

One of the best things for teaching English to kids is to bring some songs and chants into your classroom. Except if you’re not good at singing like me, it can be a bit intimidating. Not to worry though! YouTube is your best friend here.

#14: ESL Number Activities

Kids often have a very basic understanding of numbers in English so reviewing and improving skills related to this can often be a great use of class time. There are lots of options for activities and games to help make learning numbers in English more memorable. Here are a few of our favourites:

ESL Number Activities and Games .

#15: Family and Family Tree Activities

Family is a classic topic for kids to study in English class! You may even consider getting them to make a family tree for a homework assignment, or consider doing it in class. Here are some of the best recommendations:

ESL Family and Family Tree Activities .

#16: Postcard ESL Writing Activity

Who doesn’t like getting or writing a postcard, right? If you have some old, blank postcards or can your hands on some cheap ones, then you’ll want to consider this simple ESL writing activity. It’s ideal for kids from beginners or advanced.

Do you want to try it out? Learn more here: Postcards Writing Activity .

ESL Kids Games and Activities

#17: ESL Reading Activities

If in doubt, working on English reading skills for kids is never a bad thing! That’s because reading is often the foundation upon which the other skills are based. If you can’t read well, how can you learn vocabulary? It’s difficult! Here are some of the top picks for activities that focus on this important skill:

ESL Reading Comprehension Activities .

#18: Giving an Opinion ESL Games and Activities

Everyone likes giving their opinion, right? It’s a common topic in many ESL textbooks and is often related to clothes, food or travel. If you want to see some of the best ideas for teaching this unit to children, then you’ll want to check out the following resource:

Expressing Opinions ESL Activities .

#19: Halloween ESL Activities and Games

What kid doesn’t love celebrating Halloween? It’s just a time of pure fun and excitement! If you want to celebrate this popular holiday with your students, then you’ll need to check out these ideas here:

Halloween ESL Activities .

#20: Word Challenge Spelling Game

Spelling is an important but often neglected writing and vocabulary skill. That’s why I like to devote a bit of time to it in my classes.

One of the best ways to do this is to play this word challenge game. Students have to race to write the correctly spelled word on the whiteboard. Of course, you can tailor it to whatever vocabulary you’ve been teaching lately.

Want to find out all the details? You can see it here:

ESL Spelling Whiteboard Game .

#21: Typhoon

Try out this fun game for all ages! It’s ideal for reviewing just about anything.

Typhoon ESL Speaking & Listening Activity | A fun ESL review game for all ages

#22: Flashcard Game

Need some more ideas for using flashcards in the classroom? Check this out: ESL Flash Card Games.

#23: Me Too!

This is a simple but fun ESL speaking and listening activity that requires absolutely nothing in the way of preparation or materials. What English teacher doesn’t like to have a few of these in their back pocket, right?

The way it works is that a student says a fact about themselves to find out who also has this fact in common. Want to find out how to play? You can see all the details right here:

Me Too! ESL Class Activity .

#24: Vocabulary Quiz for Kids (Name 5 Things)

Easy English Quiz For Kids: Name 5 Things | Games and Fun Ideas for the TEFL Classroom

#25: Man/Woman on the Street Interview Activity

If you want to elicit some opinions from your students for just about anything, try out this man or woman on the street interview activity. It’s perfect for working on question forms and is heavy on the listening and speaking. It’s a fun way to get some interaction going on in a TEFL classroom! Learn more about it in this article:

ESL Interview Activity: Man/Woman on the Street .

#26: Freeze Writing Activity

Group writing activities are few and far between! However, this is a fun, engaging and interactive one that you might consider trying out in your children’s TEFL classes. Take a look at this activity here:

Freeze Group Writing Activity .

#27: Puzzle Finder ESL Activity for Kids

Kids love puzzles and this ESL activity makes great use of them. It’s an excellent icebreaker activity that will challenge your students and also get them talking and mingling with all their classmates.

The best part? Students NEED to talk to each other to complete the activity. Love it? I know that I sure do.

More details about the Puzzle Finder Activity.

#28: Apples to Apples Speaking Game for Kids

Apples to Apples is a really fun way to help your students remember some vocabulary,  plus have a ton of fun in the process. This ESL Speaking activity is perfect for a “game-day” when you want to actually do something educational, but awesome!

More details about Apples to Apples for ESL students.   It’s one of the best ESL speaking activities for kids so try it out today.

#29: I’m an Alien ESL Speaking Activity for Children

TEFL Warmer Activity for kids: I

What kid isn’t interested in aliens? This ESL Speaking activity is a fun warm-up where you create a mission and the students have to help you complete it. Try it out and you’ll have the kids begging to do it again in another class! Its an excellent way to generate interest in a topic and activate prior knowledge, but in a way that is fun, engaging and awesome.

More details about I’m an Alien.

#30: Information Gap Activities

I LOVE to use information gap games and activities in my class. Basically, they force students to talk to each other to find out the information that they don’t have. Try out this style of speaking activity for children with some of these fun ideas:

ESL Information Gap Activities and Games .

Jigsaw Activities and Games on the Let

#31: Yes or No Question Activities 

Yes and no questions and answers are one of the first grammar concepts that English learners learn. It’s simple and easy to understand and there are plenty of ESL speaking games for children to go along with it. To see some of the top picks, be sure to take a look right here:

Yes/No Question Activities.

#32: Find Someone Who Bingo

Try out this fun speaking activity for children if you want to help them get to know others at the beginning of the semester. Basically, students have to talk to each other to find out information about their classmates in order to fill in their Bingo board. It’s for this reason that this activity works better for slightly older and more advanced students.

Want to give it a try? You can see check it out here:

Find Someone Who Bingo Game .

#33: Ball Toss Fun Speaking Game for Young Learners

If you want to have a little fun and get your kids speaking English as well, then try out Ball Toss. It’s ideal because it lends itself to almost any vocabulary set or grammar topic.

It’s time to create a bit of excitement in your classes for children! Find out more here:

ESL Ball Toss Game .

#34: ESL Clothing Quiz

Try out this fun, interactive online game with your students:

Clothing Vocabulary Guessing Game | Easy Vocabulary game for English beginners

#35: Hot Potato

You probably played hot potato when you were a kid, but it also makes an excellent ESL speaking activity. The way it works is that when the timer stops, the student holding the “potato” is shown a flashcard and has to say the word (beginners) or answer a question about it (intermediate/advanced).

You can adapt this to almost any level, even the total beginner who knows only a few words of English. It’s really that easy!

More information about how to play Hot Potato.

#36: Dictogloss Speaking Activity ESL

A challenging listening and speaking activity for kids is Dictogloss. The way it works is that you have to find a reading passage, but then read it out at a faster than normal pace. Students have to take some notes and then work together to recreate what they heard through speaking.

Sounds like something you want to try? Find out all the details here: ESL Dictogloss Activity.

#37: Mystery Box Game for Young Learners

A fun oral activity for kids who are learning English is Mystery Box. The way it works is that you fill a box or bag with secret objects. Then, students have to reach their hand in and depending on the level, either describe what they feel (smooth, rough, hard, rectangular) or simply say the vocabulary word and take the item out.

Find out more information about this fun speaking game that kids love here: ESL Mystery Box Game .

#38: 20 Questions

20 Questions ESL Speaking Game | 20 Questions For TEFL Students of All Ages and Levels

#39: Idiom Activity

Idioms are a common part of the English language so you may want to try out this memorable activity to help your students remember them forever!

Students choose (or you can give them) a common English idiom. Then, they have to draw it literally, do some research about the meaning in English and then use it in a sentence.

Finally, the speaking part comes in where they have to present their findings to the class. Sounds like a fun multi-skill ESL activity? It is! Learn more here: ESL Idiom Activity.

#40: Brainstorming Activities

I love to use some brainstorming activities and games in my ESL classes for kids. They are perfect for getting some creative juices flowing and they make a nice warmer or review activity too.

Sounds like a good idea to you? Here are some of the top recommendations: Brainstorming Activities and Games .

#41: Don’t Forget about ESL Warmers

ESL Warm-Up Activities with Jackie Bolen and Jennifer Smith | Lets talk TEFL Podcast

#42: Daily Schedules ESL Speaking Activities

If you’re looking for a great topic, then consider daily schedules or routines. It’s simple, easy to teach and most students find it quite interesting, from kids to teens to adults.

Want to find out the best ideas for this lesson? Have a look here: Daily Schedule ESL Activities.

#43: Ideas for Teaching Young Learners

#44: directions esl games and activities.

Giving and getting directions is a fun unit for kids! There are just so many games and activities to do with it, including things like information gap activities and bumbling blindfolds that can create a bit of excitement in the classroom.

Find out the top choices here: ESL Directions Activities .

#45: ESL Food and Drink Games and Activities

ESL Food activity games for all ages and levels | 10 Food and drink games for ESL teachers

#46: Feeling and Emotions Activities for Children

It’s never wasted time to teach kids how to express their feelings and emotions in English. There are lots of ways to do that! Check out some of my top recommendations:

Feelings Emotions Activities and Games .

#47: Last Day of Class Ideas

There are a ton of fun things you can do with kindy kids on the last day of class. Have a look here for some fun ideas:

Things to do on the last day of school. 

#48: Easy Debate Topics

I love to get my students talking about interesting things in my class! Having a simple debate is a fun way to do this. Here are some of my favourite topics:

Easy Debate Topics .

#49: First Day of Class Activities for Kids

First Lesson Ideas for New English Teachers | ESL Icebreakers and Introduction Games

#50: There Is/There Are Games

One of the first concepts that English learners learn is there is/there are. It’s a key grammatical concept that any English student has to master. Here are some of my top ideas for teaching it:

There is there are games .

Like these ESL Activities for Kids?

Do you like these ESL games and activities for kids? Then you’re going to love this book: 101 ESL Activities for Kids 7+ . It’s lesson planning made easy, guaranteed.

There are dozens of fun, engaging activities for speaking, listening, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary, as well as warm-ups and icebreakers. It’s the book that belongs on every ESL teacher’s bookshelf for easy and simple lesson planning.

You can find an activity to supplement just about any topic or grammar point. The book is well-organized into sections so you’ll able to find what you’re looking for quickly and easily.

The book is available on Amazon in both print and digital formats. If you download the Kindle reading app, you can read the book on any device including your computer or smartphone. It’s easier than ever to plan lessons on the go.

You can check out 101 ESL Activities for Kids over on Amazon

ESL Games for Kids FAQs

There are a number of common questions that people have about ESL games and activities for teaching kids, as well as teaching ESL to children in general. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.

How can I teach English to ESL kids?

Teaching English to ESL kids is easy with these tips:

What is required to teach ESL to children?

Qualifications in terms of what is required to teach ESL to children vary from country to country and job to job. However, some basic requirements for most places are a bachelor’s degree and a criminal record check. Beyond that, a TEFL or TESOL certificate will certainly be useful and in some cases, required.

How can I teach new words to young learners?

How to Teach ESL Kids New Words (Kindergarten, Young Learners) | ESL TEFL Vocab Activities & Games

How can I start teaching English to beginners?

Teaching English to beginners can be challenging. But, here are a few tips for doing it well.

What is the best English teaching method?

What is the Grammar-Translation Method of Teaching ESL/EFL?: Learn about this old-school approach!

English teaching methods have changed considerably over the years. The direct method and the grammar-translation method have fallen out of favour and these days, most people are proponents of task-based learning or communicative language teaching.

How can I teach ESL speaking to kids?

Teaching ESL Speaking (Let

ESL Lesson Plans for Kids

If you teach ESL to kids and want to see some ESL lesson plans for children, then have a look at some of our favourite resources:

ESL Kids Stuff

British Council Teaching English

One Stop English

ESL Activities for Kids: Have Your Say!

What’s your favourite ESL activity or fun English game for kids? Did you try one of the games or activities from this list?  Leave a comment below and let us know your English teaching secrets! We’d love to hear from you.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful teaching resource.

Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Jackie

Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 60 books for English teachers and English learners, including Business English Vocabulary Builder and 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

You can find her on social media at: YouTube Facebook Pinterest TikTok LinkedIn Instagram

Top Selling ESL Activity Book

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

More ESL Activities and Games

Esl activities for kindergarten: fun esl kindergarten activities, buy nothing day esl activities, games, lessons & worksheets, what is discourse in language learning | classroom discourse definition, past continuous activities, games, worksheets & lesson plans esl, about, contact, privacy policy.

Best-selling author and English teacher Jackie Bolen has been talking ESL activities and games since 2015. The goal is to bring you the best ideas, lesson plans, and activity recommendations for your TEFL classes.

Get in touch: About + Contact

Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

Email: [email protected]

Address: 2436 Kelly Ave, Port Coquitlam, Canada

ESL Speaking

Games + Activities to Try Out Today!

in Activities for Kids

Kids ESL Speaking Games & Activities | English Speaking Games Children var cid='2931817920';var pid='ca-pub-3692742435206561';var slotId='div-gpt-ad-eslspeaking_org-box-2-0';var ffid=1;var alS=1001%1000;var container=document.getElementById(slotId);var ins=document.createElement('ins');ins.id=slotId+'-asloaded';ins.className='adsbygoogle ezasloaded';ins.dataset.adClient=pid;ins.dataset.adChannel=cid;ins.style.display='block';ins.style.minWidth=container.attributes.ezaw.value+'px';ins.style.width='100%';ins.style.height=container.attributes.ezah.value+'px';container.style.maxHeight=container.style.minHeight+'px';container.style.maxWidth=container.style.minWidth+'px';container.appendChild(ins);(adsbygoogle=window.adsbygoogle||[]).push({});window.ezoSTPixelAdd(slotId,'stat_source_id',44);window.ezoSTPixelAdd(slotId,'adsensetype',1);var lo=new MutationObserver(window.ezaslEvent);lo.observe(document.getElementById(slotId+'-asloaded'),{attributes:true});

Let’s be real. Teaching English to kids sometimes isn’t easy. They are often not that interested in speaking English to each other, or to you! That’s why you’ll need a variety of speaking activities for kids to keep things fresh and interesting.


Kids ESL Speaking Activities and Games

A variety of fun, engaging speaking games for kids is the key to success. Keep on reading for my top picks for speaking games for kids that are proven to work in the ESL classroom.

Best Kids ESL Speaking Games Top 5 ESL Flashcard Games and Activ... Please enable JavaScript Top 5 ESL Flashcard Games and Activities for Kids | Fun Ideas for ESOL Flashcards for Children

If you’re looking for some fresh new ideas for Kids ESL speaking games, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my top games that I like to use in my own classes. These ESL activities for children are guaranteed to make your life easier because you can plan interesting, engaging and fun lessons without spending a lot of time on it.

#1: Password

Password is a fun ESL speaking game that is challenging, interesting and fun. It makes an excellent way to review some vocabulary that you’ve taught at the end of the class. You can also use this a warm-up at the beginning of the next one. I love to review vocabulary with my students and this is a great way to do that.

Check out this post for more details: Password ESL Speaking Game.

#2: Disappearing Text

If you’re looking for a fun filler activity that helps students remember vocabulary and sentence structure, try out this game. You write up a full sentence on the board, and gradually erase it, word by word. The challenge is that students have to remember what disappeared and say it back to you. It’s also an excellent way to catch any sort of pronunciation mistakes that your students might be making.

More details: Disappearing Text Game.

#3: Charades Kids Speaking Game

If you’re looking for a fun ESL game for a party or activity class, you’ll need to try out charades. It’s a sneaky way to review some vocabulary as well and is probably more beneficial for the students than just playing Uno or something like that. I love to review in a fun, engaging way and this ESL game does just that.

More details about how to set this activity up: Charades ESL Speaking Game.

Speaking activities for primary students

#4: Find Someone Who Speaking Bingo

If you want to have some fun and help your students get to know each other at the beginning of the semester, you’ll need to try out this version of Bingo. It’s one of my favourite Kids ESL speaking games and I use it in most of my classes. It’s a nice variation on traditional Bingo because the kids are up out of their seats, moving around and talking to their classmates. It actually requires students to be active, instead of being very passive as they usually are in traditional Bingo.

More details: Find Someone Who Bingo Game.

#5: ESL Board Games

I love to play board games in real life, so I make my students play ESL ones in my classes. They always have a really fun time and want to play again the next time! You can make ESL board games for just about any sort of grammatical concept and they only take a few minutes to make once you get the hang of it.

Quick tips: have a small prize for the winner in each group to make it a bit more fun. To “roll” the dice, it can be pretty loud with actual dice. I get each group to use two coins instead. 2 heads =5, 1 head, 1 tail = 3, 2 tails = 1.

Check out this short video where I explain how I use ESL board games in my own classes.

Board Games for ESL/EFL | Using Board Games in the English Learning Classroom

#6: Chain Spelling

A fun way to review key vocabulary words is to play chain spelling. Not only is it great for review but it also has the added advantage of requiring absolutely nothing in the way of preparation or materials. It’s always nice to have a few of these in the back pocket, right?

Want to know more? Here are the details you need:

ESL Chain Spelling Activity for Kids .

#7: ESL Presentations for Children

If your students are a bit older and more advanced in their English skills, then you might consider incorporating some presentations into your classes. Even simple ones that require speaking for 30 seconds to 1 minute can be a valuable exercise.

There are plenty of topics and ideas for presentations to choose from here:

ESL Presentations .

#8: Would You Rather ESL Speaking Game for Kids

If you’re looking for a quick speaking activity that’s ideal for a warm-up, then consider trying out Would you Rather? For example, would you rather break your right arm or left leg?

The way it works is that students have to choose between two options and then explain why they made that choice. Students can make their own questions for a partner or you can make a list for them to ask each other. Want to know more? Find out all the details here:

ESL Would You Rather Speaking Activity .

#9: ESL Pronunciation Activities and Games

A big part of English speaking is pronunciation. After all, you can know the word but if you can’t say it correctly, your conversation partner won’t be able to understand you.

The good news is that there are lots of ESL speaking games for kids that deal with this important area. Check out some of our top choices here:

ESL Pronunciation Games .

#10: Hot Potato Speaking Activity for Children

If you want to create a bit of a buzz in your classes, then consider trying out one of my favourite kids’ ESL speaking games. It’s exciting, can be used for a variety of topics and is an ideal way to get your students to speak English.

The way it works is that students have to pass around an object of some kind and then when the music stops, or the timer goes off, the person holding it has to do a speaking task of some kind. Learn more here:

Hot Potato Game .

Hot Potato Game: Try out this Fun ESL Speaking Activity for Kids

#11: Telephone ESL Speaking Game for Kids

I love to share games and activities that require absolutely nothing in the way of preparation or materials. Telephone is one such activity and the even better news is that you can tailor it to whatever theme, grammar point or vocabulary set that you want.

Have some fun with your kids today with this speaking, listening and pronunciation game:

ESL Telephone Game for Children .

#12: Running Dictation 

Running Dictation, a fun ESL Activity to Try Out Today | ESL Dictation Passages Game

#13: Likes and Dislikes

A very common grammatical structure for kids to learn is like/dislikes and I find that it usually goes over very well. Most kids have strong preferences for foods, sports (more ideas: Sports ESL Games ) and people they either like or don’t like which makes it a great conversation activity for kids.

Here are some of the best ideas for how to get the conversation ball rolling:

ESL Like/Dislike Activities .

#14: Draw a Picture

This is a fun speaking activity for children that you can try out in your classes. The way it works is that one person has a secret picture that they need to describe, using English to their partner who draws it. Things like monsters or aliens work quite well for this purpose.

It’s fun, interactive and ideal for working on both speaking and listening skills. The results are usually hilarious too! Learn how to do it here:

Draw a Picture Speaking Activity.

#15: Flashcards Talking Game for Kids

In my opinion, flashcards are one of the most underutilized ESL teaching tools. They can be used for so many purposes and there are lots of talking games that can be played. To find out some of the ways to use them in  your classes, have a look:

ESL Flashcards.

#16: More Ideas for Teaching Young Learners on Let’s Talk TEFL

#17: dialogue substitution.

In most ESL textbooks, new vocabulary or grammar are introduced through a reading passage. But, maybe your students are kind of like mine and just blow through them without really paying attention to what they’re reading. Of course, it’s not their fault. It’s that they don’t really have a reason to pay attention to what they’re reading.

Instead, a better way is to remove some of the words. Then it turns it from strictly a reading activity to one that’s focused on meaning, as well as conversation because students have to listen to what their partner is saying.

Have a look at this English speaking for kids activity:

Dialogue Substitution .

Dialogue substitution, a Quick ESL reading and speaking activity | Dialogue for ESL Students

#18: Picture Prompt

An excellent way to get the conversation started with kids is to use some pictures. Then, depending on the level of the students, you can elicit some words, ask what the people are doing, or get students to relate their own lives to the picture in some way. Here are some more ideas:

ESL Picture Prompt.

#19: How to Teach Kids New Words

How to Teach ESL Kids New Words (Kindergarten, Young Learners) | ESL TEFL Vocab Activities & Games

#20: Animal ESL Activities and Games

If you want to get kids speaking English, then talk about animals! Young learners love this and I find that this unit is one of the best in terms of engagement and interest.

The good news is that are so many interactive and fun things you can do related to this unit. Here are some of the best ideas:

ESL Animal Activities and Games .

ESL speaking games for children

#21: Typhoon

This is a fun review game that students of all ages love. It’s best for the class before an exam of some kind and for smaller classes so that everyone can participate.

Whenever I play it, the students talk about it for weeks and keep asking me to play again! Try it out for yourself:

#22: ESL Basketball Challenge, a Talking Game for Kids

Basketball ESL Game .

#23: Vocabulary Quiz for Children

Easy English Quiz For Kids: Name 5 Things | Games and Fun Ideas for the TEFL Classroom

#24: Classroom Expressions and Phrases

I love to spend time at the beginning of the semester teaching classroom English. It just makes the rest of the course go that much more smoothly if students are able to understand basic directions in English, as well as ask to go to the bathroom, etc. Have a look here at some of the activities I use to teach this:

Classroom Language ESL .

ESL Activities for Kids FAQs

There are a number of common questions that people have about fun ESL games and activities for children. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.

How can I sound like a native English speaker?

Contractions and Connected Speech | Tips on how to speak English like a native speaker!

How can I teach ESL to kids?

It’s possible to teach ESL kids in an engaging and interactive way by using some of the following ideas:

How do you deal with difficult ESL students?

You may run across difficult ESL students occasionally. Here are a few tips for getting back on track.

How can I teach ESL to beginners?

Teaching ESL to beginners can be a little bit difficult but keep in mind the following things:

How can I make English fun for kids?

It really is possible to make learning English fun for kids. Just be sure to include lots of songs and chants into lessons, always set the context for new grammar and vocabulary, encourage movement in the classroom and be sure to use a variety of interactive and student-centred ESL activities and games.

Like These Kids ESL Speaking Games for Children? 

Did you find these kids ESL speaking games useful? Then you’ll need to check out 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Kids (7+) . It’ll make your lesson planning easier, guaranteed.

I wrote the book because I was so sick of searching around on the Internet for some fun, engaging and awesome ESL games and activities but finding only junk. I wasted so much time that it was ridiculous! This book has 39 ESL activities that you can actually use in your classes to add some variety and keep your students engaged and interested in your lessons.

How are the Speaking Activities Organized?

Each activity starts off with a brief overview so that you can see, at a glance whether or not it’s the right one for your students. Then, it gets into the detailed, step-by-step instructions that start off with the prep you need to do before class (usually very minimal), then what happens during the activity with the students, and then some optional follow-up.

Of course, don’t forget to read the teaching tips. They’ll help make the speaking game even better. And, they’ll also help you to avoid some of the most common things that can go wrong with each specific one.

Where Can I Get it?

Does it sound like the book of speaking activities for kids that you need in your life? It probably is if you teach English to kids!

You can get the book on Amazon, in both digital and print formats. The (cheaper!) digital book can be read on any smartphone, tablet, Mac or PC simply by downloading the free Kindle reading app. It’s some ESL teaching awesome, guaranteed!

Have your Say about these Speaking Games for Kids

Do you have a go-to speaking activity or game for kids? Any tips or tricks for doing it the awesome way? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.

Fun speaking activities for kids

Last update on 2022-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Jackie

Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 60 books for English teachers and English learners, including 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults and 1001 English Expressions and Phrases . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

You can find her on social media at: YouTube Facebook TikTok Pinterest Instagram

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Our Top-Seller

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

More ESL Activities

Hot debating topics and hot topics of discussion for all ages, funny, controversial, & good debate topics | things to debate about, ielts listening band score table: how it’s calculated, approaches and methods in language teaching: clt, tpr, about, contact, privacy policy.

Jackie Bolen has been talking ESL speaking since 2014 and the goal is to bring you the best recommendations for English conversation games, activities, lesson plans and more. It’s your go-to source for everything TEFL!

About and Contact for ESL Speaking .

Privacy Policy and Terms of Use .

Email: [email protected]

Address: 2436 Kelly Ave, Port Coquitlam, Canada

TEFL Lemon: Free ESL lesson ideas and great content for TEFL teachers

 ESL Games for Kids and Interesting Teaching Activities for Children

Each week, we try to add new ESL Games for Kids to the already extensive list of other interesting ESL teaching activities for children available on this page. If you value good English language games, ESL games for kids and other craft ideas for children as part of a balanced ESL experience for your children , then you’ve found the right website at TEFL Lemon .

Come to this page if you teach ESL to kids and need free TEFL teaching resources . Playing good ESL games with your children is an essential part of not only their English learning and acquisition , but it is also better for the fun of your class and you’ll enjoy teaching English with your kids more, too! If you have some fun classroom ideas for kindergarten and primary levels , or classroom ESL games for kids to share with us, then please message us at TEFL Lemon and we will publish your English teaching games for children and will credit you for your ideas!

Colourful cup.jpg

Colourful Cups

An easy EFL game for kids to practice English skills. You'll make colorful cups and ask English questions to your kids. You’ll put a little coloured dot on the bottom of 20 paper cups with each colour worth different points. The team with most points at the end is the winner…oh, and you’ll need to find the hidden coin, too!

Snakes and Ladders.jpg

Snakes and Ladders for ESL

Snakes and Ladders is a common game from everyone's childhood, yet strangely often gets overlooked or forgotten within the ESL classroom. This is a shame, because Snakes and Ladders is an excellent TEFL classroom tool for language acquisition. Playing Snakes and Ladders provides an excellent platform for review work within a class of both younger or older children.

Clothes Cups long.jpg

Clothes Cups

Teaching ‘clothes’ vocabulary is one of the most common themes in any ESL syllabus for children. This wonderful craft activity to teach clothes words to kids is a real winner, with lots of speaking involved, too.

angry adverbs website.jpg

Angry Adverbs

Adverbs give more information to a verb in a sentence. This ESL game for kids help teach children (and older students too!) to understand adverbs and how they can be used in sentences. Your kids will gain confidence in speaking and be able to use accurate sentences through this awesome adverb TEFL card game.

Ups vs Downs cups.jpg

Ups vs Downs

This ESL classroom game is so simple it's genius! For this ESL game for kids, you'll need 20 plastic or paper cups. Colour the rims of your paper cups red and the base of the same paper cups blue. Make a large space in your classroom and place the cups on the floor in a 4 x 5 grid. Put ten of the cups the right way up with the red rim showing, with another ten upside down with the blue base showing. Divide your kids into two teams; red and blue. Prepare a load of questions, either from your English text book, realia or some ESL flashcards... 

Balloon Voleyball.jpg

Balloon Volleyball

A nice high-energy ESL game for kids, but not too crazy, as you can control the kids’ movements. You’ll be reviewing vocabulary from previous lessons in this very cool and easy to set up ESL game for kids. All you need is space and a balloon. Clear a big area in your English classroom and divide your ESL students into two teams. Put a line of chairs down the middle of the classroom to divide it into two halves. Have your students spread out on each side of the 'net' like two volleyball teams ....

Pass the Cabbage400.jpg

Pass the Cabbage

We've all played pass the parcel at birthday parties or at Christmas, passing the gift around the circle with fast background music on and when the music stops, the person holding the gift must take a layer of wrapping off. This cool kids ESL game is a take on that, using printed pictures or written words as wrapping!

Wrap up a sweet or candy with printed pictures. Keep wrapping the sweet until you get a big cabbage-like ball and pass the cabbage around to music….

Box 400.jpg

This is a fantastic review activity for your class and is perfect if you have an old cardboard box sitting around doing nothing in your house. Choose some key English vocabulary which the ESL class has been studying in the last few weeks.

You can either play this ESL game with kids or you can actually play this ESL game as an adults speaking activity, too.  

Hot Marker.jpg

The problem with Chinese Whispers, especially in China where I teach, is that children often try to get an advantage by shouting what the message is down to the front of the line, missing out half the line, rather than whispering the message from person to person. The children will 'win' the game, without practicing their English skills. 'Hot Marker' aims to stop this happening.

This ESL game for kids will turn a good language activity (‘Chinese whispers’) into a better-managed version with your kids unable to cheat and have to play the ESL game correctly.

Ball and Sack.jpg

The Ball & Sack

For this ESL activity for kids, you'll need a sack (any bag will do really), a ball of any size, bits of paper and a pen.

A super-simple ESL review activity for children. Before class, get a load of slips of paper and write questions on them appropriate to the level of your kids. Divide your ESL class of kids into two teams and have them form two circles…


Draw the Sentence

This ESL activity for kids is ideal for slightly older kids and is better for smaller classes. If you have more than five or six children in your class, then you can simply divide your ESL class into smaller groups. The teacher writes down a sentence and the students need to alternate between drawing the sentence and writing the sentence . Once at the end of the line, the original sentence is compared to the sentence the students have created! Your kids don’t have to be brilliant artists to play this ESL review game, indeed having bad drawings makes this game even funnier for your classes. What’s that???!!

TV man.jpg

The Human Buzzer Game Show

You’ll be bringing the excitement of those famous Saturday night prime-time quiz shows into your English classrooms! Fastest fingers on the buzzer and get ready to answer the teacher’s questions!

The kids (or teens) in your class will be put into small teams and they will go absolutely crazy about this game for ESL classes. Instead of pressing a buzzer, students will be pressing down onto the head of a seated student on their team, The Human Buzzer, who will make their own buzzer sound when pressed by a team mate to answer a question. Your kids will not only be howling with laughter playing this, but importantly, reviewing English words, sentences, recent grammar points or whatever questions and things you want to review. Human Buzzer for ESL classes brings fun and quality review to your English classes.

Balloon Bang.jpg

Balloon Bang

An amazing ESL game for kids! Balloons going bang! Sentence strips flying everywhere and kids scrambling on the floor to make sense of what's come out of the balloon... sounds like a recipe for a lot of fun in your ESL classroom! 

During the week, pop into your local supermarket and grab a bag of regular balloons and bring them into your school . The idea is that, before blowing up the balloons and tying the knot, you'll be placing into the empty balloon some kind of written content. One little tip I’d have in this ESL game for children and teens is to use different coloured paper for each team. That way, when the balloons pop, all teams will easily be able to collect their sentences and start putting them into the correct order to win the game.

Running dictation.jpg

Running Dictation

Running dictation has been a staple ESL activity for English teachers for many years, passed down from veteran teacher to TEFL teaching newbie since the dawn of time.

What makes running dictation so popular among English teachers and ESL students is because it practices all four main English language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. This is one of the better ESL activities for kids out there. Both kids and adults always respond well to Running Dictation and you should aim to play this ESL game at least two or three times during your semester and you can also use Running Dictation if you are teaching short texts or dialogues.


Draw the Job

Quite often during your English teaching career, you'll find yourself teaching a unit about jobs and occupations to a class of younger learners or teens . If you're currently teaching a topic about jobs, then this ESL game for kids will fit your class perfectly.

It takes about 20-25 minutes and allows your students to practice jobs and occupations vocabulary for ESL learners. You can actually use this English game with not only jobs, but all sorts of vocabulary, making this one of the better ESL games for kids a teacher can keep up their sleeve for English classes.

Coin flipper.jpg

Coin Flipper

This ESL game for kids is especially for those classes where you're teaching kids how to tell the time .

On the whiteboard, draw 10 to 20 clock faces, all showing a different time on the clock face. Students need to come up to the whiteboard, say the time and then flip a coin. If the coin lands on heads, then the child moves their marker one clock along, if they flip a tails, they move their coin two clocks along. The first student or team to the end is the winner. If you’re teaching the time, then this is a quick English game you can throw in will need minimal resources to play the game.

Wonder Woman.jpg

Wonder Words

There are several ways that you can run with this TEFL phonics activity for children, depending on your teaching aims and the age / level of your ESL students. In a nutshell, you'll be teaching CVC blends by sticking a different letter on the back of your students and having them form words by standing in a line in the correct order.

There are two variations here: one an ESL game for younger children and another an ESL game for older children. Teaching simple phonics and reading is very important for younger children and will boost their confidence and ability to excel in English classes, particularly when they need to read ESL textbooks in the near future.


Tin Can Telephones

Long before the telephone was invented, people found that they could get two empty tin cans, attach them together using string and speak to each other over pretty long distances. These have become to be called Tin Can Phones and the chances are that you made one of these as a kid yourself.

You can make a set of Tin Can Phones at home or in English class and have the kids practicing English words, sentences or short dialogues in a really fun way!

Loads of fun speaking and listening practice for kids with this timeless ESL activity for kids. If you can make one set of Tin Can Telephones for each child, then they can take them home and practice some of the English they’ve learned in your classes with their parents for fun homework and review.


This is a really cool language ESL game for children, which is fun in the classroom and actually requires quite a bit of skill! This is an excellent speaking skills activity and you’ll notice improved speaking skills quickly in your children or teen students.

In short, your ESL students will be blowing numbered ping-pong balls off of a plate and saying sentences while they go. Later on your students repeat sentences using just single word prompts. This is probably one of the newer ESL games for kids which you may not have come across so far in your TEFL teaching career.


A good whiteboard game for larger ESL Kids’ classes. Your kids will be put into teams and answering questions on English lexis or on whether questions are grammatically correct. The idea is to try to win as much money as possible for their team and make the other teams bankrupt! For this kids ESL game, you’ll need flashcards, realia, music, printed sentences and other questions to ask your teams. A particularly good ESL game for kids, Bankrupt should last at least 30 minutes and your students will be producing and reviewing lots of language.


Snowball Fight!

In Snowball, your children will be writing information about themselves, screwing up the paper into a ‘snowball’ and then have a Snowball Fight with the other team! This ESL game for kids and teens is good for English students who are elementary level and above. Make enough photocopies so that each student has a copy (I always print out one or two more in case new students turn up).

Each student writes down their answers and screws their paper up into a ball. Now get your class into two lines facing each other. Have the two teams throw their snowballs at the other team. This is a fun way to study ESL and get your kids speaking English.


In “Meteor”, students are stood in a circle and need to quickly say vocab items as a ball or soft toy is thrown to them. To do well at this game, your kids will need to think quickly and say the words you’ve been practicing in your classes recently.

A student in the middle is trying to catch the ball . All your students will improve their vocabulary recall with this excellent ESL game for children or teenagers. Change topics frequently, so that your students can practice different English words.


Ghosts and Spiders

Ghosts and Spiders is an ESL classic whiteboard game for kids and an absolute winner if you teach Young Learners . The best thing about this ESL whiteboard game is that you need very few things to set up. Kids aged 4+ will really respond to playing Ghosts and Spiders and it will help them to review new words or simple English sentences very well.

You’ll be drawing a simple circle with sections on your whiteboard, with some of the sections containing a ghost and some other sections a spider. Teams answer questions and move their piece around the board trying to avoid the baddies! A lovely ESL game for young children.


  1. Best Activities For 10 Year Olds In London

    esl activities 10 year olds

  2. Activities for 7 Year Olds Printable

    esl activities 10 year olds

  3. English worksheet: lesson plan template

    esl activities 10 year olds

  4. Teach child how to read: Printable English Worksheets For 10 Year Olds

    esl activities 10 year olds

  5. 21 7-10 year old activities ideas

    esl activities 10 year olds


    esl activities 10 year olds


  1. Drawing Mexico 🇲🇽 Flag and Coming Back Later #shorts

  2. How to teach kids English language by activity,#shorts,#english,#englishgrammar

  3. Children ESL Activity

  4. Funny Chakar #shorts

  5. English course for kids 8-15 years

  6. 3 activities with young learners


  1. 10 Fun ESL Games and Activities for Teaching Kids English Abroad

    Increase student engagement and satisfaction through these 10 ESL games and activities. · Board Race · Call My Bluff / Two Truths and A Lie · Simon Says · Word

  2. 24 Excellent ESL games for kids

    24 Excellent ESL games for kids · 1. Fizz or Buzz with numbers · 2. Scavenger hunt · 3. Taboo - 3 minutes Time limit! · 4. Pictionary · 5. Freeze

  3. ESL Games and Activities for Kids & Teens

    Fun ESL Games and Activities for Kids & Teens · English Only! · Balloon Sentence Race · Around the World · Hot Potato · Roll the Dice, Make a

  4. ESL Kids Classroom Games & Activities

    Fly swatter game: Divide the students into 2 teams. Give the first in each team a fly swatter. Write the same array of answers on the board for each side. Ask

  5. Fun Activities and Games for Kids ( ESL/EFL Students )

    You probably played hot potato when you were a kid, but it also makes an excellent ESL speaking activity. The way it works is that when the timer stops, the

  6. ESL Games: 8 -13 year olds; no or little preperation

    ESL Games: 8 -13 year olds; no or little preperation · 1. The two finger point: lesson: teaching new words, reading+pronunciation · 2. The one

  7. English Speaking Games Children

    #1: Password · #2: Disappearing Text · #3: Charades Kids Speaking Game · #4: Find Someone Who Speaking Bingo · #5: ESL Board Games · #6: Chain Spelling · #7: ESL

  8. ESL Games for Kids and Interesting Teaching Activities for Children

    ESL Games for Kids and Interesting Teaching Activities for Children · Colourful Cups · Snakes and Ladders for ESL · Clothes Cups · Angry Adverbs · Ups vs Downs.

  9. 15 Fun ESL Games for Children to Learn in English Class

    All A-board · The Association Game · What's Wrong With Me? · Scrambled words · What am I? · The Mime Game · Hangman · Simon Says.

  10. Joyful Beginnings: 5 ESL Activities That'll Get Children Grinning

    5 Creative Ways to Teach Children ESL Through Fun Activities · 1. Art Projects. Art is a fantastic way to get your young students excited and