Re: Games for small groups?
Draw a square grid on the board. Write a series of numbers or letters in the squares of the grid. Blindfold a child and have him come up and draw a circle around the correct number or letter according to the directions given by the rest of the class. This game is great for learning up, down, left, right.
This game is great for reviewing vocabulary skills. Have two squares drawn on the board. Have the students write their names above the squares. The teacher then calls out a word and the students draw it (it could be simple nouns e.g. “dog, ball, train…” or verbs e.g. “running, flying a kite, swimming…” or adjectives e.g. “a big elephant, a small mouse, a pretty girl…”) this game can be played in teams, the correct drawing wins.
Fetch and Say:
Make two teams and have them sit at opposite ends of the classroom. Have two tables, each with a basket. In the basket have flashcards of different objects on them. Choose two children, have them stand at the tables each with their basket and call out an object. The child must find the object and run over to the board and stick it on. When they stick the picture on the board they must yell “It’s a …” I give each team a point for saying the word correctly as well as a point to the first student to stick the picture on the board, this way you can even out the points and there are no sorry losers.
Have a pre made face on a piece of paper, one for each child. Have a deck of cards with different body parts on them and a die. Have the children one by one come up and roll the die, as well as pick a card. Each time a card is chosen and a die rolled, the children must draw that on their monster, (e.g. an eye was picked and a 4 was rolled, the students must draw 4 eyes on their monster.)
Hand out a series of laminated cards to the children. Have the children then group together in pairs according to what card they have each been given. Tell the children all the motorcycles are to come to the front, then all the bused, and cars and so on. Encourage the children to say “We are motorcycles,” and have them act like a motorcycle does.
Ha, Ha, ha:
This is a contagious laughing game. Have the children lay in a zigzag formation. Each child lies with their head on the stomach of the next. The first child yells “ha!” and the next child yells “ha, ha!” and so on. Each child adds a “ha!” and soon everyone is laughing. This game can also be used to review the letters of the alphabet, numbers, whatever you chose to replace the ‘ha’ with.
Hot Potato Animal Charades:
Have a series of animal flashcards ready in an envelope. Have the class sit in a circle on the floor. While playing some music pass around a potato (or a ball, anything will work). When the music stops, in secret, show the child left holding the potato a flashcard of an animal. The child must act out the animal while the rest of the class guesses what the animal is. Encourage the children to get on all fours and make animal noises.
I Am You Are:
Sit the students in a circle or in a row. Start the game by saying” I am … You are…” The students each say “I am…”and then turn to the person next to them and say “you are…” (E.g. I am Eun Jin, you are Jae Won…”)This game can also be played by saying I am he is, or she is, he is etc… the game can be sped up to make it more difficult. As simple as this game sounds, my children actually really enjoy it.
I Like …:
Split the class in to two or more teams. Have 4 piles of flashcards ready on the other side of the room, two for each team. One pile of cards has nouns on them, the other, adjectives (you can have pictures or words, depending on the children’s level, e.g. fat, thin, or colours, yellow, red…) Tell one child from each team to go over on the count of three to run over and get a flashcard from each of their piles (2 cards). The students them must run back to you and tell you what they have in the form of a sentence e.g. if the student picks ‘orange’ and ‘elephant, they would then say: “I like orange elephants.” The first child back should get a point for his/her team, but another point should be given f or the best pronunciation.
Have everyone sit in a circle. This can be played with a ball, rolling it from one person to the next, or simply just by going around in order of how the children are seated. Start the round by stating something that you love (e.g. “I love ice cream”.) the next child then in turn sates what he/she loves and so on. To make the game more interesting, have the children not only say what they themselves like, but what the last child said that he/she liked (e.g. “She likes ice cream, I like hot dogs.”)
Make a series of oversized laminated flashcards. The cards should be large enough to stand on. Give each child a number of cards, depending on the number of students and the size of the classroom. Have the children one by one place a card on the floor and stand on it. The student is only allowed to stand on the card if they know the word for the image they are to stand on. The student to get through their cards first wins. This game can be used to review any words you have been teaching at that period of time.
I Went to a Picnic and I Brought:
This game is great for all ages, and can be played with all different sorts of topics, whatever you happen to be teaching at the time. You start off by saying I went to a picnic and I brought... an apple. The next person then says the same, but adding their own food that they brought. You continue going around the class adding to the list of things you brought to the picnic. I went to a picnic and I brought an apple, a pear, some cola, some pizza, a hamburger etc. If someone stumbles then they are out. It gets really fun when the list becomes long and even the people who are out, enjoy watching the other students struggle with trying to remember what they brought. I also play this game with animals, i went to the zoo and saw: a bear, a zebra, and a giraffe. To make it even more fun, sometimes I have my students act out the sounds and actions of that particular animal. At first they always feel shy, but they do get into it and when we try and get a tempo going, speeding the game up, it really becomes silly.
Cut out and laminate the letters of the alphabet, to make it easier, I coloured all the letters differently. Cut up all the letters into two or more pieces and hand them out to the kids. Call out the letters in alphabetic order and have the kids come up with their pieces and put the letter together. Sometimes having an example of the letter on the board is helpful too.
Letters, What’s Missing?:
This game works well if you have a series of magnetic letters, the kind you see on fridges when you were a kid, but laminated letters will also work. Put the entire alphabet on the board in order and sing the alphabet song, making sure to go slowly over the ‘L, M, N, O, and P…” Have the children hide their eyes or cover the board. Remove a few letters and ask the children to tell you what is missing. Discovering what is missing really takes them a while, singing the song repeatedly, and stopping at the missing letters really help.
Line Up True or False:
Put a line of tape on the floor and designate one side the “true” side and the other to be the “false.” Have all the children stand on the line. Hold up an object or a flashcard and say something about it. The children then have to jump from one side, or the other. You can play this game in teams, count points or have the mistaken students sit out till next game.
This game is good for practicing and learning emotions and sounds. I usually have my students sit in a circle, as long as they are in a row of some sort it will work. Pick one student to start. Give that student an emotion or a sound to act out. The next student then copies that sound or emotion and adds one to it, as does the next. It becomes a chain of sounds or emotions that become really funny and complex. The students usually can’t remember what they have to do, and laugh a lot.
There are so many different matching games I play with my children: Letter Matching Game: (Match the capitol letter to the minuscule letter.) Letter and Word Matching: (Match the first letter of a word to the picture.) Animal and Baby Matching Game: (Match the mother animal to its baby.) Animal Tops and Bottoms Matching Game: (Match the tops and bottoms of animals.) Footprints Matching Game: (Match the footprint of an animal to its owner.) Animal Home Matching Game: (Match where the animal lives, barn, forest, jungle etc…) Employment Matching Game: (Match the job or gear to its employee.) Numbers Matching Game: (Match the written number to the roman number.) The list of possible matching games goes on and on. Whenever the children make a match, I like to clap my hands and we all yell “It’s a match!!” The younger ones especially get really excited.
I use this game all the time, when it comes to reviewing. Have large flash cards with a grid of 9 or more boxes on them. In each box have a picture of something you are reviewing. Ask the children if they are ready, ask them a few times to get them excited, and then quickly sweep the card across the front of the class. I do it very fast to begin with, but then I slow it down after a few. Ask the children what they saw, ask them what colour it was, ask them how many there were.
Mother may I?
Tape rows of lines on the floor. Have the children line up, side by side behind the first line. Ask one student at a time a question (e.g. what does a cow say?) or show them a flashcard and ask them what it is. If the child answers correctly, then he/she can advance to the next line. The first child to reach the finish line wins. For the younger children, I make it so as they all win at the same time, and for the older children, I have 3 or 4 winners. This game is a great fun way to do review.
Cut out and laminate numerous animal shapes, larger enough to stand on. Play some music, and randomly stop. When the music stops have the children find an animal to step on. Go around the class and ask the children what animal they are stepping on and what sound that animal makes. You can play this game in the same way as you do musical chairs and remove one animal each round, eliminating one child per round. I have also played this game where instead of a picture of an animal, I use only the silhouette of the animal; it makes it a bit more challenging for the older kids.
This game is very similar to musical chairs, except everybody wins. Play some music and have the children dance around. When the music stops, the children find one friend to hug (explain the hugs must be gentle, nice hugs). You can make different rules, such as; when the music stops the children must find someone new to hug each time.
Sit the students in a circle. Hold up a flashcard and say what it is loudly (e.g. “pen”…”) Pass it on to the student beside you, who in turn repeats it and passes it on to the next child. To begin with it is best if you keep it slow, but it gets funnier the faster you pass out the cards. To make it even more confusing, try and switch directions you are sending the cards out.
Everybody knows Pictionary, and even though it is an old game, it is also an old favorite. This game is great especially for doing reviews. Pick a student and show him/her a flashcard. The student then must draw the picture on the board and the other children then try and guess what it is he/she is drawing. This game is also great in teams.
Pin the Tail on The Animal:
Have a laminated picture of an animal on the board. The animal should be missing a tail (or a nose, ears, whatever you like.) I use Velcro to stick on the missing body part. One by one have the children try and correctly stick the tail on to the animal; blindfolded and dizzy (I give the children a good couple spins to disorient them first.) This game is good for learning the parts of the human body, face, or just about anything and the children love it.
Separate the class into two or more teams. Put the entire alphabet on the board in a scramble of letters here and there. Have one child from each team come up to the board, when ready yell out a letter. The first person to find and circle the correct letter wins a point for their team. This game also works for numbers, words, or even pictures.
I play this game with my youngest class. They really respond to it even though it is really simple. This game can be used with a wide variety of objects or pictures of objects (plastic fruit and toys work well). One by one, I ask a student “What do you want?” (Or depending on their levels of English “What do you like?” or, “What would you like?”)The students then choose from the objects shown, and should in turn reply (e.g. “I want a banana:”, or “A banana, please”) I then say “Here you are” and hand them the item they have asked for. This game is great for teaching “please” and “thank you” as well as reviewing objects. When all the objects are gone, you can then play the “May I have” or ‘Give me “ game.
This is an old game, but always a good one. I use this game to review body parts (e.g. “Simon says touch your knees”). You can change ‘Simon’ to your name to avoid confusion, or have the children each have a turn at being ‘Simon’ and change it to their names. When you give directions without saying “Simon says” then the children are not to do it, they are only to follow your directions if Simon says to do so. I play this game with objects in the classroom too. (I tell the children to touch he door, to lie on the floor etc…)
You should have these snowballs pre-made before class with wet tissues (if wet tissues are too messy, anything heavy enough to fly that far will work, even paper airplanes). Have a series of flashcards on the board. Split the class into two or more teams. Have one child from each team stand up behind a line. Yell out an object shown on one of the flashcards at the front. Whoever gets closest to hitting the correct object, scores a point for his/her team.
This is an old game, but there are many versions I like to play with my children, and they really love it. The easiest variation of this game is to have all your children sit in a circle and whisper a word to the student sitting next to you, who in turn whispers it to the next child. The last person to receive the message says it out loud and it is usually completely backwards to what it was to begin with. Another version of this game (which I prefer to play, because I teach ESL classes) is to have the class separated into two or more teams. Have the students sit front to back in chairs in 2 rows (everyone should be facing the board at the front, which needs to be a board they can draw on.) Whisper a word, or show the last child in each row a picture and have them in turn whisper it to the person in front of them the last child to receive the message then draws it on the board. The child who draws the correct object on the board wins a point for his/her team. I like to show each team a different picture, so that they aren’t able to copy each other, or cheat by listening in.
There Is/There Are:
To practice ‘there is’ and ‘there are’, give your children a list of questions. For the younger students it is better to keep the questions limited to about the classroom. The older children, if allowed could run around the school, even the school yard to answer the questions you give them. The questions could be:
How many windows are there in the classroom (or school)?
How many doors are there in the school?
How many teachers are there in the school?
How many classes are there in the school?
How many students are there in the class?
How many chairs are there in the classroom?
For this game you need a timer (such as an egg timer or an alarm clock.) Set the timer and pass it to a student, ask him/her a question, once answered, have the child pass the timer to the next student, in turn does the same. The student left holding the timer when it goes off loses a life, or is out for the game (for my younger children, I have them write their names in the air with their bum, which they think is hysterical)
Have a supply of flashcards made (question or picture on one side, numbers or letters on the other), ‘Tornado cards’ (flashcards with numbers or letters on one side and a tornado picture on the other). Split the class into teams of two or more. Have the pile of cards at the front, picture (or question) facing down. Have a student come to the front and choose a card. If the card has a picture or question on the card, the child then tells you what the picture is of, or answers the question. If the child answers correctly, then he/she draws a line to draw a house, if the child picks a tornado card, then they blows down their opposing team’s house. The first team to complete their house wins.
What’s Missing? :
Have a series of flashcards (depicting just about anything you are reviewing) made and stick them on the board. Give the children a few moments to memorize what is on the board, turn the board around or cover it, and remove one of them. Ask the students “what’s missing?” if you are playing in teams you can play that the first student to guess what is missing wins a point for his/her team. There are many different ways I like to display the items, I have used a big fruit bowl and filled it with fruit, or, a closet filled with clothes… the options are unlimited.
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