Elementary

English games and activities for ALTs teaching elementary classes

Fruit basket is a wonderful game for reviewing vocabulary in elementary school English lessons. Wonderful because the students know the rules and wonderful because they love to play it (obviously not the older ones). With one less chair, the game revolves around changing where you sit while trying not to be the last one left without a seat.

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The parachute game is a fun and less morbid interpretation of hangman. The mechanics of the game are very similar to hangman - students have a set number of guesses to get the answer but there are a few different ways you can play the parachute game in an elementary class.

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The bomb game is good for drilling vocab or basic conversation phrases. Students must say the target word/phrase before passing the "bomb". Everyone gets very excited playing this game but watch out because tensions can get high.

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The fly swatter game is kids whacking the blackboard with (clean, I hope) fly swats. Every teacher knows this game and students love it. Good for reviewing vocab and just having a good time.

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Karuta is a Japanese game similar to snap. It's a fun way to test listening recognition for vocabulary sets and students love this game. The bonus is that every Japanese student knows karuta so you barely have to explain the rules.

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The relay gesture game is a combination of running and gesturing as a group. It is a fun game to competitively practice any vocabulary or phrases that can be gestured.

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Guess the number is a fun game, useful for practicing numbers one to one hundred. The good thing about this game is it gets the kids to think of the numbers they want to say in English.

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Find your partner is one of the most basic games for English lessons around and so simple that you can adapt it to fit pretty much any lesson's target phrase/language or vocabulary set.

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In human bingo, each student is assigned a number, animal, etc and becomes a square in a bingo game. When all students in a group have been "crossed out", that team wins. You can use this game to practice various vocabulary sets, such as numbers, colors, animals, fruit, etc.

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The freeze game is a fun way to get the younger, energetic (or rowdy) classes to expend some energy while drilling new vocabulary. Chanting English with a lot of movement and "Freeze!" thrown in to challenge students.

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The make a snake game makes use of "paper scissors rock/janken" (which students love!) and has them walking around practicing simple English question and answer dialogue. Works in many different elementary lessons.

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The gesture game seems to have fallen out of fashion around my neck of the woods but I think it can still serve a purpose. The gesture game activity is simple and requires no extra preparation so can be used as planned or on the fly when you need to fill in an extra 5 or 10 minutes.

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Perfect for the turn left, go straight (directions) English lesson, the maze game is a popular activity. Arrange the desks and have students directing other students through the maze to find their goal.

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Blackboard memory is a vocab drilling activity that uses a memory challenge to let you vary how you are learning the lesson's English vocabulary. A great way to keep the students focused when they need more drill time.

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A classic for practicing numbers is the count around the circle game. Easy in concept, but because students tend to learn numbers once then not have much chance to use them after that, they fall out of practice. For that reason, count around the circle is also a good review warm-up for any lesson with many variations.

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