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.

Basic Info

Time: 10 minutes
Level: Elementary grade 1 - 4, Easy
Works with: Vocabulary sets (fruit, etc)
Class size: Medium to large

Lesson Description

  1. The students should be familiar with the vocabulary. Get all the students in a circle with chairs. One less chair than people playing. (I let all students start seated and put myself in the middle.)
  2. Allocate each student a fruit (or other vocab word). Students should say their word out loud.
  3. You stand in the center. Call out a fruit. Everyone who is that fruit stands and moves to a new seat. You should also try to sit down.
  4. Now that you are sitting there will be one student left in the middle. They get to choose the next group to change seats.


  • You can also call out two fruit, or even yell out "FRUIT BASKET!" and then everyone has to switch seats.
  • Make students say the number of words they are going to say before they say more than one so you don't have any false starts.
  • Try adding some dialogue - I often make all the seated students ask, at the very least, "What fruit/color/animal?" You may need to help some students if there is a reply (for example, if the question is "What fruit do you like?".
  • Have the flash cards of the fruit you are using in the game some the students can easily see so that there is an easy reference for the one in the middle.


  • This game can be used with virtually any new vocabulary in the elementary English curriculum. Just change the name and thus the "Fruit basket!" keyword that means everyone has to move.
    Alternatives for "Fruit basket!" keyword when using different vocabulary:
    • Rainbow (for colours)
    • Go to the zoo (for animals)
    • Olympics (for sports)
    • Lunch time (for random food)
    • Merry Christmas (for Christmas words)


  • Don't use too many fruit. Three fruit is usually enough. That way the kids have fun trying to get to a seat, with lots of fun rough and tumble.
  • Something that frustrates me is when students who want to stand in the middle intentionally lose. They pretend to try getting to a seat but it's plainly obvious they don't want to sit down. To avoid this, keep the game short. Also, I've noticed it tends to happen more from the 4th grade and above.
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