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.

Basic Info

Time: 10 - 15 minutes
Level: Elementary grade 3 - 6
Works with: Vocabulary you can gesture
Class size: Medium to large

You will need:

  • A set of vocabulary cards for each group

Activity Description

  1. Make groups of 6~10. (Even numbers let the students come up in the same pair each time, but odd numbers ok.)
  2. Clear the room of desks and chairs. Put one desk for each group at the front of the class, each with a stack of vocabulary cards, face down. Groups start at the back of the class.
  3. From each group, two students run to the front of the class. One student takes a card (without showing the other student) and gestures what the card shows. The other student guesses.
  4. If the guess is correct, the card can be discarded; if the guess is incorrect, the card should be put back in at the bottom of the pile. The pair run back and tag the next pair to come up and repeat.

When all the cards are done successfully, the last pair run back to their group and the group sit down. First team to sit is the winner.


  • Explain to the students (usually while demonstrating with the home room teacher) that if they gestured the first time, they should try to answer the second time.


  • For junior high school: You can play this game in junior high english classes, just substitute the vocabulary cards for phrases from one of the stories or dialogues. Ex. From the New Horizon 1st Grade textbook you could play this game when you are teaching the picnic scene. The phrases "Oh no! I spilled my cola.", "Do you have any tissues?" and "No, but you can use my handkerchief." should be easy enough to gesture - You would have to get everyone to memorize each phrase before the game though, or leave all the phrases written on the board so they can refer if they can't remember the exact phrase. With the right class, it can be a lot of fun.


  • Elementary students (or any students, really) tend to be very reserved when gesturing. Motions are minimal, jerky and brief. Practicing big gestures first may help.
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