ESL Game: Monkey in the Middle

ESL Game Monkey in the Middle
28 Jun, 2018

ESL Game: Monkey in the Middle

Monkey in the Middle is a fun group activity for young learners which helps students to practice and review vocabulary of different categories. In this activity, students have to say words from a given category while trying the pass the ball without the students in the middle getting the ball.

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials required: A small ball

Skills practiced: Vocabulary (relating to different categories)

Level: All level


1. Prepare a list of categories of vocabulary you want the students to review and practice.

2. Ask the students to form a large circle

3. Select a student who will be the monkey in the game, ask the monkey (the selected student) to stand in the middle of the circle

4. Give the other students a category from the list you have. Example: Food

5. The students then toss the ball among themselves making sure that the monkey does not get it.

6. The student tossing the ball must say a word that belongs to the selected category.

7. If the monkey catches the ball, the student who tossed the ball becomes the new monkey.

8. If any student cannot say a word that belongs to the category, they become the new monkey.

9. Ensure you change the category whenever there is a new monkey.

10. Enjoy and have fun.

Note: The list of vocabulary depends on the level your students.

More Vocabulary Games
Discover more ESL vocabulary games.

Vocabulary Fortunes – This online ESL Game is a great way to practice vocabulary with teens and adults. This activity is a great way to end class.

Vocabulary Circle – A simple warmer for all ages and level.

Quick Fire Vocabulary – This vocabulary revision game is a great way to revise vocabulary with all levels and ages.

ESL Game: Derp, Derp – This activity is a simple vocabulary revision activity.

Find more games and activities weekly on our YouTube Channel


David has been teaching ESL for a number of years across Asia and Europe. He currently lives and works in Seville, Spain where he has been teaching for the past three years. He is currently studying an MA in Digital Technologies, Communication and Education in TESOL.

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