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ESL Password

“Password” is a great game that can be used again and again for revision of vocabulary. This is a game every ESL teacher should know. This game is great with kids, teens and adults and is always a popular game with groups. 

Activity Time: 10 mins +
Materials required: whiteboard.
Skills practiced: Vocabulary and spelling. 
Level: Young learners
1. Divide the class into two teams. Put a chair in front of the whiteboard facing the class. 
2. One person from one of the teams sits in the chair. Write a word on the board that team can see and not the person in the chair. The team then have to explain that word to the person in the chair without saying the word. You can set a time limit if you wish.
If the student says the word their team gets a point.
3. The second team now try. The team with the most points win.

What Am I?

Riddles can be a great way to practice speaking with ESL students. Riddles are a fantastic way to practice vocabulary and also engage students to think outside the box. This weeks’ game is a simple “What am I?” set of riddles. These riddles are made for young learners.

These can also be used with other levels as quick warmers.

Activity Time: 5 mins +

Materials required: Whiteboard and optionally a projector to use the digital version below.
Skills practiced: Speaking, brainstorming,vocabulary and fluency.
Level: Young learners

1. Write or project the riddles in the following presentation.

2. Encourage students to guess what the answer is. Slowly reveal each answer, encouraging students to continue guessing. Students don’t need to understand every word to guess the answer. Try not to explain every word. Students can be put in pairs and write down their answers also. This can be a good way to make this a communicative task.
ESL Riddles curiosity in the classroom

ESL Countdown

ESL Countdown esl Kids games interactive whiteboard TEFL
ESL Countdown is a very popular show in the UK and Ireland. It is a simple game that is great as a warmer or cooler for the ESL classroom. It’s useful with nearly every level and a great way to get your students writing and practicing spelling. Everyone from young learners to adults can enjoy this simple and fun ESL activity.Activity Time: 5 mins +

Materials required: whiteboard and optionally a projector to use the digital version below.
Skills practiced: Writing, brainstorming, vocabulary and fluency.
Level: All levels Young learners – adults
Note: The clock is set for 30 seconds. Allow extra time for younger or lower level students.

1. Ask students to take out a pen and notebook. Put students into pairs or on their own depending on age and level.

2. Explain to the students that they must pick vowels or consonants and then they have 30 seconds to write any words they can make with the letters on the board. The team who creates the longest correct words gets one point for each correct word.

3. You can use the digital version below by clicking on the different options, click on more rules for instructions etc.


Not able to see the game? Try a different browser.

 Not able to see the game? Make sure you allow “flash” from this site OR try a different browser.  

Four Pictures One Word

This week’s game is a simple yet great way to practice English in class while having fun.  This game is suitable for a number of age groups and English levels.

In ESL Four Pictures One Word, students view four related pictures and they must guess the word that connects them all.

Activity Time:   10 – 15 minutes +
Materials required: Powerpoint presentation below. 
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, writing.
Level: Pre- intermediate +


1. Split the class into teams.

2. Explain the game to the students. Tell them that they are going to see four pictures. The four pictures are connected by one common word. In their groups, they must decide what the word is. To ensure that they understand, try this example.

ESL Four pictures one word Example eslkidsgames.com

3. Now begin the game. For each correct answer, each team gets one point. If both teams guess the correct answer, they both get the point. To avoid any problems, ask the teams to write down their answer before they say it.

Download (PPTX, 1.41MB)

Want more games? Try:

ESL Family Fortunes 

ESL Quiz

5 Whiteboard Games

Stop The Bus

ESL Games Stop the Bus ESLKidsGames.com TEFL Games

Stop The Bus is a simple and fun vocabulary game for any level or age group. This game will quickly become one of those regularly requested games in class.

Activity Time:  5 – 10 mins +
Materials required: A piece of paper for each team to write on. 
Skills practiced: Vocabulary revision, brainstorming and quick thinking. 
Level: All levels (Young learners, teens and adults)


1. Put the class into pairs. 

2. Get each group to choose a category. Some examples that could be used are: 

fruit, animals, cities, countries, famous people, brands, clothing, phrasal verbs, verbs,  etc.

I always suggest a topic that practices some target vocabulary. If it’s a difficult topic, you could award points to any team who gets a word etc. 

3. Write each category on the board. After you have done this, you choose a letter from the alphabet. For example, B.

The teams must then write, as quickly as possible, a word from the category that starts with the letter B on their piece of paper.

For example, imagine the letter is C. The students have chosen the following categories:

  • Fruit 
  • Phrasal Verb
  • Countries 
They would write on their piece of paper; 

Come over

When they have written a word for each section, they must shout out “Stop the bus!”

4. The teacher can then check their answers and in the case of the phrasal verb, check their meaning of the word. Award points to the team and then choose another letter and repeat. 

This game is always a success in class and is always enjoyed. It’s a great way to practice vocabulary and quick thinking. 

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