Have an account? Log in or

Category Archives

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.  

5 Drawing Games

Games like Pictionary are popular games in the classroom. They are simple and easy ways to revise vocabulary and are usually a welcomed break away from the text books.

This post will look at some other ways to bring drawing into the classroom in order to practice grammar and vocabulary. 

1. Pictionary 

Activity Time:  5 minutes +
Materials required: Whiteboard and marker, a timer
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking and Vocabulary.
Level: All levels


1. Put the class into teams. 

2. Teacher shows a word to the first student from one of the teams.

3. Students have to draw on the board in order to make their team guess the word they are trying to draw.

4. If the team guesses correctly, they get a point. You can give a certain amount of time for the team to guess and make the game a bit more interesting. After the time is up, the other team try. 

Some ideas for picking words are; vocabulary seen in previous lessons, actions, films, famous people, subjects and just about anything you can think of. 

This game can also be used with “Bomb” scoring system.

2. Slow Pictionary 

Following the same directions as pictionary above but with a twist. In slow pictionary, students draw their pictures line by line making it a bit more difficult. You can award points by the number of lines used etc.


1.Start by drawing a single line.
2.Draw more details. The students say what it could be.

3.Add each detail one at a time.
4.Keep drawing until someone guesses correctly.

3. Describe and Draw

Activity Time:  10 minutes +
Materials required: Paper and pencils for each group
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking and Vocabulary.
Level: All levels

This is a simple activity with very little preparation required. One student has a picture and describes the picture while the other student draws what the other student describes. This activity can be a great way to practice speaking and listening and is always enjoyed by the students. The end results can be hung around the class room.  
I have written a dedicated post to this activity which can be found here.

3. Drawing Race

Activity Time:  10 – 15 mins +
Materials required: Paper and piece of paper for each student. 
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, prepositions and Vocabulary
Level: All levels


1. Each student must have a piece of paper and a pencil. 

2. Teacher of a student describes a scene e.g a classroom “There is a desk in the middle of the room.”

“Next to the desk there is a teacher”

3. Keep giving details until you have practiced all the vocabulary.  The first student to complete the picture with all the correct details is the winner. 

4. Picture Running Dictation 

Activity Time:  5 +
Materials required: Paper and piece of paper for each student. 
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening, prepositions and Vocabulary
Level: All levels


1. Choose some pictures related to a topic area that you are studying.

2. Place the pictures at the front of the classroom. (Make sure to move any obstacles to prevent accidents!)

3. In pairs, one student runs to the picture and then describes the picture they see to their partner who draws the picture. 

4. When they are finished, the students can vote the best or most accurate picture to be the winner. 

5. Draw The Sentence

Activity Time:  10 +
Materials required: White board and marker.
Number of students: 2 +
Skills practiced: Speaking, listening and Vocabulary
Level: All levels

1. Make cards with target sentences. e.g “The man is running”. You could use sentences from the book or sentences that other students have written.

2. Students have to draw the sentence they read. 

3. The other students must say or write down what the sentence is.