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3 ESL Valentine’s Day Activities

This post looks at 3 ESL Valentine’s Day Activities for teens and adults. These simple no-prep activities are a great way to get students talking and discussing their opinions on St. Valentine’s day.
The first activity explains the origins of St. Valentine’s Day while practicing students listening skills with a short video.
The second activity makes use of infographics to practice reading. Students read facts about Valentine’s Day and discuss what they read with the class.
Lastly, you will find a number of speaking questions to extend the conversation with students.

Valentine’s Day Explained

Activity Time:  10 mins +
Materials required: Each student needs a piece of paper and a pen.
Skills practiced: Listening, writing and speaking.
Level: Teens and adults. Lower Intermediate
1. Show the class the video below and stop the video at around 0:51 seconds. Ask the students to answer the following question in pairs. Ask them to write their answer. (Show the video a second time if required.)
How did Valentines day start?

2. Ask the students the write down the following numbers. Tell them they are going to watch the video again. This time they must write down the significance of the numbers.
270 AD
496 AD
1415 AD
Late 1800’s
35 Million
189 Million
3. After you have checked their answers, ask them which facts they found most interesting and why. On the board write “Love is …”

In their pairs, ask the students to finish the statement.Here are some quotes to give them some inspiration:Love is like a friendship caught on fire”  Bruce Lee

Love is only a little foolishness with a lot of curiosity” George Bernard Shaw

Love is an irresistible desire to irresistibly desired” Robert Frost

“Love is the flower you’ve got yo let grow” John Lennon 

“Love is like a red red rose” Robert BurnsPlease contribute

Please send on your classes “love is..” creations to me either on twitter @eslkidgames, #eslloveis or via email where they will be featured with my classes’ quotes to spread the love this Valentine’s day. 

Valentines Day Facts

Activity Time:  10 mins +
Materials required: Printed infographic for each set of students
Skills practiced: Listening, writing and speaking.
Level: Teens and adults. Lower Intermediate
1. Print the following infographics. One between two or three students. (Click the images to view the full infographic)


2. Give each group their own infographic.  Ask them to read the infographic and create a mini presentation on the top five most interesting facts they read on their infographic.

3. Each group tells the other groups the information that have read and the class discuss the information.

4. The whole class then picks the top five pieces of information discussed. If you have time you could encourage the class to develop their own infographic based on their top five facts.

Valentine’s Day ESL Questions

Activity Time:  10 mins +
Materials required: a copy of the printable
Level: Teens and Adults all levels.
Printable: Download OR View Get the class talking with over 15 Valentine’s Day questions.
Did you find this post useful? Please leave a comment and share this post with others. As always, enjoy and have fun!
Find more Ideas for teens and adults here 


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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5 Whiteboard Games

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5 Ways To Use Music

This post will look at some of the ways you can use music in the classroom. Music is a great way to introduce a theme, change the mood, teach vocabulary or even just inspire a class discussion.
Music can be a great way to tap into students’ interests.The following five ideas are a great way to use music to practice English in the classroom. They are simple to set up and great fun in class.

Music story
Choose about 15 words that appear in the song and write them on the board. Next, get the students to work in groups of 3 or 4. In their groups, students choose 5 words from the board and write a story including these words. The chosen words should be underlined. Next, students listen to the song. Everybody stands up at the beginning of the song and when they hear the words that they have chosen to use in their story, they sit down and stand back up again, repeating this until they have listened to all five words.
The class can then talk about their story and the meaning of the song etc.

Error correction
Each student is given a copy of the song which contains mistakes like wrong words. In pairs, students look for and highlight the mistakes. The students listen to the song again, check and correct.

Listen and correct
Split a song into parts A and B. Part A will contain the first, third and fifth etc lines of the song and part B will have the second, fourth etc lines. Split students A and B. Students have to listen and fill in the missing sentences. To check and correct, students go through the song in pairs.

Listen and order
Cut a song into strips. Divide either into separate verses or lines, depending on the length of the song. Get the class to organize themselves in a line in the order that they think the song goes. Class listen to the song and put themselves in the order as they hear the sentence. As an alternative to this, you could split the class into two groups, giving each group a copy of the song cut into strips. Split the whiteboard into four sections. Before listening, the two groups have to put the song into the order they think is correct. They listen again and correct. The team with the most correct win.

Finally another simple task which can be done is remove the verbs, adverbs, adjectives etc from the song. Students work in pairs or groups to brainstorm the missing words.

Click here for more ways to use music in the ESL classroom.

Boredom buster

Fun and easy ESL gameThis activity is always a great way to give ESL students a break from the book and liven them up if they are falling asleep or even bored! There are many different five minute games you can use with a ball. Here I’ll be talking about one in particular that is a great activity for practicing lexical sets of vocabulary.

Activity Time:  2-5 minutes a round
Materials required: A soft ball
Number of students: More than two
Skills practiced: Listening, speaking and Vocabulary.
Level: All levels


A simple game I play is “Bomb”. When introducing this game for the first time I usually show the class the ball and ask them “what is it?” they of course respond that it is a ball and then I tell them “No it is a bomb!” I divide the class into two groups or more depending on the class size. I put 2 minutes or more on a timer. Then I give them a category such as animals for young learners and when they get the ball they have to say an animal and pass the ball to the other team. No words can be repeated. So they have to keep the ball until they answer. They have to keep the ball away from their team because when the timer runs out, whatever team is holding the bomb loses the point.

Category suggestions:  

Young learners:
Items in the classroom
Buildings (i.e Bank, Cinema etc)
Jobs (Teacher, policeman etc)
Fruit Etc

Things small enough to fit in a matchbox
Things you would find in a car
Things you would find in the newspaper
Adjectives, verbs and nouns asked randomly by the teacher.
Things you would find in a sports centre etc

With this game you can cover any area of the ESL course book or any random things to make them think. This game is always enjoyed by all ages and a great way to develop quick thinking in English.

Curiosity Ideas

 The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds…

No one can deny the importance of curiosity in learning. But as teachers how do we integrate curiosity into the ESL classroom? This post is going to offer some suggestions as to how you can create curiosity in the classroom.

1. Riddles:

Riddles are one way in which you can create curiosity. I have used these in the ESL classroom and have had some great interest in them. I usually have one riddle written on the board before class starts. This is a great way to get students who arrive early something to think about before we start. I have used these with teens but they could be used with adults too.

Examples: (Answers can be found at the bottom of the post!)

How many people are buried in cemeteries?

What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?

What can you catch but you can’t throw?

Click here for a printable list.

2. Ciphers 

Ciphers are great for young learners, especially those who are mathematically minded. They are easy to set up and a great way to revise the alphabet and spelling and vocabulary. You assign a number to a letter so A=1, B=2, C=3 etc and write coded messages on the board or get the kids to write their own in English and get their friends to crack the code!

This website can be a handy way to write messages quickly on your computer for printing

3. Word Squares

Another way to break up your class or an activity to keep early finishers occupied while they wait is with word squares.

This is a quick activity to put together, simply write 9 letter in a square, like above. Your class then have to create as many words as they can in a given number of time. This can be done in pairs or individually.

Riddle answers: 1. All of them! 2. A towel 3. A cold

Activities based on a workshop given by Nina Lauder at the TEFL conference, Seville, Spain 2011.