Little to No-prep ESL game ideas- Save now!

Sometimes you have to teach a class that you didn’t manage to plan for, so indeed you can’t use any game ideas/ activities that requires pre-planning. Today we are bringing you some no -prep game ideas, which are considered life-saviors when it comes to “urgent” or short-notice classes.

1. The memory train

Size of class: all sizes are suitable

Focused skills: speaking

The memory train- no-prep game idea

The memory train- no-prep game idea

This is an ideal warm-up game and can be applied without any tools or preparation. How to play as follows

– You and the students will sit in a circle

– You will be the one to introduce yourself (depending on the level of the student, you use the grammar difficulty accordingly), for example:

I am …

I am … years old

I like to eat …

The introduction should not be too informative (maximum 4 pieces of information) with a brief presentation to make it easier for later players. Then, in circular order, your right / left student (A) will repeat the information you just provided, but with the pronoun he / she. Student A then introduces himself and the person next to her / he (B) continues the game by repeating the descriptions about you and student (A), then introduces again. about myself. The game continued until the end of the circle, and the last person on the circle had to try to repeat everyone’s intro.

2.Change chairs

Change chairs- no-prep game idea

Change chairs- no-prep game idea

Size of class:> 5 students

Focused skills: speaking, listening

Students may appear lethargic at the beginning of a class, perhaps because they are sleepy or they have just completed a long class at school. Therefore, an active game like Change chairs will help create an exciting atmosphere for the next lesson to be more effective. It is very interesting that with this game, you also do not need to prepare anything, just the basic items of a classroom and a large space for the children to move quickly between the cars. chair.

  1. You would be the one to start, say “ exchange chairs if you … ” to describe an action / thing / thing that students have a lot in common with, for example

            ” Change chairs if you have a backpack “

  1. Accordingly, the students with a pair will get up and have to find a new seat (do not sit still or go back if the student has the details described in your statement). If any student violates any of the above notes, they will be the one to stand in front of the class, instead of you to make another sentence using “Change chairs …”
  2. Observe which student is the last person to sit down (A), and invite him / her to come up to say the next description of ” change chairs … ”, at the same time, you announce that from now on that student’s seat cannot be used in the game anymore. From now on, make sure the number of seats used in the game is less than 1 unit compared to the number of students.
  3. Student (A) will say a sentence describing “Change chairs …” and while the relevant students get up and quickly find a new seat, (A) will also find a seat to sit on. The slowest student will have to stand because all seats have been taken, so that student will also be a substitute for (A), until he / she finds someone else to replace him. (as (A) does)

You can stop the game at any time you feel comfortable, as well as temporarily pause to correct, correct pronunciation or grammar errors of the students (if any).

3. Snowball fight

Snowball fight- no-prep game idea

Snowball fight- no-prep game idea

This game is also fun and easy to do, and can be played at any level.

Size of class:> 5 students

Focused skills: speaking

The only thing you (and the players) need is a piece of paper. The rules of the game are very simple, each person will write on their paper a piece of information, maybe a word definition (if you want to review vocabulary), a question related to the grammar score just learned. , a few lines of description about anyone in the class (if you want to practice ‘’describing a person’’ topic), …

 Next, your students will curl the piece of paper, or to get more excited, give each person a small plastic ball and have them stick their folded piece of paper on it.

The most interesting part is that you will call out to signal the fight to begin, and the students will compete to throw plastic balls at each other as if they were playing with snowballs, the larger the classroom, the fun effect. looks higher. After a while, you tell the class to stop and the students have to pick up an arbitrary ball near them and go back to their seats.

Students will be asked to open the piece of paper attached to the ball they picked up just now, and read-respond to the request of the piece of paper, as well as guess the owner of the question / piece of paper. This is a suitable period to calm down the exciting atmosphere just now to focus on new content that needs more focus.

4. Fortune teller

Fortune teller- no-prep game idea

Fortune teller- no-prep game idea

Size of class:> 5 students

Focused skills: writing / vocab / grammar

This probably won’t be the fortune teller game you have ever seen before.

In this game, each student will be given a board and pen. The way to play is in pairs. You will need to prepare a powerpoint file with different topics, but the preparation process is also very simple. Each slide will be a topic, for example

Write 3 things you have in mind

Slide 1

“If I had 1,000,000 $ right now, I will buy … ”

Slide 2

” If I can be invisible, I will … “

And 2 people in a pair will write down 3 things that they have in mind, without letting the other person see their answers. After the pairs are done, shout “Show the boards! ” To see their answers.1 team playing (1 pair) will receive 1 point for each matching answer. can be reached in a turn of 3.

By the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.

5. The Alphabet game

The Alphabet game- no-prep game idea

The Alphabet game-no-prep game idea

Size of class: all sizes are suitable

Focused skills: writing, vocab

It’s simple, but still a very exciting race for any levels

  1. Give students a topic, for example, jobs, animals, food, …
  2. Write the letters A to Z on the board. Teams of students must race to write a word (that makes sense) next to each letter in the alphabet written on the board. The fastest team to finish making a word out of all the letters is the winning team.

6. Word category race (word family)

Word category race- no-prep game idea

Word category race- no-prep game idea

Size of class: all sizes are suitable

Focused skills: vocab, teamwork

The rules of the game are quite simple, you just need to prepare a mini board for the groups that you will assign to play. Usually I put 2 or 3 students into a group, and groups compete against each other.

The teacher will write a topic on the board, it can be common topics, or vocabulary related to the previous lesson, or all the vocabulary students have learned in the unit so far.

All teams need to do is to come up with as many words as possible, which belong to the topic on the board, within the allotted time. After the timer runs out, all teams will stop writing and you will collect the board and check how many correct answers each team has. The team with the most words will get the most points, similar to the team with the least answers will receive the least or no points.

7. Pictionary

Pictionary- no-prep game idea

Pictionary- no-prep game idea

Size of class: all sizes are suitable

Focused skills: vocab, grammar

A familiar game but will never be outdated because of its convenience and high application sophistication. You only need 1 small board and a quill pen to write down the words students will need to describe. This is also a game that creates laughter and excitement for students because there will be very funny and naughty drawings.

Students will play in teams / pairs, and one student from each team comes up the board for each round. The students will be given a pen, and the teacher secretly shows a word she wrote on the chalkboard, and then they will have to quickly draw a word description on the large board first. face. The rest of the team members will have to guess what the words she wrote on the chalkboard are.

The team who gives the fastest correct answer will receive 1 point for each turn. After the game is over, the team with the most points wins.

8. Musical chairs

Musical chairs- no-prep game idea

Musical chairs- no-prep game idea

Size of class: >5

Focused skills: vocab, grammar, speaking

This is a game that many teachers and students love, because it is convenient for both sides. However, this game is more suitable for children.

To play this game, you just need to arrange the number of seats by the number of students (however only for the first turn) into a circle. Then, you stick (or put) flashcards of vocabulary that students have just learned on each one.

Explain to the students that they are going to hear a song, and while the song is playing, they will have to walk around the circle of chairs until the music stops.

As soon as the music stopped, all the students had to find a seat for themselves. In the first round, no students will have to stand because we have enough seats for everyone. After everyone sits down, you will ask each student to say the vocabulary they have in their seats and carefully correct their pronunciation.

In the following rounds, make sure the number of seats is always less than the number of students 1 unit (this creates excitement for the game). There will always be students eliminated in rounds because they cannot find seats in time, so make sure you manage the eliminated students well so they don’t cause any trouble while you don’t keep an eye on them. .

9. Hot seat!

Hot seats- no-prep game idea

Hot seats- no-prep game idea

Size of class: all sizes are suitable

Focused skills: vocab, grammar, teamwork

Again, a classic game but never out of style. You just need to divide the students into groups, and for each round of play there will be 1 player representing from a group to the front of the class and sitting in the “hot seats”.

You will write a word, or any sentence related to the lesson (depending on your intention) and ask the rest of the group to describe the word / sentence without mentioning the word itself. The student who sits on the hot seat giving the fastest and correct answer will earn 1 point for their team.

By the end of the game, the team with the most points will be the winner.

 10. Form the word!

Form the word- no-prep game idea

Form the word- no-prep game idea

Size of class: all sizes are suitable

Focused skills: vocab, teamwork, grammar, sentence structure

This is a suitable game to use as a warm up activity, where we can review old knowledge as well as introduce new knowledge of the lesson that day.

Each student will be given a piece of paper and a pair of scissors, and they need to write their own alphabet and then cut each letter out (this process can take a long time so make sure you push students to quickly complete their work).

Once the students have their own alphabet, you will record all of those sets and mix them together. You then divide the class into different teams, and assign each team roughly the same amount of letters from the composite collection that you had earlier.

Depending on the skill or vocabulary / grammar topic you want to review, ask teams to create as many vocabulary / sentences from the number of letters they receive. The team with the most correct sentences / words will be the winner.

Author

Gracie Nguyen

To have lucks is a type of talent. Not knowing how to seize the opportunities is also a form of incompetence.

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To have lucks is a type of talent. Not knowing how to seize the opportunities is also a form of incompetence.
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