Improve English student’s communication, vocabulary and public speaking skills with these 7 fun group activities for teaching English. Perfect for older children and adults, these creative word games can be played for enhancing your students’ enthusiasm for learning English, improving their English abilities and making everyone feel comfortable in the group in an entertaining way.
1. About Me Squares:
Start the school year with this short icebreaker activity for you and your students to get to know more about each other. Divide your English students into pairs. Each pair will conduct a short interview between themselves and use colored pens and crayons to draw four pictures on four squares of a sheet of paper highlighting unique things about the person they are interviewing. This can be a physical feature or favorite class activity, food, etc. Let them interview and draw for 20 minutes before inviting each student to speak about what they drew about their partner. Draw your own About Me Square poster and present it to the class first to let them know you better and learn how they should present their drawing.
2. Travel Shopping ABC:
Tell your students to form a circle. Be part of the circle and start this English speaking activity by saying what place (city, country, famous landmark, etc.) you went to and what you bought there. The thing you bought must start with the letter A. For example: “I went to England and bought an Apple. The next player uses the same sentence structure and replaces the name of the place they went to but what they bought must start with the letter B. And so on around the circle. If a student gets stuck, especially on the tough letters, they can ‘buy’ something that includes that letter in its name; e.g. saxophone for the letter X. You can easily increase the difficulty of this English classroom game by changing the verb tense and verb choice.
3. Mime Moments:
This fun English game borrows some game play from the popular party game charades. Make a list of famous scenes from 20 well-known Hollywood movies – aim for scenes involving 2 or 4 characters – and write down the character names. Divide your class into two teams; left and right. Depending on the scene you chose, select 1 or 2 members from each side to act out the scene. Show them the first movie scene on your list and indicate which person will play which character. In front of the rest of the class, they will silently act out the scene. When someone thinks they know the answer, they must raise their hand and say the name of the movie as well as what’s happening in the scene to further practice their use of English. Give them points based on how descriptive they have been. If your kids need extra practice, these 50 awesome free reading resources are perfect for improving your kid’s reading skills.
4. Word Wide Web:
Get the class to sit in a group to play this English word association game. Hold a ball of wool in your hand. Start the game by saying the color of the wool and then throw the ball to a random student in the circle while holding on to the end of the wool. They then must say your word followed by a new word connected to yours and then throw the ball to the next person while holding on to the wool. For example: You say “blue” and the next student says “blue cheese”. Keep it going until all students are holding the wool and look at the amazing web you’ve made. If you have time, go for another round and change the color of the wool to build a two-pattern web.
5. Suddenly Susan:
Get the class to sit in a group to play this English story game. Sit as part of the circle and begin telling a story. Say two sentences to start the story but end the second sentence with the words, “…, suddenly, Susan…”. The next student to your left must end your sentence with what happened next before saying their own sentence and again ending it with, “…, suddenly, Susan…”. Keep the story going round the circle and back to you where you will end the story and give Susan a well-deserved rest from her busy day. A great way to use this English activity as a way to provide feedback to your students is to record the entire story and correct any mistakes. Once mistakes have been corrected, repeat the same story again to reinforce the correct grammar.
6. Crazy Cooking:
Student: I is the…
Teacher: Stop! Never put ‘is’ after an “I”. Always put ‘am’ after an “I”.
Student: OK. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.
Everyone sits in a group to play this English vocabulary game. Begin by saying the name of any food item; can be something edible or something used for cooking. The challenge for each person is to say another word associated with cooking using the last letter of the previous word. For example: if you say “carrot” then the next person must say something beginning with T such as tomato or teaspoon. Keep going round the circle and only give each person 3 seconds to say their word. Notice if any clever students are making it hard for the next person with a word that ends with an awkward letter like X or Z.
7. Kwiz Kards:
On the whiteboard, write a list of 13 questions. Number the questions using numbers from a deck of cards beginning with A, 2, 3, 4,… all the way to …, 10, J, Q, K. Remove the jokers from a deck of cards, shuffle the deck and deal 2 cards face down to each student. One by one, go round the class and ask the students to turn over one card and say the corresponding question on the board before giving their answer. Continue until all cards have been turned over and answered. Don’t worry that some questions will be repeated. You can make your question list focus on a certain topic or verb tense, or just make it entertaining and funny.
Here is a sample question list you can use for practicing English past tense:
A. What is the first pet you ever had?
2. What is the best gift you have ever received and will never forget?
3. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen?
4. What three fun activities did you do on your last holiday?
5. What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
6. What was the best thing that happened to you this year so far?
7. What movie have you seen recently and what was it about?
8. If you could talk to any one person in history, who would it be and why?
9. If you could have been the inventor of anything in history, what would it be and why?
10. If you could live in any period of history, when would it be and why?
J. If you were told you were an animal in a past life, what do think you were and why?
Q. If you could relive one day this week, what day would you relive and why?
K. How do you think the universe began?
The seven group activities for teaching English above are designed to bring fun to your English class while improving their abilities in speaking, listening, remembering vocabulary and conjugating verbs. But they will also benefit from increased confidence, self-belief and making new friends.