Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Fun and Easy to Prepare ESL Games!

Posted on Tue, Jul 23, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

When I first started working with Chungdahm over a year ago, having never taught before, I learned that kids can complete activities much quicker than you expect. It’s always good to have a short game or craft if you have extra time at the end of class. Here are a few of my favorite games, they are little to no prep and my students love them! They can easily take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how much time you have, and they’re great for reviewing key concepts.  

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I’ve played these games with my students (international ages 5-7) who have been learning English for a couple years. 

Guess What Animal I Have 


Materials: Small pictures of animals or names of animals. 

How to play: Using the pictures of animals have one student hide an animal in their hands and stand in front of all the other students. The other students have to ask questions and can ask for hints until they can figure out what animal it is. The student who guesses the hidden animal gets to play next! 

Suggestions: This game could also be used to review other topics such as food groups, transportation, etc. 


Yes or No? 


Materials: Large white board and dry erase markers. 

How to play: Write yes and no on opposite sides of the white board, split the class into two teams, and have them sit in lines in the corner of the room. Two-by-two (one person from each team) they come up and compete to see who can answer a verbal question the quickest. Example of a verbal question, “Is broccoli a fruit?” The team with the correct/quickest response gets one point. 

Suggestions: I usually split the class into teams randomly (shorts vs. pants, solids vs. stripes, etc.). You can also use variations instead of writing yes and no on white board. My class has used this to review nouns, verbs, and adjectives and also present, past, and future tense verbs. 


Winki Card Memory Game 



Materials: Winki fruit cards found in the iGenius game kits (only used by iGarten)

How to Play: Split the kids into pairs. Give them sets of 18 winki cards (make sure there are pairs for each piece of fruit). Flip them face down on the table and play memory game to see who can remember what fruit is where and win the most pairs. Change teams each round. 

Suggestions: Set aside at least 20 minutes for this game, the kids love it!

If you don’t have access to Winki cards, you can also find similar printable memory games online for all different subjects: food, animals, sight words, and more!

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Snap Game with iGenius cards 



Materials: iGenius number cards (only used by iGarten)

How to Play: Split the kids into groups of 3, and kids take turns flipping cards over onto a pile in the middle of the table. They have to pay close attention. While they are flipping cards, if there are two cards with a similar feature (number or color) and they are the first to cover the pile of cards with their hands they win the cards and add them to their pile. The person with the most cards (or all cards) at the end wins. 

Suggestions: If you don’t have access to the iGenius cards this game could also be played with a regular deck of cards per group. 


Thumbs Up/Down 

Materials: No Prep 

How to Play: Ask yes or no questions about a book/topic to the kids, if it’s true they do a thumbs up, if it’s false thumbs down. Example question, “Tom’s family all has the same color eyes.”

Suggestions: This is a great activity to review after reading a story to test comprehension and memory, or to review before a test or quiz. 

I hope your students enjoy these games as much as mine do! 


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Monica Russo graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors in Psychology and is from St. Louis, Missouri. After spending a couple years in social work she decided to move abroad to learn more about other cultures and to challenge herself to live outside her comfort zone. Moving abroad hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it and Monica loves living in Busan, South Korea. She loves new experiences, hiking, exploring other cities and helping others any way that she can. Her philosophy with her students is work hard, play hard! 

Tags: teaching at Chungdahm, class management, classroom materials, teaching tips, iGarten

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