12 Quick & Easy TEFL/ESL Games for Teaching English to Children! Part 1

12 Quick & Easy TEFL/ESL Games

for Teaching English to Children!



Need some inspiration to inject fun into your TEFL classroom?


Want some quick and easy classroom games for teaching English to children?


This article is written by one of the ESL World’s top teachers – Jessica Portman – She’s got it all for you!


So let’s begin…



1. Charades


This is a game that I’ve found to be popular with children of all ages! I use an envelope full of cut out words, or a set of picture flashcards for students, to play this.

Secretly show a student a word or flashcard and then have them silently act it out, at the front of the class, while the other children call out – in English – what they think the secret word is.

The children get super competitive over this, and the mimes can be hilarious!

Charades can also be adapted to learn almost any vocabulary – animals, sports, hobbies, emotions – so it is endlessly useful!



I use the game of Charades a few times each term, and the words I have on the flashcards are words from the lesson vocab we have used in the weeks before. This helps the students with memory retention and vocab context


For older students (6-18 or older) you can ask the students to use the words in a sentence or short story, to add context to the word.


2. Name games



Name games are a really fun and exciting way to start a lesson, they are especially helpful at the start of the year to help you remember the names of all your new students!


Go round the circle and have the children say their name and one of their favourite things (food, toys, books etc).


When the next child introduces themselves, they must first introduce the child that went before them and so on until the last child remembers the names and favourite things of everyone in the group!


What comes up, can be quite funny for the entire class!


This can be made harder for older students, by having a rule that their favourite thing must begin with the same letter as their first name, or easier for younger students, by just having them remember the names.



3. Pictionary


Similar to charades, but the children draw the secret word instead of acting it out.

I’ve found that children love being given to chance to use a marker and whiteboard – and to show off their artistic skills.

Beware! – I say use this game at the end of the class (last 5-10 minutes) as at times it can be a little unruly!



4. Guess the Flashcard


This game is very simple but very effective, and can be played by students of all ages – kindergarten to adults

While holding a hidden set of flashcards in your hands, slowly reveal them one at a time while the students guess what it is.

The child who guesses correctly gets to keep the flashcard – something they absolutely love – and the child with the most flashcards at the end is the winner!





Again, this game really works on vocab/word retention and memory

Stay tuned for articles with the other 8 games


Fun class = Class that is Learning!

TEFL PDI – Bringing fun back into Learning!

Recent Posts