Simple Games to have fun AND LEARN!

Slowly but surely, signs of normalcy are beginning to pop up across the world. While some parents may be ready to get straight back to their usual routine of sending their child to school, (of course following the proper precautions), others may take a little longer to ease themselves back to the old normal – those pre-Covid times! 

But at any given opportunity, must English language learners need to get out into the real world? When working with English language learners, have you ever asked yourself this question that would surely have been met with deafening silences and blank stares? That’s right, it’s a common issue that nearly every teacher has struggled with –  encouraging students to speak in a language they’re still learning. A student may have a deep fear of making a mistake or may be just plain shy, even in their native language. Precisely why it is important to think beyond the four walls of a classroom. Out-of-class field trips do not necessarily have to include expensive bus rides and entrance cover charges. Language is everywhere, and it can be educational to sometimes just go for a stroll with the tutor. 

If you’re stuck for ideas and need a little inspiration on how to improve your child’s English outside, this one’s for you. We’ve put together our 10 favourite English games for kids to play outside the classroom. So, take your pick and just thank us later 😀 ! Happy learning!

  1. The Name Game: Name games are a very fun way to start a class, and helps the kids recall the names of all the other kids at the start of the year! Just go around the child circle and make the kids say their name and one of the things he loves. You know what they say – put the donkey last! When it’s the next child’s turn, they must first introduce the child before them before presenting themselves. As a rule, this can go on until the last child remembers everybody in the group’s names and their favourite things. For older children, this can be made slightly harder by making a specification that their favourite thing needs to start with the same letter as their first name. For instance, A for Anna; A for Angling, too!
  2. Charades: This is a game that we have found kids of all ages love and enjoy. For younger learners, you can use an envelope full of cut out words or a selection of photo flashcards to play this. Show a student a word or flashcard secretly and then make them quietly act it out as the other kids point out what they think the hidden word is, of course in English. In this, the kids get very competitive and the mimes can be funny! Charades is a fun, yet intuitive way to expand the thinking and vocabulary of a child.
  3. Pictionary: Pretty similar to charades, except instead of playing it out, you draw out the hidden word. Kids enjoy being offered the ability to use a blackboard and marker to display their artistic abilities.
  4. Stand Up If You…: This game fits well if you have a large number of kids and have an open area to play in. Get all of the kids to sit around you in a wide circle. A sentence such as ‘get up if you’re wearing shorts’ can then be shouted out and anyone wearing shorts will swap positions in the circle with each other while you attempt to take one of their spots. Then the kid in the middle gets the next question to point out. This game can be quickly tailored to suit the interests of the group, such as appearance, clothes, likes/dislikes, family members, holidays… yes, the choices are wide and wonderful!
  5. Guess the Flashcard: This is what you’d call a very easy, yet effective game. When you hold a hidden series of flashcards, show the child one at a time slowly while they guess what it is. The child who correctly guesses gets to keep the flashcards, which would be their prized possession…at least for a little while 😉! Each flashcard carries one point and in the end, the winner is the child who scores most. Engaging, interactive and most significantly, FUN… all in uppercase!
  6. Slam: This is another game with flashcards that fits best with small groups. Lay out all the flashcards on the floor and make the kids assemble around them. Then call the flashcard’s name and make the kids ‘slam’ their hands on the right card. The kid whose hand is at the bottom of the stack, and is, therefore, the fastest, scores! Before you holler a phrase, make sure they have their hands on their heads so that they don’t linger over the pictures.
  7. Memory: You need to have two sets of matching flashcards or a set of photographs and accompanying phrases for this game. Place all the cards face down on the floor and make the kids pick two cards in turn before they fit a pair. Children enjoy this game so much that even the most easily confused students are involved. Again, helps in building vocabulary and camaraderie. ✌🏼
  8. Bingo: You need a Bingo grid of photos, phrases, or chosen vocabulary to play this (there are plenty you can print on the internet these days for free) or better still, make your own! Offer a Bingo card to each child to mark off while you call out words – the winner is the first to get a row or to complete their grid. Make sure that you review the grid of the winner to ensure they have correctly matched the word you called out and the word they have crossed off.
  9. 20 Questions: This game is perfect as it encourages children to learn as well as revise their desired vocabulary by forming questions in English. Get a child to think of a mystery word while the other students ask 20 questions in turns to assume what they think.
  10. Find the Colour: This game is a perfect way to teach colours and with younger children, it is very popular. The rules are fairly easy – get all the children together and yell out for example ‘spot something blue’. Then the kids have to race around to touch something of the desired hue. This is a perfect way to get the children interested and engaged. Is the hue on the game-controller? Good luck with the melee! 😀

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe! Which way did the game go?! 

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