By Helen Hargreave
Guest blogger from

4 Activities to Keep Young Students Engaged

By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Young students need to keep busy. Fact. Games which involve lots of interactive options are a great way to get young bodies and minds active and ready to learn!

Here are 4 games we’ve taken from the selection available in our pack to add to your list because, in case you hadn’t noticed, children get bored easily too!

The Hot Seat

Level: Elementary and above

Aims: To help students remember words

Materials: Board, board-pen/chalk

Prep time: 5 mins to get a list of words together

• Put the class into two teams. A representative from each team comes up to the front and sits facing away from the board.

• On the board, write down a recently learned word. It is now the job of each team (who can see the word) to define the word to their rep. The first rep to shout out the word wins a point for his team.

NB: Keep on rotating the reps. Don’t allow the teams to use any part of the word to define the word.

At the lowest levels, the students can give the rep a translation instead of a definition in English.


Famous Folk: The Indignity of Comparison

Level: Elementary to intermediate

Aims: To give students practice of comparative forms

Materials: Board & pen

Prep time: 0 mins

• Elicit about 12 famous people and write their names on the board.

• In teams of three or four students, make as many comparisons as possible within a given time limit (about four minutes). They have been told that it is a team competition. Comparative forms might be fairly straightforward at the lower levels:

“Nelson Mandela is older than Pope Benedict.”

or more sophisticated at higher levels:

“Madonna is older than Britney Spears.”

“Michael Jackson is not as spiritual as the Pope.”

• The winning team is the one with the most comparisons. A point should be deducted if the sentence is grammatically incorrect.

NB: Who is ‘famous’ may differ greatly. If you think the students won’t know many ‘celebrities’, you could use local animals, buildings, etc.


Change Places If…

Level: Elementary and above

Aims: Listening practice of various structures/functions, keeping energy levels high

Materials: none

Prep time: 5 mins to think of the sentences

• Choose any recently taught/learned structure and think of some sentences using that structure (see below). Instruct students to change places (with another student) if:

…they are wearing jeans (present continuous)

…they went to the cinema last week (past simple)

…they have been to Prague (present perfect)

…they live in the center of town (present simple)

• Students have to stand up and physically change seats with another student who can fulfil the given criteria.

• If they say ‘yes’ to a question, check it by encouraging students to ask more questions.

Example: What did you see? Did you like the film?

NB: Good as a warmer at the start of class, and to swap pairs during class to raise energy levels


Ring a word

Level: Beginners/Elementary

Aims: Develop vocab

Materials: Board, 3 different colored pens

Prep time: 0 mins

• Write a random selection of words all over the board (about 10-15).

• Divide the class into 2 or 3 groups and stand them in 3 lines facing the board; give the person at the head of each line a different colored pen.

• Call out a word and the people with pens have to run to the board and circle it. Only the first person to reach it can do so.

• They then give their pens to the next person in line and join the back of the line.

• The winning team has the most words circled.

NB: This is particularly good to practice numbers, especially larger ones.

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