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Looking for some ESL activities for kids that are fun and educational? Here you will find games and activities for children (kindergarten, elementary and middle school+) that will motivate and educate your students.

All activities here have been marked for the appropriate age group or level such as beginners or more advanced. For example, "Intermediate Elementary+" means that it will work with that level on up to adults. However, your class is unique, meaning that they may have a higher level or a lower level than other children their age. So for example, you may find that some activities here marked "Elementary" might work with your "Kindergarteners".

Click on the link to watch the activity on video and/or read how to do it. It will open in a new window.

Warm-up Activities & Icebreakers

These are good activities for starting your classes off on the right foot. Some will work especially well when teaching a class for the same time.

  • Categramble Intermediate Elementary children+. This can be catered to the students level. It's a great icebreaker/TPR activity that will work well with lower intermediate elementary children on up to adults.
  • Word Association Intermediate Elementary children+. This fun speaking activity is similar to "Word Chain", but it works better with higher levels.
  • Give them a letter Kindergarten kids+. This group writing/speaking activity will work with almost all levels given that they know at least a few words begininng with each letter.
  • Line Up Elementary children+. A great icebreaker and fun TPR activity. You can cater question to their level.
  • Word Chain Kindergarteners - Elementary. A fun and simple activity that's good for speaking and listening.
  • 20 Questions Intermediate Elementary children+. Students will need more than a basic level and the questions can be catered to their level. A good activity that gets students up, moving about in the classroom and communicating.
  • Teacher Says Kindergarten - Early Elementary. This TPR activity will work well with the young ones. It also works well for teaching commands and body parts.
  • Tell the Truth Intermediates+.
  • What do you see? Kindergarten kids+. A simple writing activity that can be used as a warm-up or integrated into your lesson.

Vocabulary Games & Activities

These games and activities are for teaching vocabulary and phrases.

  • Charades Kindergarten kids+. A fun miming activity that involves acting out and guessing.
  • Pass the Bag Elementary children+. A fun speaking activity that involves music.
  • Taboo Elementary+. An exciting activity where to students work together to help their team guess the correct answer.
  • Make a Word Elementary+. A good group activity that involves spelling and speaking. You'll need letters.
  • Which Word Intermediate Elementary+. An activity that helps students with pronunciation, spelling, speaking and listening.
  • Pass the Marker Elementary+. An energetic team activity that helps students with speaking, spelling and writing.
  • Picture This Kindergarteners+. A fun speaking and drawing activity that works with almost all levels.
  • Post it Elementary+. An energetic activity that involves speaking and matching.
  • Sprite Elementary+. A simple, fun and effective activity where students practice writing and speaking.
  • Syllable Says Elementary+. A good activity for proper pronunciation.
  • What am I? Intermediate Elementary+. A fun guessing and speaking activity.
  • Fill in the Gaps Elementary+. An activity for practicing spelling and speaking.

Conversation Games & Activities for Sentences/Q&A

These activities focus mainly on practicing speaking and beginning conversational English.

  • Whispers Kindergarteners+. A popular activity that works well in large classes for speaking and listening.
  • Pass and Ask Elementary children+. An active and fun tool for practicing Q&A (speaking and listening).
  • Standing Sentences Elementary+. A good TPR activity for sentence structure and speaking.
  • Race, Touch and say Kindergarten-Elementary. A good TPR activity for practicing speaking.
  • Stairway to ___. Kindergarten-Elementary. A speaking game for young children.
  • A Ball and a Bag Elementary+. An interactive game that's used with music to practice speaking and listening.
  • Ping-Pong Elementary. A fun game for speaking/Q&A.
  • It's a Mystery Elementary. A fun game for speaking/Q&A.
  • Make a Sentence Elementary+. An interactive group activity that focuses on sentence structure and speaking.
  • Paper, Scissors, Stone! Elementary. A simple game for speaking that requires no prep.
  • Pass the Bag II Elementary+. A fun activity with music for speaking and listening.
  • Touch and Say Kindergarteners-Early Elementary. A simple word recognition activity that works well with very young learners.
  • Sentence Relay Elementary+. A good group activity that's good for practicing writing, speaking and listening.

Passive Activities

These activities are more individualized. They are good for independent work and teacher quiet time!

  • Beginning Essay Writing Intermediate Elementary+. A good activity for students with some writing ability. It's good for practicing writing. It's also an individualized activity that's good for quiet time.
  • Comics I Elementary children+. A fun writing activity that will inspire your students. It's also good for quiet time.
  • Comics II Intermediate Elementary+. A writing activity that requires a little more imagination than the above comics activity.
  • Draw It Kindergarteners+. An activity for young children to practice their listening and writing (if they can). It works well when used with story books.
  • Mind Maps Intermediate Elementary+. A brainstorming activity for practicing writing.
  • Take a Dictation Elementary+. A good review activity to practice writing, spelling and listening.
  • One Hand, Two Hands Kindergarteners+. A listening activity.
  • Puzzles Kindergarteners+. An activity where students can practice their writing and word recognition. Puzzles are good for downtime or when you are correcting their exams.

Misc. Games and Activities

  • Spelling Bee I Kindergarteners+. A spelling activity.
  • Spelling Bee II Kindergarteners+. A spelling activity.
  • Who am I? Upper Elementary+. A fun guessing and speaking activity that can also be used as an icebreaker.
  • Fill in the Gaps II Elementary+. A spelling activity.
  • Musical Chairs Kindergarten-Elementary. It's not very educational, but it's a fun and energetic activity for downtime.
  • Pretend you're an... Kindergarteners. A fun kinesthetic activity for word recognition.
  • Past, Present, Future Elementary+. A simple activity that can be used for grammar and writing.
  • Find the Words Elementary+. A simple search and find activity like Boggle.
  • How? Elementary+. A good activity for practicing adverbs of manner like: quickly, carefully, etc.
  • What would you do if? Intermediate Elementary+. A fun activity for downtime where students can practice speaking and writing.
  • Writing Relay Elementary+. An activity for writing, speaking and reading.
  • Writing Rearrange Elementary+. A writing and speaking activity for sentence structure.
  • Reading Dictation Elementary+. This is an especially good reading and listening activity.

Activities for Teaching Songs

  • Rearrange Elementary children+. Here students learn the lines of a song by arranging them.
  • Cloze Elementary+. Here students learn the lyrics by using a cloze activity.

Activities for Teaching and Practicing Numbers

  • Counting with a Ball Kindergarten kids+. A simple activity for counting.
  • Line Up Kindergarteners+. A good kinesthetic activity for counting.
  • Using Arithmetic Elementary+. Here you can use simple math to practice numbers.
  • Clarifying _teen & _ty Elementary+. An activity to use to help students correct common errors when teaching counting.

Phonics Games

  • Make a Phonogram Kindergarteners+. A great tool for practicing phonograms.
  • What's that sound? Kindergarteners+. A simple tool for practicing letters and their sounds.
  • Tongue Twisters Elementary+. A great tool for most levels for practicing difficult sounds.
  • Back-to-Back Kindergarteners+. A great listening tool for practicing phonics.
  • Word Sorts Elementary+. A good quiet time activity for finding common phonograms.

Further your training

Learn how to inspire your students, make better lessons, be more organized and conquer your classroom problems. Take an online TEFL course focused on teaching young learners (120 hour course).