12 March 2015 / by Vincent Chieppa

Games people play: No-prep ESL games for all ages

• Articulate

• Charades

• Pictionary

• Taboo

• Coffee pot

• Never have I ever

• Two truths & a lie

• Would rather / Either… or...

• Chain story

• Picture prompt

• Three word story

• Word sneak

• Bomb

• Last word

• Anagram

• Hangman

• Rhyming words

• Stop the bus / Scattegories

• Word in a word

• Alphabet role play/debate

• Dubbing role play

• Questions only role play/debate

• Beer Pong

• Zip, zap, zop (replacing these 3 words with words that sound similar – e.g. “beer”, “bear” & “beard”)

It is important to note that these no-prep ESL games are meant only as a guideline; they all have their pros & cons. Some of them work great with certain students & just won´t with others.  A great part of it also depends on how you as the teacher set it up & present these activities.

When using any type of game always keep in mind what the ultimate objective is: You want your students not only to stay engaged, but also be able to feel safe to express themselves freely in their learning environment.  What we as teachers should ultimately aspire to is strengthening interpersonal bonds as it is conducive to learning.  It is your task to strike the balance between constructive competition in the ESL classroom & collaboration.

So, consider these no-prep ESL games a starting point along with other great sites for no-prep ESL games for kids, adults or general activities.  It is now your turn to develop your own no-prep ESL games:  Think of any environment where you yourself play/played games - be it a playground, campsite, living room or bar!


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