Easy games to teach tenses

05 May SAV 1 Comment

Today's question is on how to teach tenses using my games.

For a student to use tenses correctly he or she needs to:


- understand them

learn them by heart and

- practise them in context


Learning by rote can be boring but it needs to be done. So why not try doing all this by disguising the boring bits.  Here’s how!


The teacher can explain a tense using translation and comparison with the native language, time-lines, pictures, actions and examples.  Students can then do a treasure hunt, searching for examples of the tense by reading pre-prepared passages.  Ask students to make up a sentence that uses the tense and one other word, such as “red” or “angrily”.  This is more of a challenge, and more fun than simply making up a sentence that uses the tense.



The student then has to learn the tense by heart, including irregular forms, and be able to fill in the blanks correctly.  Here are two games that are perfect for learning a new tense.

Game One is especially designed for adults. 

Game Two is designed to practice writing a new tense.


Since the aim is for students to incorporate this tense into their daily use of English it needs practising endlessly, both in class and out of the classroom.  To encourage this, ask the students to create quiz questions for each other using the tense and play board and quiz games to practise.  To continue with tenses, use fluency activities such as debates, role-plays and creative writing tasks to give students the chance to use the tense in context. If you see many errors revert back to drill games to get back to basics.

You’ll find a host of those in my classroom activities book for teens and adults.  Order your copy today in my shop.



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