Fun ESL Game for Children - All Change!

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Brilliant!!! It is amazing how many games you can use in just one lesson. I can't believe I am actually excited about starting with the new unit. To be honest I am extremely happy with these ideas. I haven't stopped recievingcompliments on my teaching in the last week....Now I see how a class can be fun and students can actually learn a lot. Thank you so much for the inspiration. And thank you for the wonderful ideas for my lesson plans.'     Fº Javier Marín Millán  Spain

cartoon kids in circleThis game is designed for:

1.  introducing new vocabulary, sentences or questions

2. vocabulary and grammar revision

3. planting a grammatical structure in your pupils' minds

4. reading and spelling when you use word flash cards instead of pictures 

Category: Listening, speaking and reading variants

Group size: Small groups of 6 to 20

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Materials: Picture or word flashcards

Age: 4 to 12

Pace: Excitable


How to play


Players stand in a circle with one player in the middle. Each player in the circle has a picture or word flashcard. Players memorize their flashcard and then hold it so that the person in the middle can see the word/image. Call out two of the picture card items. The two players holding these cards have to change places, without the person in the middle taking one of their spots in the circle. When the person in the middle succeeds in tak-ing a place in the circle, the other player hands over his or her card and takes a turn in the middle. At any time, call out ‘All change!’ This means that everyone has to change places. Use this if someone is stuck in the middle.


Language ideas

Name the items on picture flashcards, give plurals or make sen-tences. For example, if everyone has a food or drink picture, say: ‘I like bananas and milk.’ The children with the pictures of milk and bananas change places with each other. Other sen-tence ideas for different topics are: 

‘Next weekend I’ll windsurf and play tennis.’
‘On my farm, there are pigs and sheep.’ 
‘My mum’s a doctor, and my dad’s a dentist.’ 
‘On Monday I am going to the bank and the supermarket.’

Listening and reading

Play the game as described above, but using short phrases written on cards. For example, write ‘Hello, how are you?’ on one card and ‘I’m fine, thanks’ on another, or ‘Where do you live?’ on one card and ‘I live in India’ on another and so on. Everyone has one card, or more to make the game trickier. Use this idea with sentences that are cut in half too.

After a few rounds, the children swap cards with each other. Bear in mind not to play for more than 10 minutes to keep the game fresh and fun.

Variation for speaking

To convert this into a speaking game, let players take turns to call out pictures that must be swapped. Give the calling out job to intermediate students to keep them challenged.

To make the game harder, have the person in the middle make up his or her own sentence with two of the given picture words in it. Be careful that students are up to this, or the game could drag.

176 games book cover



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Have a great time with this game, and do let me know how you get on, and what else you would like to receive in these free materials.

All the best,

Shelley Vernon
Teaching English Games