Fun ESL Game for Children - All Change!

'Brilliant!!! It is amaizing 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 teachingin 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


Dear Teacher,


Thank you for subscribing fun ESL games for children, and ideas for teaching English. 


On this page is the game All Change and some free food flashcards to download.


      1. How to Play
      2. Organising the group
      3. Language ideas to use with this game
      4. A few more language variants
      5. Materials for you to use with this game
      6. Reading and spelling variant
      7. Tell us what you think

Category: Listening and understanding
Group size:6 to 30 children
Level:  Beginners to intermediate
Materials: Picture or word flash cards
Age: 4 to 12
Pace: Wake up to Excitable

This game is designed to be used for several purposes:

1.  when you have just introduced some new vocabulary and you want to 
reinforce it aurally before having your pupils start to use it

2. for revision

3. when you want to plant a grammatical structure in your pupils' minds

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


Seat the players round in a circle, on chairs, or on the floor (on cushions if you have them), with one player standing in the middle.  Each player has a picture of an item, or a word flash card, except for the player in the middle.  Call out two of the picture card items or words.  The two players holding these cards have to change places without the person in the middle grabbing one of their spots.

If the person in the middle manages to sit on the chair, or the spot in the circle then the one left standing goes in the middle.  The new person in the middle hands their flash card to the child taking their place in the circle.

If someone is stuck in the middle for two turns say "All Change!".  When the players hear this they must all change places, which gives the person in the middle a very good chance of joining the circle. 

Once everyone has had one go ask your class to pass their picture to the right, and take the one handed to them from the left.  You can give them another go with the new picture.

And it's that simple!

2. Organising the group

With anything from six to fifteen children you can have only one circle.  With sixteen to thirty children you would need two groups.  Each group should have the same picture or word flash cards so that the two groups move simultaneously when you call out the words or sentences.  If you have different age groups or abilities this is an opportunity to put all the older ones together, or all the brighter/more advanced ones together.

One thing to bear in mind is that you need an odd number of children per group - for example seven pairs in the circle and one child in the middle.  If you have an even number then you can play too - starting in the middle.  Alternatively you can pull out one of your best students to call out the words or sentences.

It is very important, especially with larger groups, that you keep the pace moving calling out the next change immediately the players have swapped over.  Do not give the children time to start chatting to each other.  Keep them on their toes.

3. Language ideas to use with this game 

The simplest version of the game is to call out two words, for example, if everyone has a food or drink picture card you could say: "bananas and pie".  The child with the picture of some bananas, and the child with the picture of some pie change places.  (If they can without the one in the middle taking one of their spots first).

You can also incorporate the two words into a sentence such as: "I like bananas and pie".

You can use more sophisticated sentences to match the ability of your class and to introduce phrases you would like them to learn.

Here are some examples to give you the idea:

"I would like some bananas and some pie please".
"I like bananas but I don't like pie".
"Do you like bananas?...No, I like pie".
"Can I have some bananas and pie?"
"Where can I buy bananas and pie?"
"Do you have any bananas and pie?"
"I really love bananas but I can't stand pie".
"I feel sick when I eat bananas and pie".

There is/there are:

"In my kitchen there are bananas and apples".
"In my kitchen there is a pie and a banana".

You can see from the above examples how you can adapt the game to your purposes.  

You can be revising food vocabulary while introducing a new phrase to them such as:
"You should eat bananas, but you shouldn't eat pie".

Alternatively, you could be revising a phrase while introducing new vocabulary. 

For example let's say you recently taught them the days of the week, and now you are going to introduce food vocabulary.  You can say:

"On Mondays I eat bananas and pie".
"On Wednesdays I eat potatoes and sausages".
"On Saturdays I drink coke and milk".
"On Thursdays I drink water and I eat bacon".

And so on.

If you have an advanced class there is no reason why they cannot enjoy this game from time to time, and you can use it in the same way described above, simply use the grammatical structures you are teaching them at the time, however complex.  For example:

"I only wish I could have some bananas and pie".
"You ought to eat bananas and pie".
"How can you think of eating bananas and pie".

If you like this game, remember that there are 176 great games in my book 176 Teaching English Games for Children.  There are games for listening like this one, and also many games for speaking practice, as well as fun reading and writing games.

Just go to Fun ESL games to find out more.

4. More language variants

Other vocabulary ideas for this game are: sports, “Next weekend I’m going to windsurf and play tennis”, or animals, “On my farm there are pigs and sheep”, or professions, “My mum’s a doctor and my dad’s a dentist”, or places in town, “On Monday I’m going to the bank and the supermarket”, or fairy tale vocabulary, “The princess married the Martian”.  

If you have a few star students who pick things up quickly you can give them the task of calling out the sentences.

5. Materials for you to try this game

You can use any pictures or word flash cards you may already have to play All Change.   In addition I have prepared a set of picture and words cards for you using food.  You can download these free at the link further down this page.

6. Reading and Spelling

Please see sections 1-5 for how to play,  for ideas on using the game, and for where to get your materials.  Once your students have learned the vocabulary by heart, practise reading and spelling by playing All Change with word flashcards instead of pictures.


This allows the children to read the words and become familiar subconsciously with the spelling.

7. Tell us what you think

We'd love to hear how you get on with this game.  Please send your comments, questions, and ideas for upcoming issues to us through the contact form on this site.

Let us know what you want.  Your feedback matters.


Free flashcards

To download please click on the link below and save to your computer. It is a PDF document so you will need Acrobat to read it. If you do not have this you can download it free.  Type in "Download Adobe Reader" into google and you'll find it.


Download your free materials here:


You can also use these flashcards in the many different games described in 176 English Language Games for Children.   

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