Your Games!

These are some brilliant ideas sent in by readers of Genki English. Try them out and let us know what you think!

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Hackey-sack Hypo

author:  Jacqueline O'Donnell
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Review any vocab but great for questions & answer combos.
big_small:  Small Groups

Using the traditional hackey-sack game familiar amongst travellers (a small bean filled bag is passed almost soccer style between players standing in a circle - it can be kneed or tossed with a foot or bounced off a chest or hip if desperate).

Whoever is responsible for the hackey-sack hitting the ground -either through a really bad pass or by not receiving it when passed - has to answer a question to stay in the game.

Because the kids really want to stay in, they tried quite hard to get the answers right (even the ones who will happily score no points in quiz games!)  None of my South Korean kids had ever seen a hackey-sack or played the game which adds to the excitement and of course, means lots of questions being reviewed!

Jacqueline O'Donnell

'Funky' Pick-A-Box

author:  Ger
level:  Any
target_English:  Any
big_small:  Small Groups
Time: 5 mins for a simple version
Materials: 6 vocab cards (e.g. colours), blu-tac, black or white board.

Works for any level, really. This is an example for little ones (early primary), used as a warmer.

Before class, write numbers 1-6 on the board, well spaced out (in rows or random). Under each digit stick a blob of blu-tac.

When the students arrive and after the greetings, go through the six vocab pieces. Shuffle them, then stick them face down on the blobs of blu-tac. Make teams, then ask the first student: "Where is (blue)?" The student makes a guess at one of the numbers above the cards; you take a sneaky peek at the card under said number, and either give an appropriate whoop or "Well done" or "YYESSSSS" etc and give the team a point. If their guess is incorrect, the guessing passes to the other team and so on until the card is found.

When only one card remains, ask "What's this?" Now it becomes a battle of memories as to which card was in the group but has not been turned over! If one team is lagging by say, 4 points, you might want to make the last one worth 5. Insist on player by player here, though. You decide if teams can share information with the student whose guess it is. Shouting the answer only gives it away to the other team!

You can adapt this for ANY group. Add more numbers and cards, exchange the numbers above the cards for each word in a sentence, make vocab cards specific to what you are working on (jobs, adjectives, the alphabet etc). Teach ways of expressing victory and commiseration so everyone remains involved (and enjoying themselves!). Older students can take over the teacher role. The strategy element (process of elimination) is good mental gym and excellent for focus (you have to listen for the bad guesses so you know what to say when it's your turn). I use this ad nauseam from 4 year-olds to adults and to me, it's gold!

Happy trails
Ger :)

Celebrity Racers

Author: Jennifer Willett
level: Junior High
target_English: Any familiar language
big_small: Big groups

I've used this game for getting students to introduce themselves, but I'm sure you can change the questions once you've taught the game to the kids. It takes a while to explain at first, but went down very well and is quite adaptable.

The main advantage of this game is that the entire class get to talk and have mini conversations.

You can also end the game easily at any point by seeing who's ahead (good if you're not sure how long you need to fill in a lesson).

Scoring system-
I used the Genki English monkey and tree scoring system with the first years, for the second and third years I used English celebrities (make sure you use the Queen as the kids all seemed to think she looks hilarious and didn't have a clue who she was), give each celebrity a goal (e.g. the Queen has a crown, Beckham has a goal, Harry Potter has a broom, Kate Winslet has an oscar, Kelly Holmes has a gold medal and Liam Gallager has some fish and chips). If you make the scoring system out of paper and use magnets on the back you can save lesson time drawing and just add the relevant number of markers up the side of the tree or along the celebrity's line. I got pictures from the internet of the celebrities and their goals for the second and third years and I used paper banana trees and photos of a monkeys for the first years.
Give each row a celebrity and put the celebrity on the board. Draw a line with 4 or more markers on it leading to the goal (each marker is one point), when a team wins a point the celebrity moves one mark closer to the goal.

* Explain the scoring and point concept to the kids, divide the class into 6 teams (each row is one team). Act out one round of the game below, pretending to be different kids and using strange voices (careful you don't embarrass the shy kids).

* Show the kids the target question and answer on the board, drill a couple of times then compete.

* The class must all stand up, when the teacher shouts "GO!" the first kid in each row must turn to the second kid and ask the target question e.g. "Do you like sushi?", the second kid gives the target answer e.g. "Yes, I do."/"No, I don't", then the second kid turns around and asks the kid sitting behind them "Do you like sushi?", this kid answers and asks the person sitting behind them.

* This continues until the last child in the row is asked the question, they answer to the person in front of them, then must quickly run to the front and ask the first player the target question. When the first player answers the last player must run back to their seat and everyone in the row must sit down.
Whichever row is the fastest wins one point.

* Move the winning team's monkey or celebrity one mark up the tree or towards the goal.

* Start over with a new question, the explanation and 9 questions took me a good 30 minutes in most classes, but once the kids know the game it would be much quicker. I varied the questions for all three JHS years, starting with "What's your name?" for all of them, so they had a chance to get used to how to play.

* When one team reaches its goal they win and all get a sticker. If you run out of time give the prizes to the team in front, if more than one team has the same number of points get them to play rock paper scissors 8or be generous and give stickers to both teams).

*NB* If there are uneven numbers in the rows (e.g. five rows with six kids and one row with five kids), get the rows with less kids in to finish at the same time as the others. I did this by getting their first player to ask the second player the question again (after the last kid has run up to the front and asked them) and the second player to answer again before the team can sit down.

This is a good game for getting the kids to speak quickly, but you do need to

a) make sure the kids are SAFE, that bags are under the desks and that they have enough room to run the length of the room safely.

b) keep an eye on who's first (if it's a close thing get them to play rock paper scissors to decide who wins the point).

c) give questions that the kids can answer relatively easily, making sure you leave the question and answer clearly visible on the board for kids to read if they need to.

For my grumpy third years who were too cool for school I numbered the rows and selected a row using a dice, then got them to stand up and play in front of the class while the others watched, as they refused to play properly when left to their own devices. Faced with the mild embarrassment of performing in front of their peers they tried harder and played quickly so that they could sit down again.
After a couple of rounds of this they were more than happy to play all together and speak properly.
This may not have been the most genki approach, but the kids didn't want to do anything at all and now know that they need to do activities properly if they want to be left alone.

The kids had a lot of fun and all of the kids that played this game said nine questions and nine answers aloud several times (during the drilling then once in the game), this means the WHOLE CLASS talked a lot.

Jennifer Willett

The Dating Game

author: Craig Dwyer
level: Junior / Senior High
target_English: Questions + Answers

Here is one that came from a conversation I had with a kid.  I told him I had a girlfriend, and he asked me how I picked her up.  Then he started me to teach him pick up lines in English (a 12 year old by the way).  The next day we did this lesson in class.

1. Give every kid a piece of paper and a pencil.
2. Tell them you are going to play a Dating game.
3.  The rules are quite simple, the boys have to ask the girls for their phone numbers, and vice versa.  Whoever gets the most numbers after a certain amount of time is the winner.

You can make many additions to the conversation, such as What's Your Name? , Where do you Live? and What's your phone number?  You can also allow them to refuse to give the number if the other person is not 'smooth' enough with their delivery.

Craig Dwyer

Rich Man Numbers Game

author: Roger in Imakane
level: Elementary
target_English: numbers
Preparation: Set of flash cards with the numbers to be learnt / reviewed

This is a dead easy game to teach numbers / money handling / counting

I often have fun saying "Who will be rich today? ... Who will be poor?" (obviously some Japanese required for this)
You also need a set of play money for the "fun element". They just love the play money and don't want to stop this game

1. Teach the numbers (ie 1-12, 1-20, 1-31 etc.)
2. Get the kids to choose any 4 numbers and write them down on a piece of paper.
3. Write on the board 1st Card =$10, 2nd Card =$8, 3rd Card =$5, 4th Card = $4 etc etc
(you can choose the $$ amount according to the level)
4. You shuffle your flash cards and get the kids to janken to draw the 1st card
5. Ask the student "What is this?".
6. They answer with the number that is written on the card ( e.g. "5")
7. Any student who has this number on their list, gets $10 ( as the 1st Card = $10 )
8. For the next card, the student answers and if anyone has the number on their list, they would get $8 ( see step 3) etc. etc, ..
9. At the end (or even half way though) say "Please count your money" and get them to write how much money they have on the board.
10. Find out who is rich!

It's a lot of fun, I have found this to be the easiest way to teach numbers and the most fun. It can be easily used to teach / review the alphabet too. It seems reasonably authentic looking money really makes a big difference.

This game can also be used for high levels even adult classes
For higher levels you can ask "do you have 5?" at point 4
Or make out you've run out of $1 notes and change 5 1$ notes for 1 $5 note etc

Roger in Imakane

Bad Fruit: A Shoppers' Nightmare

author:  Mike Yough
level:  Elementary
Target_English:  Shopping dialogue and vocabulary
big_small:  Big groups
Materials: "produce" ( or fruit / food picture cards ) and play money.

Object of game: To accumulate as many products as possible.

Students are divided into clerks and shoppers.
Clerks set up "stands" to allow easy access for all shoppers (e.g. around the outsides of the room with their backs to the wall).
Shoppers are given a set amount of money* (e.g. dollars, euros, pounds, etc.) and begin at a stand where there is an open space.
Students shop, trying to accumulate as many items as possible (each item is 1 unit of currency).
Periodically, the instructor will say "stop" (a bell or other device may be needed to attract attention in some cultural and classroom contexts) and call out a name of one of the products.
Students with that product must then put ALL their products in a basket at the front of the room.
The remaining students continue shopping.
Students who had to dump their products must begin again from scratch (with fewer units of currency).
The student with the most products at the end wins. Students then switch roles.

*It is recommended giving students as much money as possible since students who run out can no longer participate.

Alternative play for more advanced students: Clerks set the price of items. Shoppers have the option of negotiating the price. There are two winners in this version: The shopper who accumulates the most products and the clerk who makes the most money. ( also see the Bargaining Game - Richard)

Mike Yough

Space Invaders

author:  Nigel
level:  Elementary
big_small:  Big / Small Groups

A scoring game
You need a blackboard, a suction ball that will stick to the blackboard, or wet tissue and children.

A little like the arcade version, draw a number of aliens on the blackboard.

Each Alien is worth x number of points.

Divide the class into 2 or more teams.

Ask them questions

If they get the answer right they then get to throw a suction ball (or wet tissue) at the blackboard.

Aliens which have been hit are wiped off the board.

Options are to also draw earthlings or something which they are not supposed to hit. These hits are worth minus points.

Another option is to draw aliens and earthlings on the blackboard and have the children divided into earthlings and aliens and they have to hit the oppositions pictures. Last alien / earthling standing is the winner.

You can change the aliens/earthlings to fish/sharks, flowers/insects etc etc etc.


This is a Relay

Author: Nigel
level: Kindergarten
Target_English: this is, these are, here is, here are
big_small: Small Groups

Have the children put in pairs and stand in rows at one end of the classroom/sports hall.

At the other end have a row of tables with all sorts of items that the children having been learning (pens / balls / fruit / veg / bags / pencils / ruler / rabbit / spider / etc) You will need a lot of items. Try and have a few small items and lots of bigger bulkier items.

The first child runs to the table, picks up an item, (or group of items that are all the same i.e. 3 blue markers).

They then run back to their team mate and say "this is a/an -----, or these are ----- or here is a/an ----- or here are some -----"

They then give the item(s) to their team mate.

The team mate then takes the objects and runs back to the table, puts the objects down, picks up something else and runs back. Repeat the process. (This game can be done with flashcards if you can't get all the items)

Alternatively, they do not put the items back on the table. They pick up another item and return with all the items to their teammate. They say this is a ----- and this is a -----. they pass the item to their team mate who runs to the table, picks up another item(s) and passes them to the team mate again, and so it continues until someone drops something on the floor. Then all the items are placed back on the table and they have to start from the beginning again.

A possible rule you may want to include is that no items can be put into another item i.e. pencils put into pencil cases or into bags or into their trouser pockets.


Shiver me timbers

author: Katie Dwyer
level: Elementary
target_English: Directions
big_small: Small Groups

This is very much like the Mr Bump and Star Wars games.
Before starting you could use the TPR warm up to go through left, right, forward, back , grab and stop.You also need to explain that they cannot step on the sharks ( miming a shark attack helps this!)
Keep all the desks in there original places and remove all the chairs.
Split class into 4 or 5 groups. Get them to choose who is going to be blindfolded first (rock,paper, scissors). Make sure this person cannot see!
Place the cut out sharks in places around the 'course' and place the treasure chest ( cut out) on one of the desks, usually the farthest point from the blindfolded student. The rest of the group spreads out around the outside of the desks.
When the teacher shouts go she/he starts the stop watch and the group starts to shout directions eg. left, stop, forward, stop etc, until they reach the treasure.
The time is recorded on the board, usually I draw a big shark or pirate ship.
The team with the quickest time wins and gets 5 points!
You can play until everyone has had a go or for 2 or 3 rounds.
After every go change the positions of the sharks and treasure! The kids love the Sharks and the shouting!!
Have fun me hearties!!

Katie Dwyer

Polite Hot Potato Race

author: Mike G
level: Elementary
target_English: (excuse me), here you are, thank you , you're welcome
big_small: Big groups

This is a very simple activity for practicing "Here you are", "Thank you" and "You're welcome." / "That's alright". Make each line of desks a team and tell the person at the front they are the captain. You have to have even numbers in each team so if the number of students in line of desks doesn't tally you can either move people around or get them to push their desks to the back and sit in lines on the floor. The captains come to the board in turns and choose a character / vehicle etc. for their team (Spiderman, jet, helicopter, eagle for example). Use some kind of scoring system like the Genki English Ski Game or Grand Prix or you could draw a ladder and use the rungs as points. Captains place their piece on the start line/bottom rung.

Once the captain's have sat down, give them each something they can pass down their line. I use colour magnets. Get a couple of teams to demonstrate the activity first. They must pass their object down the line using the target phrases "Here you are", "Thank you" and "You're welcome." / "Thatfs alright". For the older years get them to include "Excuse me" and "yes?" too. In this case the lines must turn to face the back of the class; student taps ("excuse me") the shoulder of person (replies "yes?") he's passing it to.

Once the object has been passed down the line and back to the front again, the captain rushes to the board to move his or her marker one space / rung. The game stops once someone's reached the top rung / finishing line.

Of course the students get very competitive and it pays to check lines are actually passing the "hot potato" politely and saying the target phrases.

Mike G


author: Caleb Zimmerman
level: Elementary
target_English: any vocabulary words
big_small: Small Groups

This is a variation of the matching memory game where students take turn turning over pairs of cards to try make a match. this game works best for groups of 5-10 and for grades 1-4

1. Put one desk at the back of the class, and push all the others to the side of the room.

2. All the students place their hands on the one desk at the back of the class.

3. On top of the desk is two identical sets of about eight vocabulary words. (eg: 2 fire fighters, 2 police officers, 2 doctors, 2 cooks, etc.) The cards are turned upside-down.

4. The first students turns over a card and everyone chants the English word 3 times in unison. Then the student tries to find the card's match. the students again chant the word on the turned over card. If the student gets a match, the cards stay turned right-side-up. if they are not a match, they get turned back over.

5. The second student does the same, and the third, and so on...

6. Several cards have a picture of an angry gorilla on them. If a student turns over a gorilla card, you yell out gorilla and all the students run to the front of the room. If they make it to the blackboard before you catch them, they are safe. If you catch a student, they have to sit out for one round. When the game is about to end, change the rule so that caught students also become gorillas.

-this game can also be simplified as a great way to trick students into drilling flashcards. Forget the matching game and simply go through your stack of flashcards having the students repeat them after you. If the gorilla card comes up, they get chased to the blackboard. This simple version is my students favorite game.

- this game works best if you really get into your role as a gorilla and act furious angry if all the students make it to the board before you can catch them.

- of course you can change the key word to anything that matches what flashcards you happen to have available. I've done lion, spider, snake, angry green-peas, giant cockroach, and dentist, but the students seem to like the gorilla the best.

Caleb Zimmerman

If you love it and you know it clap your hands!

author: Chris Carrington
level: Elementary
target_English: I like/I prefer
big_small: Big groups

Preparation: Do a google image search to make some big (A3/B4) pictures of things the kids like. I used Pokemon, Digimon, Masked Riders, Doraemon, Cheeseburgers, McDonalds Vs Mos Burger Vs Dom Dom Burger, amongst others. Make a "Clap 'o' Metre", basically a clock but the numbers go from 1 - 10 from left to right, with one hour hand that you use to gauge the kids preference for a particular picture.

Teach the kids I like/I don't like/I love by asking "do you like...?", showing them a picture and getting them to clap, bang on the desks, scream etc. Get the kids to scream at you "I love Pikkachu" or "I like cheeseburgers". Write the score next to the picture on the board, and show another picture. It's good to pretend the "Clap 'o' Metre" is broken, and will only get to 4 or 5, this gets the kids trying to make EVEN MORE noise!

After you have done several pictures, you will have a ranking of scores, and you can get the kids to shout, "We like Pikkachu best" and with a bit of practice you can even do "We like McDonalds better" (They do, don't ask me why.) The kids love making loads of noise, and you can tell when you've hit on a picture that's "so last year" when the noise dips to the level of a disruptive JHS class! NB. The kids have different likes for different ages, I teach 1st year and 4th year, and there were some very clear cut differences between the classes, so ask a teacher or look at their plastic writing things ( "shitajiki" ) to get some idea of what they like.

Enjoy, I did!

Chris Carrington

4-Hint USD

Author: Salvador Domingo.
Ages: Ages 7 to Adults
Level: Elementary - Jr. High
Target English: Adaptable to most structures (review)
No. of Students: small / medium groups
Materials: Toy money (USD preferable), Flashcards or Picture Cards

1. Show the toy money to the students and elicit "What's this?, How much is this?" This is the best way to call their attention. They will be excited and interested in what's coming next.
2. Place one buck per denomination ("amount") on the table: for example, if you have $20's, $10's, $5's and $1's you should have each one of these on the table so that the students can see them.
3. Have the students choose a topic (Fruits, Animals, Veggies, School Objects, Places, etc etc) Review if necessary.
4. Tell the students that you will secretly choose one item and then give them 4 hints so that they guess it.
5. The rules are: If somebody guesses the item when you give the first hint, that student gets to keep $20 USD (or whatever denomination you are using). If somebody guesses on the second hint he/she gets to keep $10 USD. On the third hint $5 USD and $1USD for the fourth (and last) hint. You will see the students doing their best to try to guess!! NOTE: They should not raise their hands to answer but call the item out (or yell).
6. If two students answer correctly at the same time just split the amount, and so on.

Variations: You can spice this up by asking the students pay you $1 USD (TOY MONEY OF COURSE!) if they do not even try to guess or talk. This will encourage EVERYONE to talk!


Salvador Domingo

Zodiac Chant

Author: Brad Mylrea
level: Elementary
target_English: Names of animals of the Chinese Zodiac
big_small: Small Groups

If any of you know the Japanese childrens' song/chant "Eto Meerii Go Raundo", you can easily insert Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Snake ...Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Boar. If you do not know of this song, I suggest you ask your students/Home Room Teachers to teach it to you!

I have tried this at 6 different schools with great success! Especially the younger elementary students are already familiar with the Japanese song...they don't have a lot of difficulty relating to the English version You can also

Brad Mylrea

Snow Balls

Author: Salvador Domingo.
Ages: Ages 7 to Adults
Level: Elementary - Jr. High
Target English: Adaptable to most structures
No. of Students: small to medium
Materials: Tissues, one glass of water, marker, whiteboard & Flashcards (target vocabulary)

1. Review the target vocabulary.
2. Divide the class into 2 or more teams (depending on the number of Students).
3. Draw the target vocabulary or words on the (white) board (you may want to have Students do the drawing. This will keep them busy).
4. Soak a tissue into the water and shape it into a ball ("Snow Ball").
5. Have one Student from each team get a snow ball and stand approx. 2m from the board (the younger the kids are, the closer they should stand).
6. Have the rest of the class "secretly" choose an item and call it out.
7. The Student standing should throw their snow balls so as to hit the called-out item.
8. The Student to hit the closest to the item earn a point.
9. The team with the most points wins! Lots of fun!!

Variations: If the group is really small, you can be the one calling the items out while all the Students throw their snow balls. You can have the Students throw their snow ball at the same time (fun but hard to keep score) or taking turns.

Salvador Domingo

(If you're an ALT make sure you get the class teacher's permission to try this game. And it only works with WHITE boards - otherwise it's a bit too messy! - Richard)

Assault Course

author:  Nigel
level:  Elementary
target_English:  prepositions and sports related actions
big_small:  Small Groups

This game came to me after I watched a TV report about police dog handlers, and something I used to do when teaching gymnastics back home.

The game would be suitable in a large school gym/hall and requires a little bit of time to set up. Maybe a good hour before class if you can set up a good course for older children.

You will need to first to set up an assault/obstacle course of some description. Make tunnels to go through, obstacles to go over or under or around, hoops/boxes to step into and out of, piles of crashmats (or safety mats as i think they call them now) or ladders to go up and down, springboards to jump onto and jump off, beams or benches to walk or run along, poles to weave in and out of, etc etc.

Either set the obstacles up in a circular pattern around the gym/hall, or a weaving pattern in the hall, or set it out like a horseshoe trial with obstacles all over the room with numbers, and the obstacles must be done in the correct order.

If the children are proficient enough or more advanced, then the obstacle course could include sports related terms and activities such as doing forward roles along or down ramps or mats, cartwheels, handstands, tuck jumps, straddle jumps etc on little trampets, leaps, ball dribbling, ball bouncing, running, jogging, exercises like 5 sit ups, 5 push ups, lunges, squats etc at certain stations.

A good school should have lots of equipment to use. And maybe the PE teacher can help you with the design of the course and the obstacles or activities if you don't know anything about fitness and sport.

For the first time take all the children over the obstacle course. You are the "handler" and all the children are the "dogs" so that they understand what they are supposed to do and get them to repeat the instruction at each obstacle so they know what they are to say.

Next the children need to be put into pairs. One will be the "handler", the other the "dog".

The "handler" runs alongside the obstacles and the "dog" goes over, through, into etc the obstacles. However the "dog" cannot do anything unless the "handler" gives the instructions. So the "handler" will be shouting out things like "go through the hoops", "crawl under the table", "climb up the rope/ladder". Or for more advanced instructions "do 5 sit-ups", "do a backward roll down the slope" etc

You will need to time each attempt and make sure that the "dogs" are not just going over the course without commands from the "handler". Stiff penalties will be needed for rule breakers.

Once each team has gone once, then the roles of "dog" and "handler" are reversed and then they get to go again.

The quickest team with the fewest penalties wins. The prize is up to you.


(Or if you don't have the time to set everything up, you could do something like the "Mr Bump Game". Set up a row of desks, blindfold the "dog" and on the board put the under, on, in cards in a different order. The "handler" has to direct the "dog" to go under, in front of etc. the desks Time to see which pair is fastest. - Richard )


author: Nigel
level: Children - Adult
target_English: instructions and nouns/adjectives
big_small: Small Groups

This game is based on a game played in the British TV show "Crackerjack". The game was a General knowledge quiz called "Double or Drop" and was devised by first host Eamonn Andrews - three children balanced armfuls of prizes but were 'awarded' a cabbage for a wrong answer. Two wrong answers or dropping your prizes meant you were out.

You will need a fairly large room/hall/gym as running is involved in my variation.

This game involves a large number "prizes" "items" such as balls of various colours and shapes, fruit and veg (plastic or real), plastic cups/plates/chairs, bags of various shapes and sizes and colours, dolls, toy or cuddly animals, etc but nothing small. Make sure that you have at least 2 cabbages for each team playing.

Put all the prizes on tables at the far end of the hall.

For every prize you will need a piece of paper with a description of the item ie a small blue football, a cuddly tiger, a green sports bag etc

Put all the descriptions in a bag.

Next the children are put into groups of 3. One is the "Holder", one is the "Runner" and the other is "Selector" (Maybe you can come up with better names)

The "Holder" stands on a platform and has to hold all the items/prizes. No language for him/her except maybe "Thanks" when he/she receives the prizes.

The "Selector" picks a random piece of paper out of the bag with the description of a prize on it and tells the "Runner" to "bring me a/an/the ?????" or maybe "find the ???? and bring it/them to me". Or maybe another phrase.

The "Runner" then runs to the prize table, finds the item and brings it back to the "Selector" who will then check that it is the correct item. If it is correct then he will say "give it/them to ?????(the holder's name). The holder then has to try and hold onto all the prizes without dropping any. If it is wrong then the "Selector" says "That's the wrong ????" or "That's not a ?????" the "runner" then has to take the item back and bring back the correct item.

If the Holder receives 2 cabbages the game is over for that team. If the holder drops any of the prizes then the game is over for that team.

The game should be timed, maybe up to 5 minutes a game. The team with the most prizes at the end of the game wins. Depending on the number of children in the class have a minimum of 3 teams playing at one time.



Author: Salvador Domingo.
Ages: Ages 7 to Adults
Level: Elementary - Jr. High
Target English: Adaptable to most structures
No. of Students: small groups
Materials: Flyswatters (1 per student), One Balloon, Jump rope & Flashcards

1. Set a "Badminton" court in the classroom with two chairs and the jump rope.

2. Divide the class into 2 or more teams (depending on the number of Students).

3. Inflate a balloon to a medium size (the younger the kids are, the bigger the balloon must be).

4. Give each player a "racket" (flyswatter).

5. The rules are: to hit the balloon so that it does not touch the floor (you might want to set a three-hit limit).

6. When a team drops the balloon on the floor the other team earns a point. However, at that moment show a flashcard (or whatever the lesson target is) to all the Students. The first team to call it out earns another point (regardless who dropped the balloon).

Variations: Have the students make more complex structures such as: "S/he is dancing", "I want to be a..." or "She's from..." etc.

Salvador Domingo.

(also have a look at the "Balloon Game" - Richard)

Wake-Up game

author:  Michael Holsworth
level:  Junior High
target_English:  any grammar point that you are working on at the time.
big_small:  Big groups

This is a great game for getting everyone in the class involved!  It also works the reading/writing/speaking/listening...not bad for one game!

1.Prepare various sentences with your teacher ahead of time with at least 6 words per sentence (one word or more per student).  Write each word on a large card ( or have a look at the word flashcards - Richard).

2.Break the students in to their lunch groups.

3.Have the students decide their own order from 1-6

4.Tell them to "go to sleep" by putting their heads down on their desks.

5.Mix up the word-cards from the first sentence.

6.Hold up one of the word cards, and call out "number one, wake-up".  The number one person from each group will wake up and look at the word.  They can not speak or write anything down.  They must remember the word.  Then tell them "go to sleep".

7.Repeat this step with everyone until all the words are given out for the selected sentence.

8.Call out "everyone wake up!".  All the students wake up, share their words with each other and try and make the correct sentence and then write it on a piece of paper.

9.One person brings the paper to the blackboard and places it face down.  The teachers check the answers from each group and give out points accordingly.

10.Check the grammar point after each sentence so that the students understand the focus and the meaning of each sentence.

If you have a sentence with 7,8,9...words, just have the students decide each time who will "wake up" for the extra words.

Word of warning...some kids may actually fall asleep, so watch out.

Michael Holsworth


author:  Jordan Svien
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Where are you from?
big_small:  Small Groups

This is an activity that lets your kids show off their creativity and use new English at the same time.  After teaching your kids "Where are you from?" "I am from .... !" and going over various country flags with them, you can give them a chance to make up their own country! 

Kids love to draw, so give them a bunch of pens and their own A4 blank paper and let them create their own country flag.  Then have them write their new country's name on the bottom (in English or in Japanese for little kids).  The kids will come up with all sorts of goofy names, and one of my kids was showing off her new country "Dansu Pajan." 

Once they've finished naming and coloring their flags, have them stand up and say "Hello, my name is ________I am from ________ (their new country name)!"  For older kids, you could also add "My colors are ________ and ________!"  telling what colors they used to color their country's flag.

My kids really enjoyed getting to draw and use English together.  It gives them an alternative to the standard "I am from Japan" line and lets them pretend they are from another corner of the world.  I hope you find this useful!

Best wishes,

Jordan Svien

Football Crazy, Football Mad

author:  Nigel
level:  Upper Elem / Junior High
target_English:  anything depending on age
big_small:  Big groups

This game is for elementary kids upwards who can stand patiently in line and for both large and small groups

Try and play this game in the sports hall.

You will need a football, a net and a blackboard. (or basket ball and hoop)

Have the children and blackboard at one end of the hall, the ball in the middle and the goal at the far end of the hall.

Draw a football pitch on the board (or basketball court, or rugby field, or american football pitch). Divide the pitch into 5 sections. You will also need a magnetic ball to place on the blackboard too. (If 5 sections are too few, then feel free to add more)

Next line up the kids in 2 rows in front of the blackboard.

As this is the beginning of the game the magnetic football starts in the middle of the field.

Next play rock, paper, scissors to see who kicks off.

You then ask the first person in the team to answer a question. If he gets it right the ball is passed forward to the next section and the next player gets to answer the next question. If he gets the question correct the ball should be now in the penalty box. The third child then has to answer a question. If he gets it right he can then run to the football and try and score a goal. If he succeeds that's 1 point to his team. The magnetic ball will then be placed back in the middle of the blackboard and the opposition have their go. Put the real football back in the middle of the hall.

If he fails to score it is like missing in which case the next team start their turn from the penalty box (a goal kick) and try and advance the ball to the opponents goal mouth.

If at any time a child cannot answer a question or gets it wrong, then play is passed to the opponents team who start to pass the ball forward from that sector. (Just like they have been tackled and lost ball possession).

The amount of time you give a child to answer is up to you and the age of the child, but probably having to answer the question quickly will make things go better.

If you have a basketball and hoop the child can run and try and make a basket.
If you have a rugby ball then the child tries to kick the ball above a certain line on the wall. (Hopefully no windows will be broken)

If you don't have a sports room, then roll up a piece of paper and try and hit a target on the blackboard.

As for questions, it depends on how old they are.

If you want you can also allow the opposing team to have a goal keeper who can try and save the shot.

At the end of the game the team with the most goals scored is the winner.


Passy the Flashcard

author:  Nigel
level:  Kindergarten
target_English:  words, phrases, sentences
big_small:  Small Groups

Just like passy the parcel, or pass the bomb really.

Have a lot of flashcards and put them into a bag.

Put the children in a circle. Play the genki songs CD (or nursery rhyme CD or other esl music etc) and get the children to pass around a bag filled with flashcards ( or mini cards ). Have the children sing along to the CD as the bag is passed around.

When you stop the music, the child with the bag has to pick out a random card and then, depending on their age etc, say what is on the card, or make a sentence which includes the name of the picture.

If you have a lot of older children maybe try 2 groups/circles. One group has a bag of flashcards with questions, the other has a bag of flashcards with words so when the music stops, one group picks out a question and asks group 2. Group 2 pick out their flashcard for a reply.

So you could get things like group 1 asking "What's your name?"
Group 2 pull out a picture of a tomato and have to say something like, "My name is tomato".
Or group 1's flashcard says "What do you like to do?", group 2 picks out of the bag a flashcard of an egg and says something like "I like to throw eggs" or "I like to eat eggs "


Musical Chairs

author:  Nigel
level:  Kindergarten
target_English:  learning songs and rhymes
big_small:  Small Groups

 Have the children practise singing all the genki songs (or other esl type songs, or nursery rhymes etc) while playing musical chairs.

Remind them to sing along to the CD or tape as they move around the chairs. Then when the music stops....well I guess you know what happens next.

The more children that are playing the more chairs you take away, otherwise it is a long wait for the next game, however the children should continue to sing even if they are no longer in the game.


I, You, He, She, They Cards

Author: Ben
Level: Any
Target English: I, you, he, she, they

Here are some great flashcards for teaching "I", "You," He", "She", "They" etc.

I also got the idea that it may not be such a good idea to write the words on the front, as these cards could potentially be used for various things. ie

"I, you, he, she, they" ie "I ran this morning."
"me, you, him, her, them" ie "He gave it to me."
"my, your, his, her, their" ie "It's their ball."
"mine, yours, his, hers, theirs" ie "It's hers."

Wow, looking at these lists, I'm convinced that English is messed up!


Famous People Cards

Author: Taff
Level: Any
Target English: Months of the year

Genki English viewer Taff has put together an amazing series of cards featuring famous people. They are great for teaching months of the year, or you can play a game similar to the Genki English Card Game.

The file is rather large at 2.3. Mbytes but they are great cards! "Famous People Cards pdf Download"


Printable Word Searches

Author: Roger in Imakane
Level: Upper Elementary / Junior High

This is far from original ... but it works well in groups. I know we are not supposed to focus on writing in our elementary school lessons but...

I have a few 5th and 6th graders that from time to time are challenging. I use Genki English a lot in my lessons and to spice it up a little for these higher grades (and some mixed levels) I have made Word searches for each Genki English lesson.

I also make sure I do a demo on the whiteboard as a group and I make sure they do it in groups of 3-6 students (so they can help each other)

I use the 8 words used in the GE lesson only.
eg if I was doing , "What sports do you play?", along with a game I would use a Word Search with the words "Rugby", "Soccer" etc etc

I find its good to have as a back up plan for a lesson that finishes early or problem classes etc

Where are you going?
Where are you from?
What do you do?
What are you doing?
How much?
How did you get here?
How are you?

Roger in Imakane


author:  Jonathan Isaacson
level:  Junior High
target_English:  Vocabulary
big_small:  Big groups

  English Splat! (based on a game I learned from the U of Chicago fs ultimate Frisbee team)

Have the class stand in a circle.
Everyone gets a flash card (pictures, vocabulary words, etc.)
Go around the circle making sure, practicing all the words.

Now the fun part.
The teacher (you) says one of the words on the cards.
The student holding that card has to duck/crouch down.
The students on either side of the crouching student turn and face each other
The first one to say the word on their opponentfs card is the winner and stays in.
Gather the cards from the losers for later. (Ifll get to it)
Continue in said fashion until you have only four students.
(For added difficulty, have the students who are out stay in the circle. This makes people think about who they are next to in the circle)

When you only have four students, collect their cards and have them face off in, duel style.
Have the first two students stand back to back and give them each a new card.
Three steps, turn, look and shout. Faster person stays in
Repeat with other two and then with the winners to determine the class champ.

For an added element of challenge, if the student who is holding the card the teacher calls is too slow to duck, that student is out.

This is easily adaptable for just about any level. Have more advanced students conjugate verbs, or say opposites. Use phrases. Lots of possibilities and I have found that the kids really love this game. The first time around takes a little while to explain, but in subsequent classes, it runs really quickly with little explaining required.

Hope you enjoy and have as much fun with this as my students and I did.


(Shin Kei Gumi) Matching People Pairs

author:  William Ellor
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Anything
big_small:  Small Groups

This game is based on the classic childrens' "matching pairs" game that I'm sure most people played when they were really little, where you have a set of picture cards spread out face down and players take it in turns to turn over two cards and try to a make pair.

This game can be used to teach any target English, but for this example lets say the target phrase is "How are you?" and the various answers "I'm fine/happy/sad" etc.

First of all run through the target phrase with the kids so they're all reasonably comfortable with it.

With the kids sitting at their desks (or spread out in the gym) give each kid a small card which represents one of the various answers.  For example a card with a smilie face on it would represent "I'm happy", sad face; "I'm sad" and so on.  Its important the the kids keep their card a secret. 
The number of cards that you will need depends on the size of the class but for a class of about 30, make 4 or 5 cards for each answer, depending on the number of answers there are.

Make sure that everyone knows the answer that their card represents.

Choose one kid to come to the front of the class.
The object of the game is to find matching pairs.
The kid at the front chooses somebody, anybody and asks them: "Mr/Miss _____, how are you?"
That person then replies with the answer on their card, so if they happen to be holding the smilie face card, they reply: "I'm happy."

The kid at the front then picks ANOTHER person and asks them the same question.
If the two answers match, GREAT!  The kid at the front gets to have another go.  If they don't match, never mind, he/she sits down and somebody else comes to the front to have a go.

Make sure that everyone knows that the object is remember where the various answers are.

When a pair is made, the two children who answered get new cards so the game can continue indefinitely.

To make it more competitive, split the class into teams first and award a point to each team for pairs made.  I've also done it awarding small prizes to anyone who could make a pair for end of term lessons and that sort of thing which went down really well.

This game is good because the kids are so busy trying to remember where the various answers are, they don't worry about the English and it soon becomes second nature to them.

Hint: Make sure the kids know that they aren't trying to make a pair with the card they're holding, when they come to the front, their card doesn't matter at all.

This game is called Shin Kei Gumi Pairs because in Japan the game pairs is called Shin Kei Sui Jaku ( which actually means "nervous breakdown"! - Richard ) but I could never remember that, Shin Kei Gumi was a close as I could get.  Feel free to call it what you like.

Have fun!

William Ellor

( There are some online "Shin Kei Sui Jaku" games on the Phonics page and Japanese pages - Richard)

Guess the Value

author:  Nathan Jacobson
level:  Junior High
target_English:  question & answer / "the most,best,etc."
big_small:  Big groups

I have discovered two fantastic ways to come up with cool new games for your Eikaiwa lessons.  One of course is to check the games page on  The other which is almost equally effective is to sit on the sofa and watch Japanese television.  Japanese television is full of cool games that all your students will immediately recognize and that with just a bit of tweaking can totally be adapted to your English lessons.  That being said here is a game that I ripped off from Japanese television that will work brilliantly for your older students. 

The original television show is called Bari Bari Value.  It is a show where contestants form teams of one male and one female and then the teams all line up in a row.  The team in front is considered to be in first class, the second place team is in business class, third place is in economy class, and last place is in the cargo bay.  Naturally the object of the game is to end up being the team in first class. 

The way to do that is by competing to guess the value of certain items. 
The team that comes closest to the actual value gets to move forward one class. 
So if a team started in the cargo bay and won one time they would move up to economy class and the team that had been in economy would drop down a level into the cargo bay.  If the same team wins the next time they move from economy class to business class and so on. 

Although on the show all the questions revolve around the prices of certain objects I found that it is much more fun to get some trivia questions off the internet and go with that instead.  For example a few questions I used were:
How many hairs are in the human head? (Answer:10,000)
How far can a kangaroo jump? (Answer: 9.15 meters)
How fast can a dragonfly fly? (Answer: 96 kph) 

What really makes this easy to adapt for school is that most junior high school and high school classrooms are already arranged with the students sitting in 4~4 rows and paired off in boy-girl combinations.  When you do this game in class first read a question and write it on the board.  Then give the students some time to talk in their pairs and ask them to write their answer in big letters on a piece of paper.  Next have them hold up their papers while you write the answer on the board.  The team that guessed the most accurately from each row will switch with the team in front of them.  If the team in front should happen to win then they just stay seated in the front row.  This game works best in junior high and high school classes but by adjusting the level of the English you could probably use it for 5th and 6th graders as well.  Happy teaching!

Nathan Jacobson

The Narcissist game

author:  Nathan Jacobson
level:  Elementary
target_English:  vocabulary/short question & answer
big_small:  Big groups

This is a game that I ripped off from a Japanese television show called Waratte ii Tomo. Actually this TV show is full of great games that can be adapted to your Eikaiwa class.  Check it out sometime!  Anyway, the name of the game on the show is "Kanchigai Shiteiru no ha Dare??"  Basically it means "Who thinks too highly of themselves". 

You run this game in two rounds. 
There is one round for the boys and one for the girls. 
I usually start off with the boy`s round. 
What you do is get five brave souls to volunteer and have them stand up in a row along the blackboard at the front of the class. 
From this point on they absolutely cannot look at the blackboard behind them. 
Then you take five English flashcards of the same category. 
For example you could have five fruits, five animals, five dead American presidents or whatever. 
Then you hang the pictures at random behind the students; one card for each kid. 
From this point on whatever is written on that card is the student`s new name.  For example if one student had a picture of a giraffe behind their head they would be referred to only as "Mr./Ms. Giraffe."  Be careful that you don`t accidentally use their real names and make sure the other students don`t either. 

Okay, now comes the fun part. 
If your volunteers are boys you ask questions only to the girls (and vice versa). 
Pick one girl from the class and ask her a question like:
"Who is the most handsome/charming?" 
"Who is the best armwrestler?" 
"Who is the most likely to become the Prime Minister of Japan in the future?" 
Anything like that will do.  But only ask her one question.  So if the question is "Who is the most handsome??" there will inevitably be uproarious laughter while she tries to pick the most handsome boy of the five.  After much delay she will eventually answer with something like "Mr. Zebra is the most handsome." 

Continue by asking four more questions to four different girls until all the boys have been picked for something. 
Each boy can only be picked one time so this makes it interesting at the end when there is only one boy left to be picked. 
Okay so now it`s time to find out who the narcissists are. 
Repeat the answers to the boys to remind them of which person matched up with which answer then give them a moment to decide which one they think they are. 
Then go down the row one by one and have them guess which person they are (Mr. Zebra, Mr. Monkey, etc.) 
Make a mental note of which boys guessed wrong and which guessed correctly. 
On the actual show the ones who guess wrong get bonked on the head with a falling bucket.  I usually add that part in for fun. 
Repeat the process one more time with girls up at the front of the class and you`re finished. 

This game is a lot of fun because the whole class can see which volunteer matches up with which name but the volunteers themselves are totally clueless.  I have used this lesson in every class for grades 2nd to 9th and it always leaves the whole class rolling in the aisles.  Just adjust the English a little for the different age groups and you`re ready to go.  Happy teaching!

Nathan Jacobson

NEW: If you have any lists of questions that could be used with this game then please send them in!

The One-in-Three game

author:  Nathan Jacobson
level:  Elementary
target_English:  vocabulary
big_small:  Big groups

This is a lesson that has always been a big hit with the younger classes.  The rules are very simple but this game always gets very competitive.  First decide what vocabulary words you want to drill for the day and get your flash cards ready.  At the start of the class review the cards with your students a few times.  After that`s done divide the students up into about three or four teams and have them decide who will go first from each group.  Next pull three cards from your set and pick one of them to be the special card.  Then have the students wait a minute while you slip into a nearby, unused classroom and hide all three cards. When you came back to the classroom the students will be raring to get started.  But you have to hold them back long enough to explain that only the one special card is worth points.  The first student to find and bring back the special card will get one point for their team.  The other two cards are worth nothing.  Continue the process over and over until all the students have had a turn, you have used all your cards, or until enthusiasm dies out completely.  Warning: Enthusiasm rarely dies out with this game.  I have had a lot success with this game in pre-school & 4th grade levels but it could be adapted for slightly older kids by adding a bit of conversation after they bring the card back.  Happy teaching!

Nathan Jacobson

Where in the world is Craig's Motorcycle?

Author:  Craig Dwyer
level:  Elementary
Target English: Countries, Landmarks, Where are you going?  Lets go to _____. etc.

This game is based on a popular video game and TV show in the 90`s.  The game follows a secret agent around while she gathers clues from all over the world.

However this time, someone (a student in the class) has stolen Craig's Motorcycle, and the students must find clues to figure out who did it.

- Interview a dozen or so students, asking them questions about their personal lives.... Age, family, Pets, Height, Shoe size, etc.  Use this information as your hints.
- Make country cards (or landmark or any kind of place) and post them all over the gym with numbers.  These will be the stations.
- Make some dice with only 1-3 on them.
- Make a map with the gym layout on it, so the kids know where every country is.
- Make some hint envelopes and put one envelope at every station.
- I know this is a lot of work!!!  But once you do it once it's made forever.....;)
- each team gets a map and a dice

- Groups start at random stations.  4 or five groups is best.
- Teacher says `dice` and the kids roll their dice.
- Then they get a second to decide where they are going to go.
- Teacher asks them, where are you going? and they respond as a group, we're going to____ or lets go to____ ' or whatever  you decide the target English to be.
- They then go the next station and look at the clue there.
- Repeat this until one group is ready to guess.  When they are ready to guess they put the persons name in an envelope and give it to the teacher. 
If they are right, they win.  However, if they are wrong, they are out of the game!
- Continue until all teams have submitted one guess.
- Play again.

Craig Dwyer

Typhoon Game

author:  Dan Pallmann
level:  Elem to Junior High
target_English:  Any questions or vocabulary

Many of you may already know this game.  It is great for large classes and you can adapt it for any level.  My 4th - 6th grade classes really enjoy it. 

What you do first is make some teams -- I use the 6 rows.  You'll want to have at least 4 teams.

On the chalkboard you put many cards in rows (I use a 6x6 grid).  On the back side will be point values, the front can be blank.  You also need to label the rows and column with letters and numbers (think battleship).  I use A-F and 1-6.  Each card has a number and letter (A-1, A-2, etc.)

Now for the game: You ask any review question and have students raise their hands to answer.  If correct, they pick which card they want ("I want C-3").  The point value on the back is the number of points they get.  But here's the twist: a few cards will have a "T" instead of points.  A "T" means they receive 0 points for their team, but they can also wipe out another team's points from the board (it's a typhoon). 

This game gets quite competitive, which is great!  I add to the fun by making little houses to tally points (a 5-sided house is 5 points, and all my points are derivatives of 5: 5, 10, 15, 25).

Variations: I sometimes replace the letters and numbers with vocab (occupations, places, sports, whatever).  That way they can practice sentences like "I want to be a OO." 

This game is usually good for at least 20 minutes.  Happy Teaching!

Dan Pallmann

Heads down, thumbs up

  Author: Anthony Chapman (Tonester)
level:  Junior High
target_English:  Body parts, "I think....."
big_small:  Big groups

This game is great in Upper Elementary and especially all levels of Junior High.

1. Pick 5 or so students from the class and get them to stand out the front. 

2. Say the phrase "Heads down, thumbs up" and get the other students to close their eyes, put their heads down on their desks and their thumbs sticking up.

3. Get the 5 students to pick a person with their head down and touch that person's thumb.

4. When those 5 students are finished and are back standing in their places say the words "Heads up, stand up" and get those students whose thumbs were touched to stand up.

5. Each student who was touched must guess who touched them by saying "I think XXXXX touched me"

6. If that student is right, the student who touched that person must swap places with the person they touched.

7. If that student is wrong he/she simply sits down.

8. Restart from step 2

This game worked well in my 1st grade JHS class and many laughs were had as a result. It would be good for most levels in elementary schools but beware of those students who choose to hit rather than touch people or speak while looking for a person to touch.

Anthony Chapman

Spin the Bottle

Author: Brian Sabin
level:  Junior High
target_English:  vocab
big_small:  Big groups

I thought of a horrible elementary or middle-school game adaptation for Valentine's Day that you all might like as much as I do - Spin the Bottle.  Have everyone sit boy-girl in a circle then spin twice to choose a boy and a girl.  Instead of kissing, they have to wave meekly to each other then stand in the middle of the circle.  Each is secretly given a word that they must act out for their respective genders.  The first team to guess their gender's word gets a point. 

Brian Sabin

Map Dash

Author:  Jeremy
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Country Names
big_small:  Small Groups
  Age: For years 4-6

Map Dash is a high energy (sometimes too much so) game for teaching geography. There is a lot of running but it also needs a magnetic white/black board, so the ideal place would be a large "playroom" rather than a gym or normal class.


1 Large world map (the bigger the better) most school have them. Japanese is OK
4 or more magnetic buttons
a magnetic blackboard
lots of space

1- Preparation:
Divide the class in at least 2 groups and up to 4. Any more than 4 is getting a little dangerous. Line them up at the back of the class (try to give them at least 10 meters of running space to the board). Between the students and the board place the magnetic buttons on the floor, one in front of each group. On the board put up the big world map. Show the students the game a few times, they usually get it pretty quickly.

2- Language Practise:
Hold up a map. For example New Zealand. Then ask "Where are you from?" the students reply "I'm from New Zealand!"

3- The race:
Yell "Go!" and the students run up to the board (on the way scooping up their button, kindda like rugby) and try to be the first one to put their teams button on the right country on the map (watch the boys, they can be a little rough) for one point. Keep a score on the board.

   You can also have "challenge countries" for more points. For example the US and Australia are easy but Italy is really hard. Its hilarious watching them sprint up to the board, stop for a minute to figure out where it is, then slam the button down when they finally figure it out.

That's all. Simple.

Again this game can be at little rough so make sure you have plenty of space and not too many groups. I've never had any injures from this game because I only play it with older kids and only in a big space. However I can see how there could be problems.

I'm a new teacher and this is my first game submission (I have other games) so this game maybe could be made better. Suggestions are welcome.

Being from New Zealand and being a rugby fan, I think all my games are high-energy, but I'm always careful how I run them and the kids seem to really like them.

(Maybe some photos soon)


Giants Wizards and Dwarves

Author:  Toby Kurk
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Only "giant" "wizard" and "dwarf" and basic classroom games phrases.
big_small:  Big groups

This is a physical team Janken ( rock, paper, scissors) game. It does not involve much of any English as such, but it is tremendous fun, and has no prerequisites whatsoever. It is much more difficult to explain than to demonstrate and play. Here is my honed method for presenting it;

First teach the three words, giant, wizard and dwarf, with the actions;

  Giant - fists up above the head.
  Wizard - arms out straight to the front, fingers pointing and wiggling (like the emperor shooting lightening from his fingers at Luke in "Return of the Jedi")
  Dwarf - Crossing the arms, hands hold the ears. Crouch a little. Or, hands on hips and crouch a little.

I like to sketch on the board instead of using flashcards.

Then explain that the game works like Janken; stone beats scissors, scissors beats paper, paper beats stone. A sketch with arrows does the trick.
Similarly, in this game; giant beats wizard, wizard beats dwarf, dwarf beats giant.

Then use the JTE or some bright spark to demonstrate with; everyone shouts "Giant, wizard, dwarf, 1, 2, 3" together. The players face each other and do the actions as they shout "Giant, wizard, dwarf" and rub their hands together during the "1, 2, 3." and then on the beat that would be 4, the players and shout either "Giant," "Wizard" or "Dwarf" and make the action. Get the class to work out who has won.

When they get it after a couple of demonstrations, explain that the looser has to run to safety and touch the wall behind them, while the winner has to try to touch the looser before the looser reaches the wall. If the winner is successful then the looser joins the winner's team. The team decides which they are all going to be next; giant, wizard or dwarf. It is important that both teams shout loudly and do the action clearly.

Demonstrate a few more times. When the winner catches the other team, pick another volunteer to be the opposite team. Split the class into two teams when everyone has got the idea. Boys v girls lends a friendly competitiveness. Have the teams huddle together separately to make their decision, then they line up at arm's length facing each other along the middle of the room. Each team's safe zone is the wall directly behind them, running off to other walls is not allowed. One person can catch any number of the opposite team, but it is usually a good idea to keep a hold of them to prove that they have been caught.

I have played this game with both large and small classes, of all elementary grades. They have enjoyed playing it every time without fail.

Toby Kurk

Gomi Basketball

Author:  Craig Dwyer
level:  Elementary
target_English:  How Are You? Q-A practice
big_small:  Big groups

1. Break the class into 4-6 teams, and set them up in lines beside each other.

2. Place a card face down in front of the first student, and give each of the first students a piece of paper smashed into a ball.

3. The teacher says go and the first student picks up the card and turns to the next student and does the dialogue.
                                    Student 1: Hello. How are you?
                                    Student 2: I`m ________. Cold, hot, tired, happy, etc

4. The student pass the card along the line until it gets back to the front person then that person stands up and takes a shot with the gomi ( rubbish or trash) ball at the basket.  If they get it in, one point.

5. Change the first person and repeat, but make sure to change the card so they get different conversations.

This can work with any dialogue really, or even just card identification.  Make sure to reiterate that it is NOT a race!  You get points for getting a basket, not speed.  I find this makes the kids slow down and try and do the conversation well, as opposed to rushing through it so they can win.

Happy Teaching!

Craig Dwyer

English Banzai

author:  Neptune Tsui
level:  Elementary
target_English:  All... in fact any
big_small:  Big groups
Photos:  No

Pre-teach English vocabulary with flash cards ( or not...)
Separate students into groups...
Assign each group to each piece of vocabulary...
ALT says each word and gets the according group to raise their hands... (BANZAI)...
Sometimes say the word in Japanese. . ask the students not to respond to Japanese at all ( i.e. hands down)...

Students can either just listen, or repeat the words after the ALT, depending on the level of the class.

Neptune Tsui


author:  Ray & Air Klassen
level:  Senior High
target_English:  giving reasons/discussion
big_small:  Big groups

This game is a great time-killing game and my highschoolers just love it so badly! OK here is what you do.
You are a narrator and all the students are the citizens. Ask all the kids to close their eyes, and then tell them that you will secretly tap one student by a ruler or hand or whatever( or more than one depends on the amount of the players) and he /she will be a murderer. OK.

And then you say "OK I have chosen the murderer. So now everyone opens your eyes."
Then you start the story-- you can greet them like 'Good morning and welcome to the city of ...., Now there's one murderer among you and in every night he or she will kill one person.'

Then it's the night time, tell everyone to "close your eyes".
And when all close their eyes. You say ' ONLY the murderer , open your eyes. Who do want to kill tonight?" The murderer will secretly ,without speaking, point to the person he/she wants to kill.

OK. Then you say "The morning comes, OK everyone open your eyes". Then you announce who has been dead on the first night. Then you can ask the students 'Who do you think is the murderer?'. The students will discuss ( all in English of course ) giving reasons why they think so. If one decides to guess who the murderer is , and if they are wrong, then they have to go out of the game.You can let the students discuss for a while ,also the suspected can defend themselves as well. 

Then you continue, the second, third ,fourth nights .until they guess it right. But the fun part  is... the dead ones in every round don't have to close their eyes anymore since they're they are the one who can see the murderer , but can't talk!..

This game can be really funny! All of my students love it so much, they have a chance to practice how to give reasons in English, either if they 're the citizen or the murderer.
So, make sure you play with a little high level kids and it'll be just so much fun!
Hope you guys like it!

Ray & Air Klassen


author:  Craig Dwyer
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Shopping Conversation
big_small:  Big groups

This game takes a little bit of prep work, but once you've got it made you can use it again and again.... Great for grade 5 and 6

1.  First, prepare a lot of cards related to shopping...close to 30... (clothes, food, etc.) and some fake money.
2.  Make shopping lists (as many as their will be teams), with the the name of the item and a place for the price.  Each team should have a different list, and no two items should overlap.

Pants (picture) _________\
Shirt (picture) _________\
shoes (picture) _________\
Toque (picture) _________\

3.  Make vendor inventory Cards.  Each vendor should have a different card and no two items should overlap onto two lists.

Jeans - 5\
pants - 2\
Hat - 5\

4.  In the Gym, or outside, set up five tables and sit a student at each table (make sure they are well spread out).  Give each student at the table a vendor list and the matching cards.
5.  The rest of the teams should be in line away from the tables ready with their shopping lists.  When the teacher says go, the first person runs to a table and asks if they have the first item on the list.  If they do, they buy it, and return to the group where the second person looks for the second item on the list. If they don't, go to a different table and ask again.  Continue until one team is finished their list.

Excuse me, do you have a_______?
Yes, I do!!  or No, I don't.
How much is it?
(change money for the card)
Thank You
You're Welcome.

6.  The winning team now becomes the vendors and we repeat the process.

This game work very well with grade 5 and 6, and the difficulty can be easily changed.  I use it is as a writing practice game, as they have the write all the names of the items beside the picture (on their shopping list) and also add up the total of everything they bought.  The kids love it!!!  and they really forces them to use English.

Craig Dwyer

Pin the Tail on the ALT

author:  Craig Dwyer
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Left, Right, Up, Down, Forward, Back
big_small:  Small Groups

This is exactly like pin the tail on the Donkey, but instead draw a picture of yourself on the blackboard (or draw a donkey or anything else you want to use). 
Put the kids into teams of 3 or 4, and print out a tail before class. 
Attach it to a Magnet and bring a stopwatch and you're ready to go.
One at a time the teams must shout out instructions to the blindfolded member, while they try to pin the tail on the ALT.
Set a time limit and see what team comes the closest to the bull's-eye.

Craig Dwyer

I'm going to ...

Author:  Craig Dwyer
Level:  Elementary
Target_English:  I'm Going to.......
big_small:  Big groups

 This can be used to teach `places around town` or `weekend plans`.... works well with grade 5 and 6, my kids love it!
- Make 2-4 teams, and make 2-4 lines
- In the gym, spread out cards all along the four walls.
- Have pieces of paper with the names of each card in a hat. ( or try the mini cards)
- The first person on each team selects a card out of the hat, then turns to the person next to them and does the conversation.
- "Where are you going?"  "I'm going to the......"
- Teacher says go and the students race to the card.
- the first student there sits down by the card, and the other does it again.
- Repeat until one team has everybody sitting down.

Craig Dwyer


Author:  Ray & Air Klassen
level:  Elementary
target_English:  for students to make good sentences in English
big_small:  Small Groups

This game is really fun ,trust me! Kids love it very much. It works better with kids from 4th-6th grade. Here is what you do.
Let one kid stand in front of the class.
The teacher writes one word ( or even a short sentence ).
The point of the game is the rest of the class will see the word(s),but not the kid at the front.
The rest need to give the student hints (by acting, or asking questions etc.,but can't say the word ) so he or she will say the word you write.

It's funny as the first time I did it I wrote "I"m fine. Thank you and you? " since the kids tend to give me this answer like a robot every time. I ask 'how are you?' you can start with this one--kids will learn that they actually memorize the sentence and lot of time don't really know the meaning!

One time I wrote a random word like ' Wow!' kid said this to his friend "Hey! I can eat poops!'..surprisingly, his friend automatically said, " WOW!" ..It was hilarious!...Hope you guys enjoy it. Try to use a simple words like 'Yes','No' or 'Sure!' it won't be too difficult to play!

Ray & Air Klassen

Catalogue Game

Author:  Dan
level:  Elementary
Target_English:  Clothes

Here's a game I kinda invented (it is basically just a rip off of Karuta) that seems to work really well in about grade 3-6 elementary school. See what you think I call it The Catalogue Game.

1) Teach clothing vocab.  Things like pants, shirt, shoes, swimsuit, pajamas and underwear (they love that one).

2) Then divide the class into a couple of groups of whatever size you like (I usually make them like 5-7) and place a catalogue in front of them.  Call out a piece of clothing and stand back. 

3) First one to fine what you asked for yells it out shows you and gets a point.  All in all very, very simple game that the kids like.

This game will begin with all the students lined up in single file, but very shortly you will have all the kids surrounding the table you are playing at and yelling out all kinds of things.

This game can get a little dry after a while, so then stick adjectives in there too.  Just ask them for: a red shirt, black pants, tall boots, a girlfs pajamas, running shoes, baseball hat, ugly socks, sunglasses, winter coat or anything else that they might know. In every class I teach like 25 different pieces of clothing including slightly more obscure stuff like umbrella, glasses, scarf, uniform, sandals, suit, neck tie, dress shirt, blouse, skirt, and dress.  Many of the names they already know even in the lower grades and if you try to only go with about 10-12 the game gets boring real soon.

Generally most towns and villages have a dump spot for magazines and catalogues.  Find out where it is and pay it a visit.  Get enough catalogues for whatever the number of groups that you will use.  I like to use all different catalogues for all the different groups and then switch them after a while so that they donft spend too much time memorizing where everything is in one catalogue.  When choosing catalogues, the bigger the better, so that there is more to look through, also if you can get a catalogue with the four seasons that will be best as a winter catalogue will have no shorts or swimsuits etc... and a summer catalogue will have no coats, or gloves.

The only hard rule I stick to is that only one person can touch the catalogue per round and only one person per team can yell at me that they found it.  If you donft use this one there will be the same kids doing all the work.  Or you can use the rule that everyone must be quite and no Japanese can be spoken, but what I like best is just letting all hell break loose.

You can do variations on this with other subject and different types of magazines or catalogues.  You can use it to find vehicles, sports, foods or letters (make sure there is lots of English in it).  In grade six I play a game where I make teams and they have to find cut out and glue down the alphabet in order (or spell words if they are really good).  It takes time for them to find Xfs, Qfs and Zfs, and if they glue it down in the wrong order they have to start over (that part is fun for me), but they seem to enjoy it too. 

Anyways I have used too much of your time so I will say goodbye and take care.


Screaming Game

Author:  Katherine Lott
level:  Elementary
Target_English:  Adaptable to most structures
big_small:  Small Groups

1.  Divide the class into about 4 teams
2.  Clear all the tables and chairs; alternatively go somewhere spacious.
3.  The teams stand in lines at the back of the room.  You stand at the front holding the flashcards for the target vocabulary - about 20 cards works well, so  you might need to photocopy some of the cards beforehand.
4.  You shout a trigger, e.g. 'strawberries' or 'what do you like?'
5.  The front member of each team races up to you and yells (e.g.) I LIKE STRAWBERRIES!!
6.  You give the card to the child who says it correctly and fastest.  Pretending not to hear the first time is always fun...
7.  Keep going till all the cards are used up.
8. Ask each team how many cards they got, and keep a note of the points on the board to encourage competition in the next round
9.  Repeat until everyone is exhausted

They can't get enough of this game.  Warning: you can seriously damage your hearing as they scream the answers in your ear!!

Katherine Lott

How old are you?

Author:  Lynn Kernan
level:  Elementary
Target_English:  How old are you?
big_small:  Big groups

Make cards with the number one on them. Give each student 5 cards each to start with. In pairs the children say "hello," then ask each other, "how old are you?" One card represents one year, so if you have 5 cards, you are 5 years old etc.. Then the kids do rock, paper, scissors, the loser gives the winner one card. At the end of the game the oldest person is the winner. The kids really get a kick out of hearing their teacher say, "I'm 2 years old"!!!

Lynn Kernan

( Also have a look at the "namecard game" )

Hebi Janken

Author:  Lynn Kernan
Level:  Kids - Adult
Target_English:  Any conversation
big_small:  Big groups

All my kids love playing Hebi-janken at break time, so why not turn it into an English game! The kids draw a big snake on the floor (with chalk in the gym, or outside in the playground). The kids make two teams, one at the head and one at the tail of the snake. Shout start and one person from each team runs along the snake. When they meet they have some sort of English conversation, i.e introduce themselves, ask "what animal do you like"etc, depending on the level of the class. Next the kids do rock, paper, scissors - the winner carries on running along the snake, meeting someone else from the other team. If a player reaches the opposite end end from where they started, they get a point for their team!! If you have loads of kids in a class you can have 3 or 4 snakes going at the same time.

Lynn Kernan

( Also have a look at the "leapfrog game" )


Author = lily
level = Junior High
target_English =  vocab review
big_small = Small Groups

1. Ask 6 students to stand in front of the classroom. Put one chair behind the each kid.

2. Give everyone a word card .

3. The Teacher says one word, the kid who hold this word card quickly sits down. The kids who stand at either side of this kid quickly turn around to face each other and say out the word that is on their opponent's card. For example: A kid holds the 'dog' card, B kid holds the 'cat' card, C kid holds the 'bee' card and they stand in a row. If the teacher says: 'cat', the kid who holds the 'cat' card sits down, kids A & C quickly turn around to face each other, A kid will say out the word 'bee' that the C kid is holding. C kid will say out the word 'dog' that the A kid is holding.

See who is the faster one, then he/she is the winner.


3 times

Author = Ben
level = Elementary
target_English = all levels, all vocab
big_small = Big groups

For practicing things like numbers, the alphabet or any other sequences (for random vocab, these could be picture cards on the blackboard, read in order)

(using alphabet as an example)

1. You say "A"

2. One student (chosen by any means legal!) repeats after you: "A"

3. Every other student repeats "A" after the standing student.

If any student calls out before their turn (ie before the standing student has spoken) then they have to stand and the first student sits.

It sounds boring as hell, and the type of game people avoid playing, but its hilarious! It works better if the students know what is coming next and speak involuntarily. Trust me on this one.. it is one of the funnier games I play. Try it for yourselves...


Subbing Soccer

author = Richard Malthus
level = Elementary
target_English = numbers, words
big_small = Small Groups

Split the class up into two teams and seat each team along opposite sides of the court, evenly spread from end to end. Have a goal at each end and a ball (preferably soft) placed in the middle spot. Number (or word) each team member with a different number (or word), but the same as the diagonally (or perpendicularly) opposite player on the opposing side.

When numbers are called, the corresponding players leap up and attempt to kick the ball into the oppositionfs goal. The players remaining seated may hit the ball with their hands, but may not move from the spot where they are seated.
Calling multiple numbers at a time can cause some wonderful mayhem.

This game can also be used for more complex listening comprehension: Give each team member a noun, verb, adjective, etc, or even a simple grammar structure. Read out sentences containing these, and as each player joins the game as they recognize their cue. This can take a little more preparation, as it is harder for the caller to ad lib each call, but a simple set of pre-written guideline sentences can suffice, as conjugations and tenses add natural variation.

Up and Down: If numbers of players already on the court are called again, players must return to their seats.

Goalies: One player from each team may stand at the side of their goal with a rolled up newspaper (or similar instrument) and attempt to defend the goalmouth.

Multiple Personalities: Each player is assigned two different identities, eg; a number (5) and a colour (blue). If either of these is called out they must join the game. This is great combined with the eUp and Downf variation, as you will temporarily end up with uneven teams at times, creating ePower Playf situations. Just remember to keep the calls coming fairly quickly so the substitutions roll.

It could also be a good idea to have a stack of cards with the numbers/words involved in each game with you as you make the calls. Shuffle them well, then go through them once before shuffling again. This is because it can be very hard to keep track of what numbers you have called often, and which you have neglected. This way every kid gets a fairly even amount of turns on the court.

Richard Malthus

Soldiers and Ninjas

author = Mat Gutch
level = Elementary
target_English = Any Conversation
big_small = Big groups
(Adapted from a Japanese game)

 Select 4 volunteers. These students are the soldiers and will be asking the questions. Get the 4 soldiers to stand in a straight line across the room (about 10 feet apart). You are the King and sit in your throne about 10 feet behind the 4th soldier. Assign each of the 4 soldiers a question (eg. What's your name?/ How old are you?/ How are you?/ What sports do you play?).
 The remaining students, the ninjas, gather at the starting line about 10 feet in front of of the first soldier. When you shout "Go!" the ninjas run towards the first soldier and form a queue (first come first served). The first soldier asks the first ninja to arrive their assigned question, in this case "What's your name?". The Ninja replies (My name is...) and they janken in English. If the ninja wins, he/she can go on to the second soldier who will then ask him/her their assigned question (How old are you?). The ninja replies and again jankens with the soldier. If they win they proceed to the third soldier and so on...
 However, if at anytime a ninja loses at janken to a soldier they must return to the starting line and repeat the whole process again (cue cries of exasperation). If a ninja manages to get passed all 4 soldiers they get to have a showdown with the King! You can ask them any question that you've covered in class, eg. What's your favourite food? The ninja answers and you janken. If the ninja wins you have been dethroned and the ninja is now the King (cue much jubilation) and you must join the other ninjas in an attempt to get passed all the soldiers to reclaim your throne. If you win, of course the ninja must return to the starting line again (cue more cries of exasperation). 20 minutes or so is about right for this game although no doubt the students will want to continues playing.

 The good things about this game is that it gives the opportunity for the students to revise/drill dialogue in a fun way without them even realising it. As it takes a very lucky ninja to get passed all four guards without losing at all, students will no doubt have to answer the same questions several times. Now and again let other students become soldiers so they get to practice asking the questions.

 Variations? You can have two, three or more lines of soldiers asking questions for bigger classes. You can also use props such as a crown for the King which adds to the fun. If ninjas and soldiers aren't cool enough, you can always build the game around another theme (eg. Lord of the Rings with hobbits and orks).

 A couple of things to watch out for. The queues for ninjas waiting to battle with the soldiers can get a bit congested at times. The students tend to wait patiently but this problem can be avoided altogether by having another line of soldiers. This will get things moving much quicker. Also, take the opportunity to walk around and check the students pronunciation and prompting when necessary. A bit of a long-winded explanation which would be aided greatly by some photos but this game works great! Try it!!!

Mat Gutch Kochi Prefecture, Japan.    


Author = Lynn Kernan
Level = Elementary
Target_English = Any vocab
big_small = Big groups

This is based on a board game i used to have. It's basically a mixture between Pictionary and Charades.
You can use this game for any vocabulary, it is especially useful for a review lesson.
Firstly, prepare some picture cards, a stopwatch and a dice.
Split the class into at least two groups, and decide who will go first. One person comes to the front of the class and picks a picture card.
Next they roll the dice. Number 1 and 2, mean they must act out the vocab, 2 and 3 mean they must draw the vocab and 5 and 6 mean they can choose drawing or acting.
You can play this for as long or short a time as you wish, and keep scores with one of the Genki-English score board ideas.

Lynn Kernan

Home Run Derby

Author = Brian Shepherd
Level = Elementary
Target_English = vocabulary review
Big_small = Small Groups
What you'll need: a box, lots of flash cards, a minimum of 10 students

Clear out the desks.  Using four chairs, make a baseball diamond the size of the classroom. It works best if the front of the classroom serves as home plate. Move the podium to the middle of the classroom.  This is the pitchers' mound.  Divide the students into two teams (Yankees and Mariners or something fun like that). Uneven teams mean that students will not continually go up against the same person, a plus in this game. Take a box, preferably wider and longer than A4 paper, and fold the bottom flaps in.  The box now serves as a blind to hide your flash cards from the students on first and third base.  Ready your stack of flash cards on your pitcher's mound (podium).  You are the pitcher.  Put a student from each team on each base. 

The game:
As the pitcher, you will show the students at home plate a card through the hole you have created in the box.  Once the students at home plate see the card, they dash to first, whisper the word from the card to their teammates.  Then the students at first run to second and whisper the word to the second base students.  The second base students run to third and whisper the word to the third base students, and then finally the third base students run to home where they shout the word out to you (or the home room teacher, who may serve as the umpire).  The team to cross home first and say the word correctly scores one home run.  If the word is incorrect, the student can return to third to recheck their answer with their teammate.  If the students cross home at the same time, have them janken (in English) to see who gets to give the answer first.  The students continue to rotate around the bases, serving one turn at each base until they reach home.  The main pressure in this game lies on the student who is at home plate.  They will be the only student to see the card.  If they don't know the English word they may hesitate or give up.  For this reason, I tell them that if they don't know the English they may use the Japanese word, hoping that one of their teammates at first, second, or third base know the word in English.  Of course, if the word goes all the way around the bases and the third basemen crosses home plate and shouts the Japanese word, no points are given.  But usually someone on the team will know the word in English before the word travels around the bases.  And even if they don't, the fun of the game for the students is racing around the bases.  Before starting the game, decide how many you want to go until.

Batter up!

Brian Shepherd

What's not there?

Author = Lynn Kernan
Level = Elementary
Target_English = stationary
big_small = Small Groups

This is a game I used to play at Brownies!

Teach the class stationary vocab.

Split the class into groups of about six people. Get each group to place ten items found in the classroom on their desks, i.e pencil, ruler, eraser, chalk, notebook etc. Choose who will go first; this person has ten seconds to look at the items and memorise what is there. Then they must turn away while the rest of the team remove one item.
The person turns back around and guesses what is missing, in English, and gets a point if they are correct.
It can be advanced by having more items, taking away more than one item at a time or introducing more vocabulary i.e "what is missing?"- "the red pencil" etc.

Lynn Kernan

The Harry Potter Game

Author = Bridget McNamara
Level = Elementary
Target_English = actions, animals
big_small = Big groups

The Harry Potter Game is based on Candlesticks or Stuck in the Mud.
When I did this game with my students, I taught them the question/answer set of "What are you doing?" "I'm dancing/jumping/cooking/playing soccer etc", but other teachers who have played the Harry Potter Game said it worked with animal or action vocab too.

(Perhaps in a previous class) teach the vocab (try the Warm Up Game) . Get them motivated, by saying we're gonna play the Harry Potter Game!

1. On the day, roll newspaper into wands and go outside.
2. Divide the class, give wands to 1/3 and they become Voldemort (sorry for mentioning his name).
3. The remaining wandless 2/3s are Harry Potter.
4. Give the Harry Potters a 10-second head start then let the Voldemorts loose. 5. When a Voldemort catches a Harry Potter, they wave their wand and shout an instruction at Harry eg jump/dance. Harry Potter then has to do that action in the same spot until they are saved.
5. The spell is broken when a FREE Harry Potter comes along and asks "What are you doing?" and the caught Harry Potter replies "I'm jumping/dancing". With that complete, Harry Potter is now free and the world is okay again!

We swapped over the Voldemorts and Harrys several times within a lesson and the kids do get quite tired, but they love it and request it often!

You can extend the target vocab by teaching them wand, wizard etc, plus I also taught the captured Harrys to call out 'Help me Harry' to draw attention to themselves.

But be warned if you play with kids you will become a target for the entire Voldemort population, and will find yourself either jumping or spinning for the entire lesson. But I guess at least you'll burn off kyuushoku that day! 

Bridget McNamara


Author = Bridget McNamara
Level = Elementary
Target_English = any dialogue
Big_Small = Big groups

This game involving collecting things and janken is a sure-fire way to practice any question/answer dialogue.

1. Cut up paper into little pieces.

2. Teach the kids 'Rock Paper Scissors'. The Genki English song is really cool.

3. Teach the kids a short dialogue, for example 'What's your name?' 'My name is OOO'
4. Give each student 3 pieces of paper.

5. They find a partner, do the dialogue, play Rock Paper Scissors and the winner gets a piece of paper from their partner's collection.

6. And then you just keep on going.

Usually I set a goal for the kids, like when they have 6 pieces of paper, they come to me, we count them out in English together and they get a stamp in their Eigo Passport. Then they start from 3 pieces of paper again but this time they have to get 10 or whatever.

And if they lose all their pieces of paper, DON'T make them 'out', they can ask for ONE piece of paper to get them back in the game.

(a similar game to this is the "Name Card Game")

Bridget McNamara

Hexagon/Do you have...? Game

Time: 20-30 minutes
Author = Brian Shepherd
Materials needed (for a class of 40): 60 flash cards: 8 sets of 5 nouns (i.e. 8 dogs, 8 cats, 8 pigs, 8 snakes, 8 rabbits)  I've been using numbers 1-5
Ages: 3rd primary - ???

First teach the kids the sentence, "Do you have..?"  You can start off with "Do you have a pencil?"  Then teach the answers, "Yes, I do."  "No I don't."  Then give each student one card and tell them not to show the card to anyone.  It is crucial that they don't show the card, otherwise it ruins the game. 

One student (or you at first) is IT.  You choose a student at random and ask, "Do you have a 1?"  "If they say, "No, I don't."  Then you mark an X on the board and you get a second chance.  You may choose the same student or a different one.  Some classes you may have to insist that they alternate choosing between boys and girls.  If the second person you chose also does not have the card you guessed, you mark a second X on the board.  If by the third time you still have not guessed a person's card correctly then you have lost. 

At first, when losing, I allow them to draw another card and continue in the game.  With younger students this is best, because they easily cry about losing and also it's a bit boring to sit and be out of the game.  But, if you want to make it more competitive then if, in three tries, you can't guess a person's card, you are out of the game. You cannot draw a new card and must return to your seat as an observer.  (You could also have them do a batsu game to be able to return to the game.) The last person who's card you tried to guess becomes IT and comes to the front of the class.  They turn in their card.  And begin guessing.  If they guess a person's card correctly, they draw a new card and return to their seat continuing in the game. The person whose card they guessed becomes IT, turns in their card, and begins to guess. 

This can continue until interest dwindles, or, if you're playing by the strict rules, until one person with a card is left.  I have never had enough time to make it this far, but regardless of a winner or loser, the kids love the game.

Each time the students have a 1 in 5 chance of guessing correctly, and if they ask the student more than once, or can remember what has been asked previously, even better odds.  Despite what you might think, many times students will guess correctly off of a cold guess.  It is this "luck" of the game that keeps them excited and in to the game.  When I am IT, I put out my hand and act like I'm using some special force (there's another good name, "The Force").  They love it!  Especially, when I guess right.

Anyway, I've found it a good way to introduce and practice the sentence "Do you have...?"  But it could also be used for "Do you like...?"  "Do you play...?"  "Are you a...?" etc.

Brian Shepherd

Feelings Frenzy!

Author : Ruth
Level = Elementary
Target_English = Feelings/How are you?
big_small = Big groups

Make a set of flash cards (or even just pieces of paper works well) for feelings.  You`ll need two cards for each feeling.

Give each student a card.

The object of the game is for the students to ask each other how they are and find the person who has the same feeling as them.

At the start of the game the children walk around the class randomly exchanging the cards (it works better if they don`t look at the cards as they`re passing them)

When the teacher shouts "How are you?"  The kids look at their cards and they have to run around the class asking the other students "How are you?" until they`ve found their partner and then they sit down.

The slowest team is out.

You can keep playing until there are only 2 kids left who are the winners.  As the group gets smaller and smaller the game gets more exciting.

You can also try it by getting the kids to just mime the feelings rather than say it but be sure the kids understand the feeling because I had one child walking around the class miming crying even though he was hungry!!!


Shrinking Globe

Author = Kristan Truong
Level = Elementary
Target_English = Revise vocabulary and also as an ice breaker
big_small = Big groups
Things needed are - newspaper (globe), music and cards with the words the kids need to learn.

How to play - place a word card on each newspaper. Start the music and the kids run around (fast music works better to hype them up). When the music stops, call out a word and the kids have to run and stand on the newspaper with that word. Kids not on the paper are out and sit on the side.  After each go, fold the newspaper in half (hence shrinking globe) and repeat until there is one final winner.
Variations - this game can be played with actual items, like stuffed toys, picture cards can also have a champion round at the end where the newspaper remains small enough for only one person and everyone is back in.
Note - you will need lots of newspaper cos the first few goes will see the paper get ripped to shreds as the kids all stomp on it. Need to tell them to be GENTLE!

Kristan Truong

Row and Column Game Variation

Author = Monika Nowaczyk
Level = Junior High
Target_English = review of anything
big_small = Big groups

This is a really simple variation on the classic row and column game (or criss cross) that almost everyone knows and has used at least once.  It is also a good, quick, practical review of forward, back, left and right.

Instead of asking only one row or one column to stand up, ask everyone in the class to stand up.  Ask any question (reviewing old material, practising new material, anything goes).  The first person to correctly answer can sit down and is given the option to choose "left," "right," "forward," or "back."  The students sitting in that direction can also sit down.  (ie.  If the student who correctly answers says "forward" all the students to the front of him/her can sit down as well).  Continue until there is no one standing. 

Most of my classes love this game and a few of them will actually say "left" when there is no one to the left of them just for a laugh.  Occasionally you get the "de-genkinated" class where only the person in the front of the row answers and always says "back", thereby ending the game in six turns, but that is rare. 

Monika Nowaczyk

One Red Game

Author : Joshua Burns
level : Junior High
target_English : numbers/colors/just getting them to speak some English
big_small : Small Groups

Let me first say that I saw this game on Japanese TV (I forget the name of the TV but I can find out) and using Japanese. So all I did was change it into English.

First to warm up get your kids to count in English and in between each number make them clap twice:

"1, clap-clap, 2, clap-clap, 3 clap-clap, 3, clap-clap..." and so on.

Then pick three colors (ex: red, blue, yellow) and make the students say each color and clap in between. Make sure to repeat the cycle three times.

"RED, clap-clap, BLUE, clap-clap, YELLOW, clap-clap, RED, clap-clap, BLUE, clap-clap, YELLOW, clap-clap, RED, clap-clap, BLUE, clap-clap, YELLOW, clap-clap..."

Now you are going to put the numbers and colors together! Make sure you write out on the board so the kids can follow along (use color chalk). So it will look like this:

g1, clap-clap, RED, clap-clap, 2, clap-clap, BLUE, clap-clap, 3, clap-clap, YELLOW, clap-clap, 4, clap-clap, RED, clap-clap, 5, clap-clap, BLUE, clap-clap, 6, clap-clap, YELLOW,ch

Go as far as you like. Then start over, but this time everyone is going to clap but each student will speak one at a time, going up and down the rows. See how far they can go without missing a beat. If someone messes up, re-start and have that student start.

Now for the tricky/fun part... Re-start the game but this time after one student say a number/color, they clap, but now they have to pick someone to go next by saying their name. (Remember everyone claps their hands.)

Student A: g1, clap-clap, [student B], clap-clap

Student B: gRED, clap-clap, [student C], clap-clap

Student C: g2, clap-clap, [student F], clap-clap

Student F: gBlue, clap-clap, [student K], clap-clap

See how far they can go without messing up. If this happens, start over and have that person go first. Some times this happens really quick so let the same student try again picking on the same people again.
When I played this game with 2nd and 3rd year Jr. High students, they had so GENKI and having so much fun!

Joshua Burns

The Balloon Passing Game

Author: Lynn Kernan
level : Elementary
target_English : Any conversation
big_small : Small Groups

Split the class into rows of around ten people. Give each team a coloured balloon and name teams after their balloon colour. The first person in each row has the balloon between their knees. Then they start a short English conversation, i.e "Hello, What`s your name?" and the second person answers, i.e "Hello my name is Asuka." When the conversation is over, they pass the balloon to the next person between their knees. The winning team are the first to finish.
If the balloon is dropped it goes back two places and they must redo the conversation. If the kids pass without talking try getting them to shout the words they usually enjoy this better!

Lynn Kernan

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