Game in JapaneseESL, EFL English language teaching site for teachers of elementary and primary school children. Free ESL MP3 songs, free ESL games and teacher training in Japanese

Name Card Game

Target Grade: 2 to JHS
Target English: Occupations (from the "What do you do?" or What do you want to be? themes)

New for VIP members

This is a really fantastic game!
First of all teach the kids the names of several occupations. The quickest and most effective way to do this is to use the "What do you do?" song from CD vol. IV. Then...


1. Print out and give one copy of the worksheets to each student.

2. They cut out and write their name on each name card.

3. After discussing as a class what every kid wants to be, they draw a picture of what they want to be on the final card!

4. Put the cards into a pile.

The Game

1. The kids stand up and find a partner.

2. They ask each other "What's your name?". They answer with the name on the top card of their pile. For the first go this will be their own name.

3. Next they ask each other "What do you do?". They answer with the occupation written on the top card.

4. Next they do "Rock, Paper, Scissors" (using the Genki English song makes it really easy to do in English)

5. The winner takes the top card from their opponent and places it on the top of their own pile of cards.

6. The kids split up, find another partner and repeat from 2.

7. If any kid runs out of cards they come and ask the teacher for some more.

8. Continue till you run out of time and then count to see who has the most cards.

9. Remember to tell the kids that if they lose it just means they get another chance to try again next time!!

This is a fantastic game for several reasons. First of all kids love card collecting games, this game makes the most of this motivation!! It also practises "What do you do?" and "What's your name?" but the fact that the kids exchange cards means that they don't always answer with their own name! They read the top card of their pile, which is often that of a friend! The kids love this! (It's up to you to decide whether they write their names in English or their own scripts. I'd probably recommend English letters!)

There are quite a few bits of vocab to learn here, so it maybe worthwhile splitting it over two lessons. But in any case the song really makes it a lot easier to teach!

I heard of this idea from Craig in Nagasaki, he also had the great idea of the teacher having some special cards such as "Spiderman" or famous sports or movie stars. That way the kids want to practise with the teacher to get the cool cards!! Great stuff!

New for VIP members

Gaz has been at it yet again, this time making monster ebooks of Name Cards for the Name Card Game.
As usual VIP members can download them below, and if you're not a member, get your Download Pack now and join the fun!

Namecard Game Cards colour (pdf)
Namecard Game Cards Black & White (pdf)

Readers' Comments:

by Stephanie

I play this type of game for practicing "what do you like?"  They each get cards from a few categories (fruit, colors, sports, animals, whatever they have learned) and they have to introduce themselves to each other and say one of the things they "like" (ie one of the cards in their hand).  For older kids, sometimes I have them say "my FAVORITE" animal/color/etc. instead of just "I like..."  As you have duly noted, card trading games are extremely popular!  Only problem is that in my 6th (and sometimes 5th) grade classes, often the boys and girls will separate like oil and water... so sometimes I say that they must make sure they talk to everyone at least once... and sometimes I don't push it and just let them have fun.



Sign up to get my top tips, games & hints via email!

Copyright (C) 1999/2023 by Richard Graham
Main Menu -|- Buy the Set -|- Contact Me