Printable Materials

FREE materials for ESL lessons!

Categories List

A long list of categories for use with all sorts of games, such as 'Stop the Bus'.

Draw a table on the board with 4 or 5 categories (e.g. colours, fruits, animals, verbs, countries). Small groups of students copy the table on a miniboard or a piece of paper. The teacher calls out a letter and the students race to find a word from each category beginning with the given letter. The first team to find one example of each shouts 'Stop the Bus!' and wins a point. Repeat with different letters. You can make use of this activity to drill pronunciation as required.

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Find Someone Who / Mingle

A Find Someone Who / Mingle template. Students write 3 questions along the top and then mingle with the other students to find answers. This can be used to practice a whole range of grammar structures.

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Machine Gun Grid

Using a grid with words on the top and on the side, students select tiles on the grid and create the correct sentence in hopes of attaining points and avoiding bombs, skulls etc. A variation is to write numbers on the side and letters along the top. Then students answer your questions to win the chance to choose a square. Behind each square is an icon which affects their score which starts at 100.

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Opposites Quiz

Organize the class into teams. Say an adjective, the first student to call out the opposite wins a point for his/her team. The team with the most points at the end wins.

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Pronunciation Grid

Put students into teams. Draw a 4 x 4 grid on the board, get one student from each team to copy the grid and stay at the board (you will have several grids on the board, depending on the number of teams, so size them accordingly). Give the other students in the each team a grid completed with minimal pairs (each team has a different grid, or they’ll cheat!). The teams stand at the back of the classroom and must shout their words to their team-mate who writes the words in the grid on the board (see the Activity Materials Page for a word grid). The following restrictions apply:

  • Students cannot use native language.

  • Students cannot spell the word.

  • Students cannon mime the word or point to it

The students cannot move any closer to each other – they must stay at the board and the back of the class respectively.

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Shout It Out!

Divide the class into teams. Have one student from the first team come to the front of the room and draw a card. The student tells their team the topic and the students have 30 seconds to shout out as many things on the list as possible. The number of words on the list they get is the number of points they get for that round. You can let the other teams have a 15 second chance to come with any more they can think of for extra points. Then have another student from the next team come to the front and draw a card. The team with the most points wins.

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Sticker / Stamp Chart

This is a sticker or stamp chart to use with positive reinforcement. For large classes, it can be easier to give stamps along a row and once they have 8, they can get a sticker in the rightmost column.

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Taboo Cards

Divide the class into teams. Call up one student from each team. Show the two students the same word e.g. in-line skates. They have to stand in front of their teams and try and describe the object without actually saying the word (or any words that are in the word) or using any actions. The rest of the team has to try to guess the word. The first team to guess what is being described wins a point. If a student describing the word actually uses the word, they lose a point. Make sure you monitor the teams closely for any blatant cheating. Repeat the game with new students and a new word. The team with the most points wins.

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Tongue Twisters

Write or hand out some tongue twisters to the students. Practice saying them a few times and then have the student try saying them as fast as they can. You make it into a game or competition, but the focus should always be on accuracy.

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Verb Lists

A long list of irregular verbs for use with many activities, such as 'Irregular Verb Challenge':


Have students stand in a circle. Start by saying a common irregular verb e.g. to eat. The class follows your lead: ‘eat’ , ‘ate’ , ‘eaten’ . Then demo another verb that doesn’t change all three parts, e.g. think , thought , thought . Do one more to make sure the students get it e.g. drink , drank drink . Then the student standing to your right has to say a verb and the students say and perform the actions. If a student messes up, they are out. Continue going faster and faster. If a student shouts out a verb already said or a regular verb they are out as well. The shorter the time limits to say and do, the harder it is.

Download Regular Verbs Here! --- Download Irregular Verbs Here!