Playing ESL games with your students is one of the most exciting parts of teaching English. There are many games out there to choose from but not all of them are suitable for your students.
Some of the games are difficult for your students’ level, some are not appropriate for their age, and some are difficult to play with the number of students you have in your classroom. Actually there are many other reasons why you can’t play a game with your students.
What I found easy to play with teenager and adult learners of English is games and activities for talking about countries. Here is the best game/activity that you can play with your ESL/EFL students.
There are forty students in my classroom so I divide the students into 10 groups (4 students in each group). You can form pairs or smaller/bigger groups according to the number of students in your class. Each group receives a flag (printed on a piece of paper) and they have to describe the flag (how many colors, where each color is placed on the flag etc).
Allow them 10 minutes or so to complete the task (I always give them an example; I describe a flag so they can see how to complete the task) then have one student from each group to describe their flag in front of the class. The other groups have to guess what country the student is talking about. The group that guesses the country receives a point then presents their flag. The game continues until all the flags are presented.
If your students are not beginners then you may want to continue the game. Ask each group to write 5 facts (5 full sentences written correctly) about the country they just described its flag. These facts can be: location (continent), population, area, the capital city, flag color etc.
For example, the teacher can write this information on the board like this: Vietnam, red, Asia, Hanoi, 90 million, and 330.000 square kilometers. I always give this information to my students since none of them know such things about different countries (not even about their own country). The challenge is to put all this information into full sentences written correctly. You can even make a table on the board and have the students compare the countries using comparatives and superlatives.
The biggest country on the list is the US. The smallest country on the list is Romania. Vietnam is bigger than Romania.
The game can continue by asking your students to write in their notebooks 5 questions (or more) related to the information written on the table.
For example, the questions can be:
Of course, according to your students’ level, you can make this activity more difficult but anyway they can practice asking question and answer them. You can also ask them to write a short paragraph about the assigned country then present it in front of the class.