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67 Free ESL Games To Teach English Like An All-Star

67 free esl games

67 Free ESL Games for Teaching English

This list of free ESL games will add a bit of fun to your classroom. The best part? All you have to do is: Download. Print. Teach.

If you’re looking for ESL games for children, they’re at the top of the list.

ESL games for adults are at the bottom.

Use it today in your classroom.

Just a reminder that no need to ask for permission is required.

1. Simon Says

Simon Says Ideas

“Simon Says” is good for teaching imperatives and filling a class with energy.

  • One student gives orders to the class like “touch your nose” or “jump up and down”.
  • But only when the leader says “Simon says”, the other students have to follow their orders.

It’s a classic in classrooms. And kids absolutely love playing it.

2. Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders Boardgame

This game requires a game board and dice:

  • Roll the dice and move ahead for the number on the dice.
  • If you land on a ladder, you go up. But if you land on a snake, you go down.

The first one to the top wins.

3. Numbers Board Game

Number Board Game

For students just learning numbers:

  • Students roll the dice and move their game piece forward.
  • For every number they land on, they have to say the number.

The first one to the end wins the game.

4. Talking Time Bomb

Pass the Ball - Talking Timebomb Vocabulary Worksheet

First, think of a topic. If the topic is “fruits”, they have to think of as many fruits as possible without repeating the same one.

One student starts with the ball. As soon as they think of a fruit, they can pass the ball to the neighbor.

If it takes them longer than 5 seconds to think of a fruit, they are eliminated.

5. Tic-Tac-Toe

Printable Tic Tac Toe Sheet

Tic-tac-toe is a classic game that all kids eventually learn.

  • First, students take turns writing “X” and “O”. One kid is “X” and the other is “O”.
  • If you get 3 in a row, you’re the winner.

6. Group Charades Ideas

Group Charades Ideas

Charades is a game where you act something out without using any words.

  • Choose from a list of topics in the game sheet.
  • Rather than one person acting it out, it’s a group of people.

This makes the game easier.

7. Your Dream Dog

Your Dream Dog

What would your dream dog be?

Would it be small, big, loyal, soft, caring, funny, fluffy, smart, energetic, lazy, or playful?

One of the best ESL games for adjectives.

8. Detective Clues

Detective Clues Puzzle Worksheet

Students pretend to be detectives by walking around the room in search of clues to a puzzle.

  • Put students in groups. Assign one as the secretary who writes down the clues relayed by detectives.
  • After they solve the puzzle, they have to bring the answer to the teacher.

The first team that solves the puzzle wins.

9. Halloween Maze

Halloween Maze

This ESL game is designed for Halloween.

Kids have to find their way out of the Halloween made.

But don’t crash into any of the pumpkins!

10. Alphabet Story

Alphabet Story

Kids have to come up with an imaginative story.

But the only catch is:

The first letter of all their sentences in their story has to be in alphabetical order from A to Z.

11. Einstein’s Riddle

Einstein Riddle Worksheet

This is actually a pretty tough riddle to solve.

It takes a bit of logic and common sense because it’s believed Einstein himself made it up.

Solve the nationality, color, pet, drink, and hobby.

12. Connect the Dots

Flower Connect the Dots

For anyone learning numbers, connect the dots is a great game to get started.

  • Students have to connect the dots in the correct order from 1 to 52.
  • After they draw lines from number to number, the final drawing is a picture of a flower.

13. Cultural Dictionary

Cultural Dictionary Worksheet
  • Each student draws a picture of an item that has cultural significance in their country.
  • Next, they write a brief definition.
  • Finally, the teacher puts it all together as a dictionary.

14. Your Superhero

Your Superhero Story

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Students learn new vocabulary and superlatives.

Best of all, they have fun doing it.

15. What’s in the Box?

What's In the Box

This is the equivalent of 20 questions.

  • Students ask yes or no questions to try and narrow down what’s in the box.
  • Then, the teacher responds until they can guess it correctly.

A twist you can make with the game is when the student guesses correctly, they get the item.

16. Business Cards

Student Business Card

This is a nice ice breaker type of game at the start of the school year.

  • First, students make business cards of themselves.
  • Then, they go around the class and introduce themselves using it.

17. Satisfaction Game

Satisfaction Game Worksheet

One of the ESL games where you describe emotions.

What makes you angry and sad?

Share with your partner. Then, share with the class.

18. Spot the Difference

Spot the Differences Free Worksheet

There are two pictures that look almost identical. But they’re different.

What are those differences?

Try to find all 10 of them.

19. Rhyming Word Search

It’s a word search puzzle with a bit of a twist.

  • Students have to find and circle the rhyming words.
  • Make sure they focus on the ending sounds of the words.

20. Tongue Twisters

Tongue Twisters Worksheet

Tongue twisters are surprisingly a lot of fun in the classroom.

  • Get students to practice in groups of two.
  • Then, put them to the test. Who can say it with the most clarity and speed?

21. Talking Bingo

ESL Bingo - Stand-up Bingo

These Bingo cards have questions on them.

  • Students have to ask around class for students who answer yes.
  • First one to get a line wins the game.

22. Pushy Salesperson

Pushy Salesperson - Advertising Ideas

You have to try and push your partners to buy the item. But the catch is:

It’s something that no one wants to buy.

What are some of its selling features even though it’s obsolete or isn’t working anymore?

23. Ultimate Christmas Present

Ultimate Christmas Present

This is a great Christmas game:

  • Students have to think of the best Christmas present for you.
  • And why would they buy that gift for you?

But it doesn’t have to be just you. It could be the gym teacher or any of their favorites.

24. Smush It

Minimal Pairs ESL Cards

Minimal pairs are two words that sound the same. But they’re different.

  • First, you cut out the cards in the activity sheet.
  • Next, put students in groups of two.
  • After you say the word, they have to grab the correct card fastest.

25. Maze Directions

Blind Directions Worksheet

One student closes their eyes while the other gives directions.

From start to the end of the maze, can you make it through without touching the lines?

26. Comic Books

Comic Book Creation

This activity is a comic book with empty bubbles.

Students fill in the comic book to their liking.

Check how different everyone’s story is from each other.

27. Dream Job

Job Interviews Practice

Students find their dream job by answering questions in the worksheet.

Depending on their answers, one of the dream jobs is a thief.

It’s always funny for students when it’s their dream job.

28. Elephant in the Room

Elephant In The Room - Have you ever questions

This gets students moving.

  • First, the teacher asks a “Have you ever” question.
  • Based on their answer, they either have to run to one side of the room or not.

29. Hometown Newspaper

Hometown Newspaper

If you’re teaching abroad, kids love looking at a foreign newspaper.

The first thing that surprised them was all the color.

Ask them about the headlines, weather, and sports in your hometown.

30. Famous Foreheads

Famous Foreheads

Each student writes a famous person’s name on a sticky note and sticks it on their neighbor’s forehead.

They have to ask questions about the person on their head.

Eventually, they can figure it out. But only if they ask the right questions.

31. Would You Rather

Would You Rather Questions

Students walk around the class asking questions from the worksheet.

Depending on their response, they mark an “X” on the game board.

The first one to get two lines wins the game.

32. Celebrity Interview

Celebrity Interview Questions and Answers

For this ESL game, you put yourself in the shoes of a celebrity.

Get students to pick a celebrity of their choice.

If they can’t think of questions to ask, this worksheet can help guide them through it.

33. Dice Questions

Dice Questions Game

Each side of the dice represents who, what, when, where, why, and how questions.

In groups, they think of questions depending on their roll of the dice.

34. Christmas Crossword

Christmas Crossword Puzzle

This crossword puzzle has questions related to Christmas.

If they can think of the answer, they fill it in the squares.

This is especially helpful for spelling and vocabulary.

35. Like or Dislike

Like or Dislike - Mystery Person Guessing

How well do you know your classmates?

  • Each student writes what they like and dislike.
  • Then, the teacher reads it out loud.
  • Finally, students have to guess who the person is.

36. Famous Politicians

Famous Politicians Worksheet

There are 8 historical figures that students have to match in the worksheet.

It’s not just a description and the name.

But they also have to put a name to the face.

37. Talktastic Board Game

Talktastic - ESL Game Board

This ESL game gets students talking with a board game.

  • First, put students in groups of two.
  • Next, one student rolls the dice and will land on a word.
  • They make a question about the topic and their partner responds.

38. World Record Holders

Animals World Science Superlatives Quiz

This is a quiz-style game where students think of superlatives.

The three categories are:

  • Animals
  • World
  • Science

39. Famous Landmarks

World Monuments and Famous Landmarks Quiz

This is a twist to the matching game.

  • You are given a set of famous landmarks and country outlines.
  • Then, you have to connect the lines for which landmark matches the country.

40. Why Learn English?

Why Learn English Free Worksheet

If you’re teaching abroad, I think “Why learn English” is a question all students have on their minds.

This is why the classroom will have to think about the benefits of learning another language.

Finally, you can go through all the benefits in an open discussion.

41. What’s the Question?

What's the Question

There is a list of topics where you have to make questions for. But it can’t be just any question.

It has to be specific so that the only answer to that question can be that.

42. Roses are Red

Poem Worksheet - Valentine's Day Card

A good poem can take someone’s breath away. Let’s see if your students can take yours away too.

They have to finish the classic “Roses are red” poem.

This is ideal for Valentine’s Day.

43. Reverse Quiz Show

Reverse Quiz Show- Quiz Questions

Jeopardy is the game show where you come up with answers to challenging questions. But this is the opposite.

  • You give the students an answer to a question.
  • Then, they have to make up their own questions specific to the answer.

44. Teacher Quiz

Teacher Quiz - Do you know your teacher?

Before class, you scatter clues and answers around the clues.

  • First, put them in groups.
  • One person is the writer. The others hunt for clues around class.
  • They relay the clues to the secretary and match the correct clues with the answers.

45. Types of Sushi

Different Types of Sushi Menu Quiz

This worksheet shows the most popular types of sushi rolls.

Can you think of the varieties of fish in English?

This is great if you’re teaching in Japan.

46. Shout It

Shout It Board Game

You want your partner to shout what’s on your card.

But you can’t show them the card and you can’t say the word on the card.

There’s a word at the top that they also can’t say, which adds to the challenge

47. Rhyme Time

Rhyme Time Brain Storming

This is a brainstorming activity where you split the class into four groups.

They have to think of as many rhyming words as possible.

The team that can think of the most rhyming words wins. Double-check they are actual rhymes though.

48. Pizza Recipe

Pizza Recipe Transition Words

Students give step-by-step instructions on how to make a pizza.

Which ingredients would they add?

This also teaches imperatives and transition words.

49. Picture Rhymes

Picture Rhymes Worksheet

Each picture has two words that rhyme.

Can they find all the rhymes?

If you want to give an extra challenge, can they make their own rhyming picture?

50. Phone Emoticons

Phone Emoticons Emotions

There are hundreds of emoticons on your phone, nowadays.

This game is all about describing emotions through emoticons.

Which emoticon best describes how you are feeling right now.

51. Text Messages

Text Message Translations

Students become a translator for a common text message conversation between them and their parents.

They can have a bit of fun and make their own story if they want.

52. Minimal Pairs Pictures

Minimal Pairs Pictures
  • After the teacher speaks, the student has to circle the word they hear.
  • When they’re finished, check their understanding by going through the answers as a class.

This one includes /r/, /l/ and /th/ sound, which can often be challenging for students.

53. Metropolis Markdown

Metropolis Markdown

This is like “pin the tail on the donkey” but with maps. We don’t recommend a blindfold either.

Find the city on the map by marking the number.

How far away are you from the actual location?

54. English Shiritori

English Shiritori - Word Chain

This is a popular game in Japanese culture where you have to think of a word that starts with the ending letter of a word.

The only downfall in English is that there are a lot of words that end with “e”.

55. Know Your Flags

Flag Worksheet - Guessing Quiz

How well do you know the flags of the world?

Students have to match the flag with the country.

The first group to finish correctly is the winner.

56. Country Outlines

Country Outlines Game

Students have to think of the country, just by seeing the boundary outline.

Once they have them all complete, they can try and draw a boundary for another country.

57. Compound Words

Compound Words Activity

Each picture shows a compound word. Can students guess what it is?

After they finish the first section, can they draw or a compound word of their own?

58. Christmas Untangle

Christmas Vocabulary Word Untangle - Decipher Christmas Vocabular

This is a surprisingly difficult activity where students have to untangle letters to make a word.

Each word is a Christmas word so that’s a good hint.

59. Capital Cities Crossword

Capital Cities Quiz and Crossword Puzzle

This is a crossword puzzle for capital cities.

More specifically, the capital city for that country has to go in the squares.

This is especially useful for geography and spelling.

60. Timeless Timelines

Timeless Timelines - History Timelines for Kids

In chronological order, can you put the items in the right order?

Starting from the earliest, kids will learn the history of famous people and inventions.

61. Birthday Match

Birthday Match Famous People

You have to match the person or event with the correct birthday.

If you want to get them moving, you can even hang the birthdays on the walls and assign students into groups.

62. Blindfolded Directions

Asking Directions Game Blindfolded Obstacle Course

Make sure you’re in a safe environment for this one because you don’t want anyone to get hurt.

  • Put a blindfold on one student.
  • Help them through an obstacle course by giving directions safely to the finish.

63. Cultural Differences

Cultural Dictionary Worksheet

Make a list of all the cultural differences between the West and East.

Then, go through all the differences as a classroom.

Are these differences fading away? It makes a good group discussion topic.

64. Green Screen

Green Screen Classroom Movie

This takes a bit of time and setup. But it’s also a lot of fun and gets students talking.

  • Students think of a screenplay.
  • After creating a dialogue, they roleplay in front of a green screen.
  • Finally, you substitute in their chosen background scene.

65. Multi-purpose Items

Multipurpose Items

This is a brainstorming activity where you have to think of the multiple uses of an item.

It’s creative, imaginative, and a bit wild for students to come up with ideas.

66. No Subtitles

No Roleplay Activity in the Classroom -Subtitles Voice Over Actors

This is the most difficult out of all the ESL games on the list.

Basically, you’re a voice-over actor.

After starting a movie on the TV, students will have to say anything at the same time the actor or actress is speaking.

67. 101 Free-Talking Topics From a Hat

This activity sheet has 101 free-talking topics.

  • Before class, you cut them out and scatter them on their desks.
  • In groups of two, students pick a random topic and talk freely about the subject.

Monitor them closely to make sure they are talking in English.

ESL Games: More Resources from Us

We hope you enjoy these 67 free ESL games that you can use today in your classroom.

We’ve tested them out and they are among the favorites for students.

If you’re looking more from us, be sure to check out our other ESL games, activities and worksheets:

ESL Games: External Resources from Other Websites

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, there are more great options out there including:

Do you have anything to add? Which ESL games do you like that maybe we missed? Or what’s your favorite from our list?

Please let us know with a comment below.


  1. Good games but most would not be understood by the chinese ESL students. Will try modify those which maybe practical.

  2. These games are great! Thank you so much on behalf of my students in Poland! It will be so fun to play them in the class 🙂 You’re doing an amazing job! I’m so glad I found your website! Keep on the good work!

  3. Congratulation!
    Wonderful material you got here. It’s time-saving for teachers of English, and fun for students.

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