Esl games for teenagers

a boy writing down the scores of game image by L. Shat from

No one is ever too old to play games. Although teenagers might pretend they are not interested initially, once an activity gets started, they are as excited as preschoolers. As an English as a Second Language teacher, organising games for your teen classes can serve many purposes.

It helps students that are still insecure with their English-speaking abilities feel more confident. ESL games also help students practice their language skills and work cooperatively with their peers.

Word Chain

Genki English recommends this game it calls "Shiritori" for junior high ESL students but adds that high school and adult students can play it, too. Divide the class into two teams. Both teams line up in front of the board single file. The first person from each team writes any English word on the board. The next player writes a word that starts with the letter that the original word ends in. For example, if the first player wrote "travel," the second player could write "love." Provide the teams a specific time limit. When the time is up, the team with the most words wins.

Vocabulary Game

This game is based on Genki English's Hammer Game. Divide the class into two teams and have them line up on either side of the room. The first student in line from each team comes to the front. Provide them a category such as food, colours or clothing. The students must take turns saying English words that represent that category. If one student hesitates, speaks in his native language or repeats a word, he must drop down and do five push-ups. Both players go to the back of their lines, and the next players come up to the front. You can keep score to make it more competitive.

Circle Scramble

One Stop English recommends this game for teenagers at any language level. Students sit on chairs in a circle. Start the game by standing in the middle of the circle and saying something like "everyone who likes spicy food." The students who like spicy food all stand up and run to a new chair in the circle. Make sure to use statements with vocabulary that your students will understand. After the class is warmed up, take a chair away from one of the students make him the new person in the centre. Except now, when he makes a statement, he can run for one of the chairs. The student remaining without a seat is the new person in the middle.