Toilet Paper Icebreaker

Level: Any Level
This activity is used as a "getting to know you", icebreaker on the first day of class.
  1. Teacher takes the toilet paper roll and takes several squares of toilet paper, then hands the roll of toilet paper to a student. The teacher tells the student to take some, more than three.
  2. After everybody in the class has some paper, we count the squares we have, then we have to tell that many things about ourselves, in English.
This activity works well with substitute teachers also.
The toilet paper is such an attention getter.

Chain Spelling (Shiri-tori)

Level: Easy to Medium
The teacher gives a word and asks a student to spell it, and then a second student should say a word beginning with the last letter of the word given. The game continues until someone makes a mistake, that is, to pronounce the word incorrectly, misspell it or come up with a word that has been said already, then he/she is out. The last one remaining in the game is the winner.
This game can be made difficult by limiting the words to a certain category, e.g.. food, tools, or nouns, verbs, etc.

Bang Bang

Level: Easy
Divide the group into two teams. Explain that they are cowboys and they are involved in a duel. One student from each team comes to the front. Get them to pretend to draw their pistols. Say "how do you say..." and a word in their mother tongue. The first child to give the answer and then "bang bang", pretending to shoot his opponent is the winner. He remains standing and the other one sits down. I give 1 point for the right answer and 5 extra points if they manage to "kill" 4 opponents in a row.
Editor's Note: Instead of saying the word in the students' mother tongue, it would be possible to use a picture or to say a definition ("What do you call the large gray animal with a long nose?")

Catching up on your ABC's

Level: Any Level
This game is short and simple. Write the alphabet on the board. Throw a bean bag to someone and say a word begining with the letter A. This person must catch the bean bag, say a word begining with the letter B and then throw it to another person This third person says a word begining with the leter C and so on.
Obviously the game is meant to be played fast. If played with higher level students you may not want to write the alphabet on the board. There are many ways to change the game to make it adaptable to your level of students.

Action Race: This is a fun game using actions. Use actions like jump, hop, clap, run etc. Have the Ss split into two teams and sit in lines with a chair by each team and one chair at the other end of the room. One S from each team stands next to their chair and T calls an action, e.g. "Jump". Ss must jump to the chair on the other side of the room and back, sitting down in their chair Ss say "I can jump". First one to do it gets their team a point. (Submitted by Gareth Thomas).

I spy: T says "I spy with my little eye something that begins with B". Ss try to guess the object (e.g. "book"). Colors are a good alternative for younger Ss ("... my little eye something that is red").

Last Letter, First Letter: (A popular Japanese game called Shiri Tori). Have the Ss sit in a circle with you. T starts by saying a word, then the S to the T's right must make a word that starts with the last letter of the word that the T said (e.g. bus --- steak --- key --- yellow --- etc.). Continue around the circle until someone makes a mistake.

Games with Flashcards or Minicards:

Where's the (cheese)?

In pairs. The aim of the game is to find different items. Each player jumbles their set of minicards and places them face down in a row on the table. Child A asks "where's the (cheese)?", Child B turns over one of his/her own cards. I f it is the correct card, he/she holds it up and say "Here!"and puts it to one side. If it is a different card, however, he/she turns it back face down on the table. Child B then asks a question. the winner is the child who collects all the cards from his/her partner.


The whole class. Each child chooses four or six of their mini flashcards to place face up on the table.Call out one of the items on the mini flashcards , e.g. LIVING ROOM. If any of the children have the picture, they turn it face down in the same place. when a child has turn over all four or six of his/her mini flashcards, they shout Bingo! The winner is the child who shouts Bingo! first each time.

What's missing?

In pairs. Ask the children to place a set of minicards/flashcards in a row face up on the table.Child A covers his/her eyes while child B removes one card of the set from the row. When child B has done this he/she asks WHAT'S MISSING? So, child A has to look carefully to the cards and answer what's the missing card.If this is correct the card is handled to child A. If it is incorrect, the card is put back face up in the row. The children take turns to play and guess the card. The game ends when all the minicards/flashcards have been correctly guessed.

Find your partner:

The whole class.Ask each child to choose one of his/her set of minicards/flashcards and to hold it against their chest without letting anyone else see what it is.Explain that they are going to try to find another child in the class with the same card. Ask the children to stand up and move around the class, saying the word for their card to different classmates. Their classmates say NO if they are holding a different card, and YES if they are holding the same one.When a child finds a classmate with the same card, they raise hands and say HERE!. Then the children choose another minicard/ flashcard to continue the game. The child that has found his/her six partners wins. OPTION: MAKE THE GAME MORE COMPETITIVE BY TELLING THE CHILDREN THEY HAVE 3 MINUTES TO FIND AS MANY PARTNERS AS POSSIBLE. AT THE END OF THE 3 MINUTES, COUNT UP THE SCORES. THE WINNER IS THE CHILD WHO HAS FOUND MOST PARTNERS IN THAT TIME.

Go fish:

In pairs. Ask each pair to put their set of minicards/flshcards together in one pile and to shuffle them (to avoid troubles, previously ask them to write their names in each card of theirs with pencil so as not to fight afterwards about whose card is this). They then place them, face down, in a pile in front of them.Child A guesses what the firts card in the pile is, e.g. "It's a dog", and turns the card over. If he/she has guessed correctly, they keep the card. If not, they return it, face down, to the bottom of the pile. Child B then has a turn. The children continue guessing the cards until the pile is used up. The winner is the child who has the most minicards/flashcards at the end of the game.

Picture Hats:

In pairs. Each child places their set of minicards in a pile face down on the table. Each child picks up their top card without looking at the picture, holds it above their head so that their partner can see what it is. Each child takes it in turn to guess their own card, e.g. "Is it a (ruler)?". The first child to guess correctly wins a point. Ask each pair to keep a record of their points. The children then take another card and play the game again. The winner is the child with the most points at the end of the game.

Hot or Cold?:

This is a class game. The teacher asks 2 pupils to close their eyes and put their heads down. The rest of the class makes sure that they aren't looking! While the 2 children hace their eyes closed, the teacher hides a flashcard somewhere in the classroom. The 2 children then stand up and and move around the room, trying to find the flashcard. The rest of the class helps them in their search by calling out COLD! or VERY COLD! when they move away from the flashcard , and HOT! or VERY HOT! when they get closer. When the children find the flashcard , they say the word. Repeat the activity with different pairs and the pair who has the most flashcards wins.

Bit by Bit!:

Cover a flashcard and hold it up. Reveal it bit by bit. Children try to guess the flashcard. The child who says the name first take the flashcard and wins a point. The child that has won the most flashcards at the end of the game is the winner. OPTION: IF YOU WANT TO COMPLICATE THINGS A LITTLE BIT, USE WORDCARDS, YOU CAN REVEAL THE WORD LETTER BE LETTER, STARTING FROM EITHER THE BEGINNING OR THE END OF THE WORD.

Clever Parrots:

Hold up a flashcard and say a word. If it is the same word as the picture, children repeat the word. If it is different, they stay silent. The child who makes a mistake is out of the game. the child that remains at the end wins the game. OPTION: YOU CAN MAKE THIS MORE FUN BY ALLOWING THE CHILDREN TO REPEAT THE WORD IN A SQUAWKY VOICE.

Mime the Flashcard:

Divide the class in groups and give each group a flashcard. The groups work out how they are going to mime their word. For example, if it is a food flashcard, they can mime eating a particular food. Call on the groups one by one to do their mime. The rest of the class has to guess the word. The group that has guessed most words at the end of the game is the winner.