Are you looking for some fresh, new ideas for warm-up activities or games for your ESL or EFL classes? Then you’re most certainly in the right place. We have the best ESL warm-ups, including games and activities for kids, teens or adults right here.
Why Use ESL Warm-Ups?
I’m sure you want to begin your English lessons less awkwardly. I always hate saying, “Hello everyone” and being met with dead silence. Or, asking, “How are you today?” and getting a few awkward fine’s or hello’s.
There is a better way, trust me. I only wish that I’d figured it out far sooner during my teaching career than I did. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I soldiered on with the awkward for at least a couple of years until I figured out that using some ESL warm-ups is a much better plan of action.
The reason I love using ESL warm-ups so much is as follows. You can:
- Ease your students into using English
- Save time when lesson planning
- Have more fun in your classes
Fun Warm-Up Activities to Try Out
If you’re looking for some of the best warm up games and activities for children, teenagers, or adults, then keep on reading for some of my top options.
#1: Word Association Warm-Up Activity for Adults
Unless students are absolute beginners, it’s often the case that they know a good deal about popular topics like weather, sports, hobbies, etc. In this situation, I like to use this ESL warm-up activity to help students activate their prior knowledge. This makes new vocabulary words more memorable.
Want to know more about it? You can see all the details here:
#2: Flashcard Games and Activities for ESL Warm-Ups
I rarely set foot into a children’s TEFL class without a set of flashcards. They are one of the best ways to review vocabulary or grammar from previous lessons, which makes a nice warm-up activity. Have a look here at some of my recommendations:
#3: Is that Sentence Correct?
I often start my classes off with review of the previous lessons. One of the best ways to review grammar and sentence structures is with this activity. Students have to decide if sentences are correct, or not. If they’re incorrect, they have to make the required changes. Check out this nice warm up activity for kids or adults:
#4: Fun ESL Warm-Up Activities and Games
#5: Find Something in Common
This is a nice warm-up activity for adults that are at least at an intermediate level. Students have to circulate around the class, talking to their classmates, with the goal being to find something in common with each person. It’s ideal for working on small talk. Find out more here:
#6: Relay Race
I love to take something old (error correction) and make it new again. Relay race is a nice warm-up activity to review things from previous classes. Students have to work together to correct errors in form and meaning on a worksheet of some kind. Check it out:
#7: Mystery Box
Try out this fun ESL warm up game for kids. Put some common objects in a box with just an opening for a hand to reach through. Students have to feel around in the box and describe something they can feel. Then, they have to make a guess about what it is.
This is a nice warm-up activity to do throughout the semester with 1 or 2 students going at the beginning of each class. Learn more:
#8: Just a Minute
#9: Videos for ESL Warm-Ups
I love to use videos as a warm-up for just about any topic. You can find nice ones on YouTube or English Central and of course, be sure to give students a reason to listen and watch. Learn more about how to use videos in class:
#10: Man/Woman on the Street Interviews
A nice way to begin a lesson is doing some interviews to find out what students think about the topic of the day. This is a nice way to set the context and also help students activate their prior knowledge.
You can have students just talk about the topic for a minute or two, but a more interesting way is to do this activity. Find out more:
#11: Twenty Questions
#12: Ball Toss
This is a nice way to introduce a topic and set the context. Have some questions on a beach ball and students have to toss it around the class, asking and answering questions. Try it out:
#13: ESL Brainstorming Activities
#14: Mixed Up Sentences
I love to begin a class with a nice review of previous material. It’s a nice way to help students get ready for what’s ahead, by covering material they are already familiar with.
This activity is a nice way to review just about grammatical structure. Students have to unscramble sentences in terms of word order. Find out more:
#15: Five Senses
Try out this fun ESL warmer activity with your students:
#16: The Flyswatter Game
Try out this ESL warmer game to review vocabulary from previous lessons. Kids love this activity but I’ve used it successfully with university students and adults as well. If you want to create some excitement at the beginning of the lesson, this is certainly one of the best ways to do that! Have a look:
#17: A to Z Warm Up Game
If students already know a fair bit about a topic, this can be a nice way to set the context and help students activate their prior knowledge.
Have students write down the alphabet vertically on a piece of paper. Then, assign a topic like jobs or animals. In pairs, students have to try to think of an animal that starts with each letter (only one per letter). The team with the most words in the allotted time is the winner. Check it out:
#18: ESL Conversation Starters
#19: Fun Guessing Games
Who doesn’t love a fun guessing game, right? They add an element of mystery and are an ideal warmer activity for almost any class. Have a look here at some of my favourite ideas:
Check Out 39 ESL Warm-Ups
If you want to get your class started off on the right foot, then you’ll need an ESL warm-up activity or game. Find out more about one of the best resources.
Ease your Student into Using English
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 51 Pages - 07/29/2015 (Publication Date)
Many of your students will not have spoken English, or even given it a single thought since your last class. It’s not ideal, but it’s the reality if you teach in a place like Korea or China where English just isn’t that widely spoken.
Begin the lesson with a warm-up activity that eases students back into English, orients them to the upcoming lesson and focuses their attention on the work ahead.
Effective ESL warm-ups are a valuable teaching tool, but finding good ones takes time, a scarce resource for most teachers. That’s what makes this ESL Warm-Up book so valuable. It helps you get the class back into the English mindset while reducing prep time, so you can focus on other important teaching tasks.
The activities themselves are extremely easy to use. They start off with a brief overview so you can get the big picture of what each activity involves and whether or not it’ll work for your specific class. Then, you can have a look at the step-by-step instructions that start from the prep you need to do before class to how to explain and run the activity during class. Finally, don’t forget about the teaching tips that will help you to avoid some of the most common things that can go wrong with the specific warmer.
Sounds like exactly what you’re been searching for in a book of ESL warmers? It likely is.
Save Time: No Junk with these ESL Warm-Ups
We wrote the book for teachers who were tired of wading through all the junk on the Internet to find the one or two things that they could actually use in their own classes. It’s the resource we wish we’d had many, many years ago! 39 ESL Warm-Ups: For Teenagers and Adults has only the goods, minus all the fluff and junk that just doesn’t work.
It’s lesson planning made easy, guaranteed. If this book doesn’t save you time when planning lessons, get it touch and I’ll refund your money. Seriously. Your students will love these ESL games and activities that can get your classes started off the right way with a hit of awesome.
Have More Fun in your Classes
Who doesn’t like a challenging game or activity to start off a class? Or, something to review the material from the previous lesson? A chance to warm up the brain before getting into the serious business of the day?
Nobody! So, get your English class off on the right foot by having some fun with one of these engaging, challenging classroom games.
Buy 39 ESL Warm-Ups Today
If you want to get your ESL or EFL classes off on the right foot, get 39 ESL Warm-Ups now! It’s available on Amazon in both print and digital formats. You don’t need a Kindle to get the digital version-any smartphone, tablet, Mac, or PC is possible by getting the free Kindle App.
Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office, or the digital copy on your phone for lesson planning on the go. It really is that easy to plan some awesome English lessons that begin with a fun warm-up game or activity!
Click the link below to get yourself some awesome today:
ESL Warm-Ups FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about these kinds of activities. Here are the answers to some of the most common ones.
What is a warm-up ESL?
An ESL warm-up is used to set the context for a lesson, review material from previous lessons or get students used to speaking and thinking in English again. You can use a variety of games and activities for a warmer.
What are some good ESL warm-up games?
Some ESL warm-up games to consider using in class are:
- Mixed up sentences.
- Error correction relay race.
- A short video with questions.
- Running dictation.
- Talking with a partner about a topic.
- And more.
Why use ESL warm-Ups?
ESL warm-ups are a nice way to ease students back into using English. Many of them won’t have spoken a word of English since your last class. They can also serve as a lead-in to the topic of the day or review material from a previous lesson.
Have your Say about Warm-Ups for Adults
Do you have any go-to games or activities for an English warm-up? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API