If you teach English to kindergarten kids, you don’t need me to tell you that it can a little bit challenging. Seriously, I’ve been there and it was tough, really tough. However, I discovered that with some solid activities in my lesson plan, things went far more smoothly.
Kindergarten ESL Activities
Here are some of my top picks for ESL activities and games for Kindergarten Kids. The good news is that Hangman isn’t on the list. And the better news is that all of these activities have some sort of educational value! Happy students, happy teachers, and perhaps most importantly, happy parents.
#1: Flashcard Games
Most ESL textbooks for kids have an optional set of flashcards with all the vocabulary words that you can buy. Whatever you do, try to get your hands on them. They’ll be some ESL teaching gold and you can do a million and one things with them.
To see what I do with flashcards and kindy kids, check out this article:
#2: Concentration Matching Game
This is a challenging, but fun game that kindergarten kids love playing. You make cards that are in pairs. What can be on each card depends on the level of the student. However, with kindy kids, it may be quite simple pictures and words. For example, cat, dog, blue, red, etc.
Then, you place the cards facedown and the first student has to pick two cards. Turn them over, and if they’re a match, they get to keep them. If not, turn them over in the same spot and the next student goes.
This memory game is an excellent way to review vocabulary. Learn more about it here:
#3: Videos in the ESL Classroom
There a ton of reasons why you might want to use videos in your ESL kindy classroom. Taking a break (for the teacher) isn’t really one of them. There are so many educational things you can do that it’d be crazy not to use them! Here are some ways that you can get the best value out of them:
#4: Picture Prompt
Kids love fun pictures (and adults too!). Kindy kids, of course are no exception. A single interesting picture put up on the PowerPoint can elicit a ton of language. It’s the ideal warmer activity so try it out with your kids today:
Playing Games and Learning English with Kindergarten Students
#5: ESL Speaking Bingo
What kid doesn’t love bingo, right? Adults seem to like it as well and it’s kind of a staple in most English classrooms. However, you can make it a bit more educational by including a speaking aspect with it. Instead of just saying the word, you describe it to your students.
Find out more here:
#6: Discussion Starters for Kindergarten Kids
If you teach more advanced, or slightly older kindy kids, you may want to try some of these discussion starters. They cover things like food, family (more ideas here: ESL Family Activities), school, etc.
Check them out here:
#7: Total Physical Response (TPR)
TPR, when done with kids usually involves things like:
- Touch your left leg!
- Touch something blue
- Life two hands into the air
This can be a fun warm-up activity and can bring some energy back into the classroom if you have sleepy students. Kids also never seem to get tired of this thing. More details here:
#8: Mystery Box, a Fun ESL Kindy Game
If you want to have some serious fun with your ESL kindergarten students, then you’re going to need to make yourself a mystery box. It’s ideal for student who know some adjectives.
Find out more here:
#9: Ball Toss
Like mystery box, ball toss is a super fun one that you can try out with your kindy kids. However, be warned that you should really only attempt it with smaller classes, and a beach ball with this age group. The way it works is that you write questions on the ball. Toss the ball to a student who has to answer a question that’s under their right thumb.
Want to check it out? Learn more here:
#10: Odd One Out ESL Warm-Up
If your kindergarten kids know a decent amount of vocabulary, you can try odd one out. You can do this by speaking (and then it becomes a listening activity) or by writing, if they know how to read.
Say or write 4 things. For example: apple, banana, orange, chair.
Which one doesn’t belong? A chair. More advanced level students can say why (it’s not a fruit).
Learn more about this activity here:
ESL Kindergarten Class in China
For even more ideas about how to teach kindy to ESL students, check out this video of a teacher in China:
Have your say about ESL Kindergarten Activities
Do you have any tips of tricks for teaching ESL to kindy kids? Any games or activities that you love to use with your students. Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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