Do you want to incorporate some fun ESL grammar activities or games into your classes? Then you’re most certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for all of the fun grammar games you need to check out for your English learners.
Top 18 ESL Grammar Activities
Are you ready? Let’s go to our top pick for English grammar games and activities!
#1: Is that Sentence Correct?
If you want to start your classes off with a quick review of material from the previous class, or round our your lesson with a little bit of review, then consider trying out this grammar activity. The way it works is that write some sentences on the board (or have a worksheet). Some of the sentences are correct while others are not.
The students race to complete the activity, and the winner is the first team who finds all the mistakes. It’s a nice way to review some of the finer details for more complicated English grammar constructions.
Learn more here about this quick warmer activity: Is that Sentence Correct?
#2 ESL Grammar Activity: ESL Surveys
Surveys are one of my all-time favourite ESL activities. They are extremely versatile and can work with just about any topic or grammatical point. The way it works is that students have to circulate around the class, talking to their classmates to find someone who answers yes to one of their questions.
#3: Past Tense Activities
The past tense is one of the first “grammar” lessons that beginner students learn during their first few months of learning English. Sure, you can just soldier on through the textbook, but why not mix it up a bit and incorporate some of these fun grammar activities and games related to this common English lesson.
#4: Using Videos to Teach English Grammar
Did you know that there are what seems like a million and one videos for almost every single ESL grammar point? If you think your students are tired of hearing you talk, or you’re tired of talking, just have a quick look and find one of these videos.
Or, you can also find things like dramas, or interviews with examples of the specific grammar point that you’re teaching like a certain modal verb. Have students give the video a listen and jot down any instances that they hear of this specific thing. It makes a nice review activity for the end of class.
Need more information? Learn more here: Using Videos in ESL Classes.
#5: Can/Can’t English Grammar Game
If you’re looking for a fun game to help your students out with can or can’t, then you’ll want to consider this one. The way it works is that students think of a secret animal (or other things too), and write some hints for the other people in the class using can or can’t statements.
Then, you bring the whole class together and use the hints to help the other teams guess the secret thing. It’s equally fun for both children as well as adults. Try it out for yourself today: Can/Can’t ESL Grammar Game.
#6 ESL Grammar Practice: Proof-Reading and Editing
If you teach ESL writing, then chances are you’re probably focused on things like writing good paragraphs or essays. However, you can also sneak in a little bit of grammar practice as well. The way that I do this is by teaching my students about proofreading and editing. I teach them how to look for things like subject-verb agreements, or conjunction and transitions for example.
Find out more details here, along with the checklist that I give my students: Proofreading and Editing for ESL Students.
#7 English Grammar Activity for Adults: Present Perfect + Simple Past Activity
Most intermediate and advanced level textbook have a unit where they differentiate between these two English tenses. If you’re looking for a fun activity to do related to this, then look no further!
More details right here: PP and Simple Past ESL Activity.
Or, you may also want to check out these ESL Present Perfect Activities.
#8 ESL Grammar Game: Flashcard Sentences
If you teach beginners who are just starting to make complete sentences, then don’t even consider walking into a class without a set of flashcards! They’re one of the most versatile English teaching tools, and also one of the most under utilized in my opinion. In particular, they’re ideal for daily routines and telling time.
Do you want to find out one of my favourite activities for using them? Then check this out: ESL Flashcard Sentences.
#9: How to Teach Relative Clauses
Relative clauses are one of those English grammar points that seem easy enough, but they can actually be a wee bit tricky once you get into it. And, it’s also not that easy to come up with fun and engaging games or activities to get your students working on them.
But, not to worry. Help is here. Take a look at these tips: How to Teach Relative Clauses. Or, check out this short video for even more details about this important English grammar concept:
#10 ESOL Grammar Games: Error Correction Relay Race
This is a fun way to make something old (error correction) new again by making a game out of it. The way it works is that you put together a paragraph with a certain number of grammatical errors. The students have to race to figure them all out before their classmates do.
If you want to try out this fun ESL grammar game with your students, you can find out more right here: Error Correction Relay Game.
#11: Yes/No Questions Games and Activities
If your students are beginners and you’re working on the “Be” verb in the simple present, then you’ll want to consider some of these activities or games:
#12: Sentence Structure Games
If your students need some help with building simple and complex sentences, then you’re certainly going to want to check out some of these top games and activities. More details here:
#13: Subject Verb Agreement Games
Many students struggle with subject verb agreements. The basics of it are simple enough, but when you start to get a lot of words in between the subject and verb in a sentence, it can get a little bit tricky.
Whether or not students struggle with this also depends on their first language. In Korean for example, the verb is at the end of the sentence, so they’re not used to English sentence order.
If you want to help your students out with this important grammar skill, then you’ll want to check this out: Subject/Verb Agreement Games.
#14: ESL Grammar Practice with Board Games
Board Games often come in the “teacher’s resource book” that goes along with your textbook. If this is the case, you’re in luck because no prep will be required but you’ll have a solid activity that your students will probably love. It also has the bonus of being extremely student-centered.
Some grammar points that work particularly well for board games are the following:
Problem and advice
Write a small problem in each square (I’m so tired), and then students have to use the correct grammar for giving advice. For example, “He should go to bed earlier.”
Put students in pairs and they play against another pair. Each square has a question. For example, “Are you addicted to your cell-phone?” One student answers the question and then their partner makes a reported speech statement based on that: “I’m not addicted to my phone.” Then their partner reports what they were told, “She said that she’s not that addicted to her phone.”
The Simple Past
There are any number of interesting questions you could make related to this. Students have to answer the question using the correct verb form (regular or irregular). Or, you could make a statement but leave the verb blank and the students have to fill it in correctly. For example, “She didn’t have time to _____ dinner last night.”
Put a statement in each square such as, “My Mother is crying.” The student has to make a statement using the specified grammatical construction. For example, “She must be upset about something.” Or, “She could have had a bad day at work.”
For example, you could write, “What would you do if you came out to the parking lot and saw that your car was scratched?” The student might answer, “Maybe I would see if the store had CCTV.”
However, almost anything can work so put your creative powers to work and come up with a fun board game for your students! It will only take 5-10 minutes to make your own game once you get a bit of experience doing it. I use Google Drive for this. I make a grid, usually 5×5, and then fill in the blanks with questions or “fun squares” (see below).
Board Game Questions
Use questions based on the grammar that you’ve been teaching during the previous classes. Have some fun squares, such as, “Switch positions with the person on your right” or “Go back 5 spaces.” The style I typically use is a question of some kind where the student has to speak one or two sentences in response to it. Or, a statement with a word missing that they have to fill in by speaking the entire sentence.
How to Play this ESOL Grammar Game
The other students in the group listen for incorrect answers, in which case the student has to move back the number that they “rolled.” You can use dice (which gets loud), two coins (2 heads = 5, 1 head + 1 tail = 3, 2 tails = 1), or a number sheet where students close their eyes and move their pen to choose a number. Or, you can have students spin their pen to point to a number on a sheet of paper.
Do you want to find out more? You’ll need to check this out: ESOL Grammar Board Games.
#15 Fun Grammar Activities: Hot Potato
This is a simple grammar review game, spiced up with a timer. There are plenty of phone app timers, but a kitchen timer is ideal. To play, start the potato, which can be a white board eraser, ball, or any lightweight, easily seen object, moving around the class from student to student. You could also bring a potato from home!
If there is not a practical way to play in a circle, have a contingency for the last student getting the potato back to the first student, such as pausing the timer.
When the timer goes off, the student holding the potato is shown a flash card. If they can make a grammatically correct sentence, they stay alive. If they’re wrong, they are out and must sit down. Require that students use a specific kind of grammar. For example, superlative adjectives, present perfect, simple past, etc.
Variations of Hot Potato
Vary the length of time for the timer, generally 5-15 seconds, with an occasional longer or shorter spell. A variation is to have two potatoes which look different. The person holding potato A must ask the person holding potato B a question about the flash card using the target grammar, and that student must answer.
A: Do you like oranges?
B: Yes, I do/No, I don’t.
Teaching Tip for this ESL Grammar Activity:
If the class is large, this can be a very long game and the students who are out will lose interest quickly. So, I would break large classes into groups of 10-15. All groups use the same timer and flash card—I say, “Three, two, one . . . . .” and the students holding potatoes all say their answers together.
#16: ESL Passive Games and Activities
Teaching the passive tense can be a little bit tricky. However, help is here! Check out this article for all the tips, tricks, activities, games and lesson plans you need to know to do it in style:
#17: Quantifier Activities and Games
Quantifiers are a part of speech and are words that deal with amounts of something in English. For example: much, many, few, a lot of, some, etc. The grammar and usage of them can be a little bit tricky, particularly for beginners because there are some very specific rules about when to use which ones.
If you want to help your students out with this by giving them lots of practice, you’ll want to check out the following resource:
#18: ESL Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives
The grammar of possessives is relatively simple, but our students need to master it because these things are so important in the English language. The good news is that there are lots of fun things you can do with this grammar point. Check out some of our top ideas here:
Did you Like These English Grammar Activities and Games?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 146 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so! Then the book you’re going to want to check out is this one over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to happy, engaged students who love learning English is a variety of interesting games and activities for them to do in class. This book will help you achieve that lofty goal!
The best part is that the book is well organized into various sections, from speaking to listening, reading to writing, grammar to review and more. You should be able to find an activity or game that’ll work for your students in just a minute or two. Sounds awesome, right? It is! It’ll make your lesson planning easier, guaranteed.
You can get the book in a couple different formats: the e-version or the physical copy. Take the digital version with you to your favourite coffee shop for some serious lesson planning on the go. Or, keep a copy of the book on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide.
Either way, you’re getting a serious hit of ESL teaching awesome in your life. Are you ready for it? Check out the book for yourself right here:
What About ESL Grammar Worksheets?
If you’re looking for the source of all things English grammar practice and worksheets, then you’ll want to check out some of our favourite sources right here:
Where Can my Students Practice English Grammar Online?
My students often ask me where they can get some more practice online with these English grammar concepts. If I’m using one of the big, 4-skills ESL textbooks, I try to get the accompanying online practice. This is often the best source because the grammar and vocabulary will match exactly what you’re teaching in class.
However, there are plenty of great resources for online grammar practice too:
ESOL Grammar Games
Do you need even more tips and tricks for teaching ESL grammar? Then you’ll definitely want to check out this short video below for more ideas to do it in style!
Do you Have a Recommendation for ESL Grammar Textbook?
If you’re looking for some super solid reference and practice textbooks for English grammar, my favourite ones are usually the Grammar in Use Series. You can find them for beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. Check out them out on Amazon:
Of the 4-skills ESL textbooks for teenagers or adults, the one that’s best for grammar and vocabulary is Touchstone. It gets way more into the finer points of things than the books that focus more on communicative activities do. You can check it out here: ‘
- McCarthy, Michael (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 83 Pages - 08/25/2015 (Publication Date) - Cambridge University Press (Publisher)
Have your Say about these ESL Grammar Games and Activities
What are your thoughts about these ESL grammar games, activities, worksheets and online practice? Do you have any recommendations that you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-01-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API