Numbers are often included in most ESL or EFL textbooks for beginners. But, it can get a little bit boring to just do the activities in the book. Instead, mix things up a little bit with these ESL number games that you can try out with your students.
Before you know it, your ESL students will be having lots of fun with numbers and your class will be over before you know it. It’s a win-win, right? Okay, let’s get to the ESL number activities and games to consider using in your English classes. It’s ESL Maths made easy!
ESL Number Games: Top 20
#1: Concentration Memory Game
This is such a great game for kids who are just learning basic English numbers! The way it works is that you make cards with then number and then the spelling of that same number. For example:
Then, place the students into groups of 3-5 and they place the cards face down. The first student chooses two cards, and if they’re a match, keeps them. If not, they place them face down in the same spots. Then, it becomes a memory game.
Do you want to try it out? Learn more about it here: Concentration ESL Memory Game.
Of course, this is a super versatile activity that can be used for just about anything including W and H Questions and Answers.
#2 ESL Number Activity: Flashcard Sentences
If you’re at the very beginner level of teaching numbers, it can be really helpful to use flashcards. This avoids the repetition thing, where students may know the numbers in order, but not independently of each other. You can simply hold up the flashcard and students have to repeat the number, in English back to you.
Or, you may want to go to the next level and have students make a sentence with the number included in it. Check it out here: Flashcard Activities for ESL Students. Learning English numbers has never been easier.
#3: Flyswatter Vocabulary Game
This ESL activity is useful for new vocabulary words. However, when you’re teaching about numbers, they’re new vocabulary too, right?
The way it works is that you can write a bunch on the board. Then, two students with flyswatters face off against each other. Then, you can make a statement and the students race to swat the correct number.
Here are some things you could say:
- How many students are in the class?
- What’s the total of your arms, legs, and eyes?
- What is 7 +4?
The sky’s the limit in terms of what you can do with this, so get creative! Check it out here: Flyswatter ESL Number Game. Learning numbers in English can be a ton of fun with interactive activities like this out.
#4: Draw a Picture for ESL Maths Practice
A fun activity that you can try out is having students draw a picture, with a twist. The twist is that only one student can see the picture and they have to describe it to another student.
If you want to focus on numbers, choose a silly monster picture (4 eyes, 2 noses, etc.), or something like a spider (8 legs).
Find out how to do it here: Drawing a Picture, ESL Speaking Style.
ESL Game for Numbers
Check out this fun ESL game to help your students learn numbers:
#5: Is that Sentence Correct?
If you’re teaching numbers in the context of sentences (plural nouns specifically), then you’re going to want to consider trying out this simple grammar activity.
Write down some sentences on the board or piece of paper. For example:
The girl has 2 dog.
I have 4 pair of shoes.
The students have to decide if the sentence is correct, or incorrect. And if it’s incorrect, they have to make it correct. You can add a little element of competition to this and make it a race to see who can complete the exercise first.
If you want to try it out for yourself, learn more about it here: Is that Sentence Correct ESL Grammar Activity.
#6: Daily Schedule Speaking Activity
If you’re teaching about time, then you’ll want to try out this daily schedule activity. It takes something basic and potentially a little bit boring and turns it into a fun activity for your students.
Try it out in your classes today? Daily Schedule ESL Speaking Activity.
#7: Picture Prompt ESL Warmer
This is a simple warm-up activity that I like to use in many of my classes. Show a picture on the screen and then students have to complete an activity related to it. If you’re teaching about numbers, they’ll likely be beginner level students.
So, have students shout out words about what they see. Then, you can ask leading questions related to numbers. They may say, “person!” You can ask, how many people?
Find out more details: Picture Prompt ESL Warmer.
#8 ESL Number Games: Odd One Out
This game is ideal for a quick warm-up. The way it works is that you choose 4 words, and 1 is the odd one one. If you want to focus on numbers, you could choose something like:
Horse, Cow, Person, Zebra
Students have to choose which one is the odd one out and say why. They may say that it’s the person because they have two legs instead of four. Of course, many answers are possible so don’t limit yourself to what you might accept.
Check it out here: Odd One Out ESL Warm-Up.
#9: Using Numbers in your Daily Routine
It can be super helpful to have a daily routine, especially when teaching children. For example, with kindergarten kids, you’ll probably want to have some basic questions that you ask every single day. For example:
- How’s the weather today?
- What day of the week is it?
You can add some numbers into this routine as well:
- What date is it? (have a calendar in the class for students to look at, with the dates crossed off)
- How many students are in class today?
- How many pencils can you see on the desk?
Learn more about using routines in your classes here: Using Routines When Teaching Children.
#10: Mixed Up Sentences
This is one of my favourite ESL number games that you might want to use in your classes.
You may be teaching numbers in the context of sentences. For example, “Cats have four legs, but people have two.” You could scramble that sentence up and students have to work together to make a correct one.
Learn more about this popular grammar activity here: Mixed Up Sentences ESL Grammar Activity.
#11: ESL Number Songs
There are a ton of great songs for teaching numbers to children on YouTube. Here’s just one quick example:
#12 ESL Number Games for Adults: Go Fish
This is a very simple number game that you can play with kids or adults. All you need to play is a regular deck of cards, although you can use special “Go Fish” cards too.
Deal out 7 cards to each player and then they take turns asking each other if they have a certain card that’ll match theirs. If they get a match, they go again and the player with the most points at the end is the winner.
#13 Numbers ESL Activity: Dominoes
You’ve probably played Dominoes before, right? The way it works with English learners is that you can require students to read out the number on the side of the domino that they’re going to play before they set it down. It’s simple, but fun and most students enjoy playing this game.
#14: Number Cross Words or Word Searches
You can use something like Discovery Puzzle Maker to easily make your own crossword puzzles and word searches. The way it works is that you’d write the hint as the actual number, “7” and then they’d have to write it down as it’s spelled in the crossword: “seven.”
Or, if you want to do it as a word search, include spellings of 10 or 20 random numbers throughout but don’t tell your students which one are in their!
#15 English Numbers Game: Math Bingo
I’m sure you’ve played Bingo with your students before. But, instead of having pictures or words on the card, put numbers. For total beginners, you may just want to call out the number itself. However, if you teach more advanced students, then you may want to consider making it a bit more challenging by saying things like:
#16: Eliciting For Numbers and Math
It’s generally the case that students are at least a little bit familiar with numbers unless they are absolute beginners and truly starting from ground zero. If this is the case for your students, try using some eliciting techniques to start the class off with. There are two main reasons why I like to do this.
The first reason is that I can see exactly how much my students know related to numbers and then I can tailor my lesson more specifically to their needs. For example, if they already have the numbers from 1-100, I can work on some more difficult things,.
The second reason to elicit some information from students is that it helps to activate their prior knowledge. This assists them when learning new things. There are a number of techniques and things to do. Here are some of them to consider:
#17: ESL Maths Game
#18: Dictogloss ESL Number Activity
If you teach more advanced students, then consider using this challenging listening activity. It lends itself well to just about any topic, grammatical point or vocabulary set, including numbers. Find, or write a passage with someone talking about something that has a lot of numbers in it. It could be stats about something, sports results, etc.
Then, read it out at a faster than normal pace for the level of your students. They have to take notes and then compare with a partner to see if they can recreate what they heard. Read it out again, slightly faster and students do the same. Then at the end, they can compare what they have with the original version. Check it out for yourself if you want to try it out:
#19: ESL Numbers Idiom Activity
There are a ton of idioms that have numbers in them. Just a few examples are the following:
- Do it by the numbers
- A million and one
- Take five
- At the 11th hour
- Zero in on
- 7th heaven
Try out this fun idiom activity which helps to make these extremely memorable and fun:
#20: ESL Math Game Using Cups
What about Numbers ESL Worksheets?
If you’re looking for some numbers worksheets that you can use with your ESL/EFL students, then you’ll want to check out our go-to sources right here. Here are the top picks for ESL numbers worksheets:
Online Practice for ESL Numbers
Chances are that your students could use some extra numbers, or math in English practice. If this is the case for you, then you’ll want to direct them to some ESL online numbers practice. Here are some of the best sites for games to teach numbers:
Teaching Numbers ESL Lesson Plans
Maybe you’re kind of like me and like to save time when planning your ESL lessons. One of the ultimate ways to save yourself hours of work is to just find one of these ready-made numbers lesson plans to just print off and go. Here are some of the top picks for teaching math and numbers:
Did you Like These ESL Number Games?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Though so. Then you’re going to love this book that you can find on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Kids. There are dozens of top-quality activities that will help you get through an entire semester with your students in style.
The key to successful classes with kids is a variety of fun, engaging activities. If you’re struggling to come up with them on your own, or wasting a ton of time searching around for them on the Internet, then this is the book for you.
The best part is that the book is very well-organized sections: warm-ups, speaking, writing, 4-skills, review, etc. So, you should be able to easily find what you’re looking for in just a few minutes.
The book is available in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. Or, take a copy with you on your phone or tablet for lesson planning on the go. It really is that easy!
Check out the book for yourself on Amazon, but only if you want some serious ESL awesome in your life:
Have your Say about these ESL Number Activities
Do you have a go-to ESL number game or activity? Have you tried out any of the number activities on this list? Or, do you have any go-to ESL maths games that you’d like to recommend. Please leave a comment below and we’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API