Are you looking for some ESL present perfect games and activities to try out with your students today? Then you’re most definitely in the right place. Keep on reading for our top ten p.p. activities for English learners, along with some present perfect questions and a quick primer on what the present perfect actually is.
Present Perfect Games and Activities for ESL
Are you ready? Let’s get to our top picks for best present perfect games and activities, along with tips and tricks for how to teach the present perfect.
#1 ESL Present Perfect Activity: Surveys
I’m ALL about ESL surveys for a wide variety of topics and grammar points in my classroom. They’re awesome for a number of reasons, including the following:
- Student-centred to the max
- They cover a wide range of skills
- Students interact with lots of others
- They’re useful for sleepy classes
- You can adapt them easily for any level, grammar point, or vocabulary
One area that fits in very well with surveys is the present perfect and the simple past. The initial question is in the present perfect and then the follow-up is in the simple past, either with a regular or an irregular verb (more irregular verb games here). For example:
“Have you taken a fun vacation before?”
“Yeah, sure, I went to Italy last year?”
“What city did you go to?”
Do you want to find out more about this present perfect activity? Then you’ll need to check it out right here: Surveys for ESL.
You could also consider doing a survey for daily schedules or routines and then switching to the simple past for the follow-up question related to time (more ideas here: telling time activities).
#2: Error Correction Relay Race
#3: Present Perfect Board Games
I love to play board games in real life, so like to incorporate some into my classes as well. Of course, I make my own to match whatever I’m teaching. In this case, I’d fill up the board with lots of questions using the present perfect.
Do you want to find out more about how you can make your own ESL board games for your students? Then you’ll want to check out this short article right here: How to Make ESL Board Games. Or, you watch this video below:
#4: Is that Sentence Correct?
This is a simple grammar review activity that can also make a quick warm-up at the beginning of class. The way it works is that you write some sentences on the board. Some are correct while others are not. Students have to work with a partner to decide which ones they need to change to make correct.
Of course, you’d use the present perfect for the sentences. It’s also an ideal way to differentiate grammatically between things like the p.p. and the present perfect continuous or simple past.
More details right here: ESL Grammar Review Activity.
#5: Dictation Listening and Writing Activity
#6: Using Timelines to Teach Verb Tenses
It can be a little bit confusing for our students when it comes down to the finer details of present perfect vs present perfect continuous. Or, simple past vs present perfect. There are certainly some important differences, but they can also be quite subtle.
One of the best ways to explain this is to use timelines. Basically, you can show when an activity started and finished, whether that’s in the past, present, or future. Do you want to know more about this? Then you’ll want to check this out:
#7: Running Dictation
I know, I know, it’s a bit of a theme here. I’m sharing all of my favourite, super-versatile ESL activities and games that lend themselves well to just about topic or grammar point. ESL Running dictation is certainly another one of them.
The way I do it to post sentences from a conversation at various points around the classroom. Then one student has to read them, remember them and report back to their partner who writes them down. Once they’ve finished writing down all the sentences, they have to put them in the correct order to make coherent conversation.
Of course, you’d want to choose a conversation that focuses on the present perfect. Look in your textbook for some examples.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 87 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
#8: Using Videos for Teaching the Present Perfect
I’m ALL about using videos in my ESL classroom. It brings a bit of excitement to learning that a boring old textbook just doesn’t! The good news is that it’s super easy to find an ESL video on just about any topic or grammar point on YouTube or English Central.
In this case, you’ll want to search for “present perfect ESL” to see what comes up. You should be able to find a video to suit the level and age of your students quite easily. Have a look at this one:
#9 Present Perfect Speaking Activity: The Memory Circle
One of the most versatile activities is this memory circle one. You can use it for just about anything from names to vocabulary to grammar. In this case, you’d want students to make a sentence about something they’re never done.
The first student starts off the game with the sentence, “I’ve never played tennis.” The next student says that first sentence and then adds their own. “She’s never played tennis and I’ve never eaten sushi.” The game continues on until all the students have gone. Or, you can play indefinitely with students sitting down when they make an error and can’t remember something.
More information about this fun present perfect speaking activity right here: Memory Circle ESL Game.
#10: Never Have I Ever…
We’ve probably all played this fun party game with our friends before. The way it works is that each person takes turns saying a statement. For example, “Never have I ever been drunk.” It should be something that they’ve actually never done. If people have done it, they would raise their hand or stand up.
When you play with friends, this game can usually get a bit raunchy. However, it doesn’t have to be like that and you can certainly play it with kids! Here’s an example of a kid friendly never have I ever question. “Never have I ever stayed up all night.”
Do you want to find out more about how you can play this with your ESL students? Then you’ll want to check out all the details right here: Never Have I Ever for English Learners.
#11: Need to Do, But Haven’t Done Yet
Working in pairs, students try to find something that their partner needs to do but hasn’t done yet this week. For example, “Have you taken out the trash yet?” Or, “Have you washed your floor yet?”
#12: Dialogue Substitution
Present Perfect Questions
Are you looking for some questions in present perfect? Then you’re certainly in the right place. If you want to get the discussion and conversation ball rolling, here are a few questions that you could start with:
Ask your students if they’ve seen any of your favourite movies or TV shows.
What sports have you played recently?
Where have you traveled?
What’s the most amazing place you’ve ever been to?
What interesting foods have you eaten in your life?
How long have you studied English?
What’s the longest amount of time you’ve been awake for?
Have you ever…
appeared on TV?
eaten something strange?
fallen down the stairs?
forgotten something quite important?
built a snowman?
been swimming in the ocean?
gotten a bad haircut?
played a practical joke on someone?
worked at a job you hated?
Present Perfect Worksheets
If you’re looking for some worksheets to help your students out with the present perfect, then these activities and games won’t really help you out. Not to worry though—here are some of our favourite sources for grammar practice worksheets:
However, the first place I take a look is the textbook that I’m using for the class. It will often have some excellent practice activities, or you can check out the teacher’s resource book or the homework book.
Present Perfect Online Practice
If you’d like some resources to recommend to your students for online grammar practice, then here are our favourite resources:
Did you Like these ESL Present Perfect Activities?
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 145 Pages - 03/10/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
Yes? Thought so! Then the book you’re going to love is this one over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to interesting, engaging English classes is a wide variety of games and activities. And this is the book that’ll help you get there.
Do you want to know the best part? The book is well-organized into various sections, including review, speaking, writing, warmers, and more. You should be able to find yourself an awesome ESL activity to use in your classes in just a minute or two. If that’s not some ESL gold, then I’m not sure sure what is.
Does it sound like exactly what you need? You can bring the digital copy with you on your phone or tablet to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go. Or, keep the physical copy on the bookshelf in your office and use it as a handy reference guide. Yes, it really is that easy.
Head over to Amazon to pick up a copy today:
Have your Say about these Present Perfect ESL Games and Activities
What did you think about these games and activities to help your students practice the present perfect? Or, do you have another one that you’d like to recommend to us? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API