If you’re looking for some of the best first conditional games and activities, then you’re definitely in the right place! We have more than 20 of them, along with worksheets, lesson plans, online practice recommendations and more.
First Conditional Structure
In case you need a primer for what the 1st conditional structure is, here it is! We use it to talk about future situations that we believe are real or possible. Some examples:
- If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, we’ll go for a bike ride.
- If the Oilers win this game, they’ll be first in their division.
- I’ll let you know if I finish work early and can play.
The structure is usually:
If + present simple + will + infinitive (if can also be in the middle of the sentence).
It’s also possible to replace “if” with the following:
- unless (Unless you do your homework regularly, you’ll fail that class).
- as long as (As long as I’m happy, I’ll stay at that job).
- as soon as (As soon as I’m done work, I’ll come home).
- in case (I’ll give you a key in case I’m not home tomorrow).
More ideas for teaching conditionals here: Third Conditional Games.
First Conditional Activities and Games
Let’s get into the best first conditional speaking activities for all ages!
#1: Three in a Row
Make up a worksheet with a bunch of result clauses. Then, put students into pairs and each pair will play against another pair (4 students total) with one of the worksheets. The goal is to get three squares in a row.
One partner says an “if” clause. Their partner can use one of the result clauses on the worksheet. If it makes sense, they mark the square off as theirs and the other teams goes.
#2: Dicto Gloss Activity
This is a challenging listening activity for higher-level students. Find or write a passage with a few first conditional statements. Then, put students into pairs and read it out at a faster than usual pace. Students have to take notes and try to recreate what they just heard. Repeat the process and then students compare their version with the original one. Find out more about it:
#3: Running Dictation
This is one of my favourite 4-skills ESL activities for all ages! Find, or write a conversation that makes good use of 1st conditional statements (the textbook you’re using may have a good one). Then, students have to work together to dictate the convo and then put it into the correct order. Find out more about it:
This is a fun memory game that helps students focus on meanings and 1st conditional statements. Make some sentences and then put each clause on a separate card. For example:
- If it rains / I won’t go to the beach
- If I finish my homework / I’ll go to the party tonight
- As long as Tammy is my boss / I’ll stay at that job
Then, students have to match cards. Check it out:
#5: Mixed Up Sentences
This is a nice activity for helping students work on forms. Make a bunch of sentences using the 1st conditional and mix them up in terms of word order. Students have to work with a partner to unscramble them.
#6: The Conditional Chain
Start the game off by saying the first half of a first conditional statement. The next player has to add a clause to complete the statement. The next player takes that new clause and makes a new first half of the statement. Does that make sense? Keep going, adding new clauses. The teacher or other classmates can assist students who can’t come up with something.
#7: Dialogue Substitution
Have you ever noticed that students seem to just kind of blow through dialogues that they have to read with a partner and they don’t really pay attention to what they’re reading? One of the best ways to combat this is to remove some of the key words. They can be things related to grammar or meaning. Find out more about it here:
#8: Is that Sentence Correct?
Conditional statements involve somewhat tricky grammar. The word order can sometimes be confusing which is why I like to do this simple activity. I make a bunch of sentences using the target grammar and in pairs, students have to decide if the sentence is correct. If it’s incorrect, they have to change it. Find out more here:
#9: Pass the Paper
In this activity, students write down four clauses. Two are the first half of a first conditional and two of them are the last half. Then, they pass the paper to a partner who finishes the statements.
#10: Sentence Structure Activities
Conditionals are heavy on the sentence structure! They can get a little bit tricky, particularly if you teach about more than one of them in a single lesson. Students really have to master word order and verb tenses for this one. Have a look here at some of the best ideas for this:
#11: First Conditional Speaking Lesson Plan
It’s easier than you might think to plan a lesson about almost anything. Check out this video for the steps to follow:
#12: Partner Conversation Starters
If you tell students to use the first conditional and talk to their partners, you may be met with silence! It’s entirely the teacher’s fault! The students haven’t really been given enough to work with.
Instead, help students out by giving them some conversation starters or questions. For example,
- If this class finishes early, what will you do?
- If you get the day off tomorrow, what will you do?
#13: The Flyswatter Game
To focus on meaning, write the second half of numerous 1st conditional statements on the whiteboard. One student from each team comes up to the board and takes a flyswatter. It works best to have mostly generic kinds of statements that could fit a bunch of different situations.
The teacher says the first half of one of the statements and then the first student to slap something that fits gets a point for their team. Learn more about it:
#14: Consider Using the Test Teach Test Approach
It’s likely that your students may already be familiar with conditionals. If that’s the case, why not give them a little bit of a test first to see what they know? Then, tailor the lesson to what they don’t. After that, give them another little test to see what they’ve picked up.
This kind of lesson can be a nice way to tailor the lesson specifically to the needs of the students. It’s also a change of pace from the usual presentation-practice-production model. Learn more about it here:
#15: First Conditional Movies and TV Clips
If you take a look on YouTube, you’ll see a ton of compilations of clips from popular TV shows and movies that use this grammatical structure. This can make a nice warm-up or review activity or form the basis of an entire lesson. Have a quick look around and you’re sure to find something that’ll work.
#16: Me Too!
Me Too is a simple speaking and listening activity that can help students get some practice with these kinds of statements. Students say a true statement that uses the target grammar. If other students could say the same thing about themselves, they stand up and say, “Me too!”
#17: Error Correction Relay Race
I love this game because it takes something old and boring (error correction) and turns it into something fun. Write a passage with the target grammar, and then make a few mistakes. Make sure you tell students how many mistakes there are.
In teams, students have to work together to find them all. You can find out more about it right here:
#18: Vocabulary Auction
If you want to have some fun with making sentences in your class, this is the game to play! Find out how to do it:
#19: Dictation Practice
Dictation is a nice activity to focus on forms. Dictate some questions that use the target grammar for the students. They have to write them down and then answer the question. Alternatively, you could dictate some statements and they have to make up the questions.
#20: Person on the Street Interview Activity
This is a fun way to make something old (talking with a partner). Students have to chat with someone on the street to get their opinions or ideas about something. In this case, they’d have to use a 1st conditional question. Check it out:
More Ideas for Teaching English Grammar
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 87 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
The key to better TEFL classes is a wide variety of student-centred, engaging and interactive games and activities. This is particularly true for teaching grammar concepts like conditionals.
Not to worry though! Pick up a copy of 39 No-Prep, Low-Prep ESL Grammar Activities to help you have more interesting classes, the easy way. You’ll be able to make it through an entire semester in style and your students will keep coming back for more.
Pick up a copy of the book today and get ready for better English lessons tomorrow.
First Conditional Games Online
My students often ask me to recommend some online games to them so that they can practice their English grammar. Here are some of my favourite options for the 1st conditional:
Grammar Worksheet First Conditional
Check out these worksheets for additional practice:
First Conditional Lesson Plans
Save some time and effort by using lesson plans that others have already made! Here are some of the top recommendations:
There are a number of common questions that people have. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What are some first conditional examples?
Some first conditional examples are:
- If it rains, I won’t go hiking.
- She’ll miss the train if she doesn’t leave soon.
What are the four types of conditionals?
The four types of conditionals are zero, first, second, and third.
How do you teach the first conditional?
To teach the first conditional, be sure to set the context of the lesson. Then, focus on meaning and forms and give students some practice opportunities. Assign some homework and don’t forget review in the next lesson.
First Conditional Activities: Join the Conversation
Do you have any first conditional speaking activities that you’d like to add to the list? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API