Are you looking for some future forms games, worksheets, activities, lesson plans and online practice? Then you’re in the right place! We’re going to give you a rundown on the top 17 will and going to activities you can try out with your ESL/EFL students
Top 17 Future Activities for ESL/EFL
Let’s get to my favourite ESL activities for will, going to and other future forms. Keep on reading for all the details that you need to know!
#1: Future Tense Surveys
I’m ALL about using surveys in my English classes. They are one of the most versatile ESL activities out there and can be used for a ton of different grammar points and topics. However, they lend themselves especially well to talking about the future. The questions you include can be related to the following:
- After class plans
- Vacation plans
- After graduation
- Marriage and kids
Do you want to find out more about how to make your own future form surveys? Then you’ll definitely want to check this out:
#2: Just a Minute
This is a fun ESL activity that gets students talking for one entire minute about a certain topic without stopping. You can turn it into a fun, interactive activity by putting students into groups of four and requiring that each student who was listening ask a follow-up question or two at the end of the minute.
The key to using Just a Minute with the future tense is choosing good topics. Check the previous future activity for some ideas.
#3 Future Sentences Activity: Videos
I’m ALL about using YouTube or English Central videos in my classes. You can find one on literally every single topic, vocabulary set or grammar point under the sun. But, there’s more to it than just popping the video on and chilling out.
There are so many things you can do with the, pre and post-watching. Or, you may want to mix things up and let another teacher do the heavy lifting and explain the differences between the tenses. I mean, I’m sure my students get tired of hearing me talk sometimes!
For some of my best ideas, you’ll want to check this out: ESL Videos in the Classroom.
Will/Going to/Be + Ing Future Tenses
Here’s one example of a video to check out related to the future tense. Find out the differences between various future forms here:
#4: Find Someone Who Bingo
Usually I use this Bingo game as an icebreaker activity on the first day of class. However, you can very easily adapt it to make it an ideal exercises for future tenses. Instead of asking icebreaker questions related to hobbies, family, etc., you could make questions related to the future.
For example, asking about vacation plans, the next meal, after school, etc. Do you want to try it out with your students? Check it out here:
#5: Is that Sentence Correct?
If you’re working on future forms and constructing grammatically correct sentences with your students, then you’ll want to check out this activity. It’s very simple and makes an ideal review at the end of a class, or beginning on the next one.
The way it works is that you write a few sentences on the board using the future tense. Some of them will have errors that can relate to either form or meaning. Students have to work together to correct the errors.
Do you want to find out more about this simple review activity? Check it out here: ESL Correct the Sentence.
#6 Going to Activities: Dictogloss
If you want to challenge your students’ listening and writing skills, then you’ll want to consider using Dictogloss. The way it works is that you find a passage of some kind at a slightly higher level than your students are at. Then, you read it at a normal pace and students have to work together to recreate the story.
In this case, you’d want to choose something talking about the future which will likely have lots of examples of going to sprinkled throughout (or whatever other target grammar point you want). Do you want to know more about this versatile ESL activity? You can check it out here:
#7: Listen for One Specific Thing (Future Forms)
If you do listening with your students, one really valuable thing you do is to get your students to listen for just one specific thing. In this case, it’d be examples of people talking about the future using will/going to/simple present or other future tense constructions.
The best places to find listening passage related to what you’re teaching are the textbook that you’re probably using. But, there are a ton of other sources. Find out more details here:
#8: Picture Prompt for Making Future Predictions
A fun way that you can get students using future tenses to make predictions is to find an interesting picture of some kind that lends itself well to different future possibilities. Then, students have to tell you (or a partner) what they think is going to happen.
Learn more about using pictures for various things here: Picture Prompt ESL Speaking Activity.
#9 Talking about the Future Exercises: Proof-Reading + Editing
I sometimes think that if students only practice something by speaking, it never really becomes solid and gets to the level of actually “knowing.” This is where written practice is ideal for an ESL/EFL class. And one of the ways to do is to get your students practicing some proofreading and editing.
Find a passage (or write one yourself) with lots of examples of will/going to. But, make some mistakes and use them in the wrong situations, or make the grammatical construction wrong. Then, students have to go through the worksheet and find the mistakes.
Do you want to know more about this ESL writing activity? You can check it out here: Proofreading ESL Activity.
#10: Yes/No Question Games and Activities
If you’ve taught your students about the future tense before, you’ll probably notice that there are a lot of question/answer style of activities. That’s because it’s difficult to talk about the future without talking about future plans and of course, you’ll need to have some questions for this in most cases.
If you want to see some of our top choices to help you plan for this, check this out here: ESL Yes and No Activities.
#11: Conversation Starters
If you ask your students what they want to work on in your speaking or conversation classes, they’ll often say “free-talking.” This can be a little bit difficult when you just tell your students to, “Talk about the future!” It helps to give them something more concrete and specific.
That’s why I like to make some conversation starter questions that students can talk about. Some students will only make it to the first 1-2 questions, while others will make it through all 10 in the allotted time. The important thing is that students are talking in English!
I prefer to make my own questions based on the topic of the day, whether it’s vacation plans, or plans for after graduation, or anything else for that matter.
#12: Future Board Games
I LOVE to play board games in real life, so like to introduce them into my classes too. However, if you want to target a specific language concept, you’ll probably need to make your own. It’s very easy to do this with future sentences. You can write some questions on the board game like the following:
- What are you going to do this summer?
- Where are you going to eat lunch today?
Or, you may want to write some answers and students have to think of the question.
- I’m going to take an English class this summer.
- I will probably have dinner with my friend tonight.
Do you need more details about making your own games? Check this out: ESL Board Games.
#13: My Future Plans
In this simple activity, students write down a few of their future plans using the correct grammatical construction. I generally narrow it down to a more specific topic like weekends plans. Then, students have to give me all their papers with plans using future forms. Depending on the class size, I do one of two things.
For smaller classes, I’ll read out the papers and the entire class can guess who it is. For larger classes, I give each student one paper and they have to walk around asking questions to find out who it is.
#14: Plan a Holiday
One task based activity that I like to do with my students for the future tenses is to tell them that my parents are coming to visit their country for a week and that they have to plan a trip for them. Think about that—it’s all future tenses, right? Then, they have to do a short presentation in front of the class and I choose the trip that my parents will like best!
#15: Just One Question Survey Activity
Try out this ESL survey activity to round our your unit on future plans. The way it works is that students work in pairs to think of one interesting question related to a future plan. Then, they have to survey their classmates, compile and report the results. It’s interactive, engaging and lends itself well to using lots of future tense sentences!
Do you want to know more about it? Find out here: Just One Question ESL Survey.
#16: Future Forms Telepathy Game
Check out this video on YouTube for a fun future sentences activity you can try out with your students today:
#17: Making Predictions
One very common usage of the future tense in English is to make predictions about the future. The good news is that there are so many interesting and engaging activities that can help our students practice this. More details here:
Future Will vs Going To: What’s the Difference Between these Future Forms?
Although when to use going to and will may seem complicated, it’s actually not! Basically, here are the rules:
- You can use either will or going to when making predictions about the future with no difference in meaning (I think it’s going to snow tonight/I think it will snow tonight).
- Will is used to express future actions decided at the moment of speaking (Who can turn off the lights? I will).
- Going to describes future plans decided before speaking (I’m going to go to the University of ABC next year).
- Will is used for a future fact (The sun will set tonight).
- Going to is useful for something that will happen right now (Hurry up! We’re going to miss the bus).
What about the Simple Present to Express the Future?
Have you noticed some sentences that use the simple present to talk about the future? Here are some examples:
- The plane takes off at 7pm.
- The bus leaves at 2.
Notice the similarity? The present simple is used to express a future time or schedule of some kind.
Will and Going to Worksheets
Will vs going to exercises: here’s where you can find them! If you use an ESL textbook, you might find that there simply isn’t enough practice of this important concept. Or, if you use no books, then you’ll of course want to use some future tense worksheets to help your students solidify their knowledge. Here are some of our top recommendations:
ESL Future Tense Lesson Plans
Okay, I get it. You’re super busy and don’t have a ton of time to plan English lessons. We’ve all certainly been there. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel! There are a ton of ready-made ESL future tenses lesson plans that you can just print and go. Here are some of the best ones out there:
Online Practice for Future Sentences
Do you want to recommend some extra practice for your students with things like going to and will? Or, the other future tenses? You can check out some of our top picks right here:
Did you Like These Games, Activities and Worksheets for Future Forms?
Yes? Thought so! Then the book you’re going to love is this one over on Amazon: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Grammar Activities. If you teach English grammar, spice things up a bit in your classroom with these fun, engaging activities.
The key to students who love learning English is a wide variety of activities in your classes. This book will help you do just that and you can make it through an entire semester in style!
You can get this activity book in both digital and print formats. Take the e-version with you on your phone or tablet for lesson planning on the go. Or, keep a copy of the book in the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. It really is that easy to have better English classes, including ones on the future tenses.
Do you want to find out more? Check out the book for yourself on Amazon, but only if you want a serious dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:
Have your Say about these Activities and Games for Future Forms
Did you like these will and going to exercises? Did you try out one of them from this list, or do you have another activity 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.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself who are preparing to teach about the future tenses.
Last update on 2020-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API