Are you looking for some interesting, engaging irregular verb activities and games for your ESL/EFL classes? Then you’re most certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for all the irregular verb games you need, along with worksheets, lesson plans and lots of other good stuff!
Irregular Verb Activities and Games
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! Keep on reading for the top 16 irregular verb activities to try out in your English classes today.
#1: ESL Irregular Verb Surveys
One of my favourite activities that I like to do with my students are surveys. They’re interactive, cover a range of skills and best of all, get the students up and out of their seats talking to their classmates. Perfect for those sleepy Monday mornings, right?
If you want to work on irregular past tense verbs, you could combine it with the present perfect if you require a follow-up question. For example:
Find someone who…
- …has been to another country?
- Where did you go?
- I went to Thailand.
See how that works? Just be sure to choose appropriate questions in order to facilitate irregular verb use. Do you want to try it out with your students? More details here about how to set it up:
#2: Concentration Memory Game
If you’re teaching beginners about irregular verbs for the first time, consider using this game at the end of class as a way to review key concepts. The way it works is that you can make sets of cards. One card will have the regular verb in the present tense while the other will have the irregular past tense verb. For example:
Then, prepare one set of cards for each group of 4 students. Then place them face down on the desk and try to find the matching set. From there, it basically becomes a memory game. Find out all the details you need to know right here;
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 144 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
#3: Proofreading and Editing
I like to use proofreading and editing as a quick warmer activity. If you’re focusing on ESL irregular verbs, a lot of the mistakes can be related to this. Students have to go through the passage and find all the errors. Here’s some more information about how to use this activity in your classes:
#4: Hot Potato Game
The hot potato game is a fun activity that most students really love. The way it works is that students pass around an object and then when the music or timer stops, the person holding the object has to do something.
In this case, you may want to say a verb and then students have to make a sentence using the irregular verb in the past. For example.
- I ate pizza for dinner last night.
#5: Videos with Irregular English Verbs
There are a million and one ESL videos on YouTube and English Central. It’s a good time to be an English teacher, right? You can certainly find a ton of videos that feature irregular verbs. However, to get the best use of them, you’ll want to do some pre and post-watching activities.
Check out some of our top ideas right here: Using Videos for TEFL Teachers.
#6: Flashcard Sentences for Irregular English Verbs in the Past Tense
In my opinion, flashcards are one of those things that belong in the hand of every single ESL teacher for beginners for every single class! There are just so many activities that you can do with them.
In this case, you may want to put some flashcards on the table. Students have to pick 1-2 of them and then make a sentence in the past. If you choose the pictures carefully, they could lend themselves really well to irregular verbs. For example:
- I ate dinner with my Mom last night.
- I went to school
Try out this challenging listening activity that lends itself well to irregular English verbs. The way it works is that you find (or write) a passage with lots of irregular verbs in the past. It could be about a past vacation for example. Then, read it out at a slightly faster pace than the students are used to.
In pairs, students have to work to re-create the story either through speaking or writing. You can read the original more quickly and students can update theirs as needed. Finally, students can compare their version with the original. Hopefully they will have used the correct irregular verbs!
More details here: ESL Dictogloss Activity.
#8: Irregular Verbs Song
Songs, chants and raps are a fun way to learn English! Here’s one of top picks on YouTube:
#9: English Sentence Structure Activities
If you want to help your students work on irregular English verbs in the context of sentences, then you’ll want to check out these games and activities. They’re ideal for getting students to start using verbs in sentences and are also an excellent review for more advanced level students.
Do you want to see some ideas for this? Check this article out: ESL Sentence Structure Activities.
#10: Board Games for ESL Irregular Verbs
In real life, I’m ALL about playing board games which is why I like to use them with my students too. They’re fun, interactive and the best part is that you can use them for a variety of topics, grammatical points or vocabulary sets. If you design the questions well, it could be some teaching irregular verbs gold.
Do you want to find out more about how to make your own? Check this out:
#11: Is that Sentence Correct?
A quick warm-up activity for beginners is this activity. Write down a few sentences on the whiteboard or on the PowerPoint. Some have mistakes while others are fine. In this case, you’d want to focus on verbs, particularly the irregular ones.
Students have to decide if the sentence is correct or not and if it’s not, they have to change it. Do you want to learn more about this warmer or review activity? Check it out here:
#12: Dialogue Substitution with Irregular Verbs
Maybe your students are kinda like mine? When they have a dialogue in the textbook (a common way to introduce irregular verbs), they mindlessly read it with their partner but have no idea what they read. It’s not their fault. It’s just that they didn’t have a reason to read! We can do better than this!
Something I like to do is take out all the verbs and students have to use the context of the sentence to figure out what goes in there. This takes it from an easy reading activity to one that challenges meaning as well. Try it out and I’m sure you’ll have some great results with it too.
#13: Whiteboard Games
Students love to write on the whiteboard! I think a lot of it has to do with the novelty factor. Whatever the reason, whiteboard games lend themselves really well to irregular verbs because you can do a lot of different races and relays. Here are some of the best ideas:
#14: Irregular Verb Memory Circle
A fun game to play with your students is this memory circle game. The way it works is that the first students says a statement using a target verb. Then, the next students repeats it and adds their own. For example:
- I ate pizza for dinner last night.
- Tommy ate pizza for dinner and I went TV shopping last night.
The game continues on until one person is left standing. If you can’t remember a statement, you need to sit down. You can check out all the details right here: ESL Circle Game.
#15: Error Correction Relay Race
I love this relay race because it takes someone old (error correction) and makes it new again. It’s a fun change of pace for your students and a nice break from the same old routine.
In this case, you’d want to ensure that many of the mistakes are related to verbs, particularly the irregular ones. Find out how to play this game here: Error Correction Relay Race ESL.
#16: ESL Spelling Game
The spelling of irregular verbs in English can be a bit tricky for beginners. That’s why I like to focus on them in class with this fun spelling game. To mix things up a bit, consider saying either the irregular past tense verb or the present tense and students have to use their listening skills to decide which one it is.
You can see all the details here: ESL Spelling Activity.
Irregular Verbs Worksheets
Do you want some irregular verb worksheets that you can print and go? I’m sure you do! It’s an easy way to get your students practicing this important skill without a ton of work on your part. Here are some of our favourite resources:
Irregular Verbs Lesson Plans
If you want some ESL lesson plans that focus on irregular English verbs, then you’ll want to check out our top recommendations right here:
Did you like these Irregular Verbs Games and Activities?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 132 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Kids. The key to better English classes with children is a wide variety of engaging, interesting and student-centred activities. This book will help you do that in style.
The best part is that the book is organized into various sections so you should be able to find an activity or game that’ll work with your students in just a minute or two. If that’s not some ESL teaching gold, then I’m not really sure what it is!
The book is available in both digital and print formats. Take the electronic version with you on your phone tablet for some serious lesson planning at your favourite coffee shop. Or, keep the physical book on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. It really is that easy to have better English classes.
Does it sound like exactly what you need? Head on over to Amazon to learn more about the book right here:
Have your Say about these Irregular Verb Games
What do you think about these irregular past tense verbs games and activities? Did you try out one of them from this list or do you have another recommendation? Leave a comment below and let us know. 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 find this useful resource.
Last update on 2020-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API