If you’re looking for some of the best ideas for requesting games and activities, along with worksheets and lesson plans for asking for help then you’re in the right place. We have the best ESL activities for teaching students how to make a request so keep on reading.
Making Requests & Asking for Help ESL Games & Activities
Check out the best requesting game and activity ideas for English learners.
#1: Scenario + Response
A simple activity to help students out with making polite requests is to give them a scenario and then ask students to come up with a question. Some examples of scenarios and responses could include the following:
- Finding out where the nearest taxi stand is—Excuse me, could you please tell me where I can catch a taxi around here?
- Wanting to fill a water bottle at a coffee shop—Would you mind filling up my water bottle for me?
- Sitting in front of someone on an airplane who is kicking your seat—I’m sorry, would you mind not kicking my seat? It’s quite uncomfortable.
How students respond depends on the number of students in the class. However, I generally like to put students into pairs or small groups and then give them a minute to come up with their best response. Then, I elicit some answers from the class.
#2: Asking for Help Board Game
A nice way to give students some serious practice with requests and asking for help is to play a board game. Fill the board with simple scenarios that students might encounter when travelling for example. Then when students land on that square, they have to make a polite request. Find out everything you need to know about making your own board games for English learners:
#3: Concentration ESL Memory Game
A fun game for students to get some practice could you, would you or other requests is Concentration. Make sets of cards with a scenario and then a matching request on it. Or, requests and possible answers. Then, students have to play a matching memory game in small groups. Learn more about to do it here:
#4: Making a Request Videos
I sometimes think that students get tired of hearing me talk all the time! That’s why I like to mix things up and have another teacher do the heavy lifting sometimes. The good news is that there are a ton of great videos on YouTube on the topics of making polite requests and asking for help. Here’s just one of them to consider showing in class.
#5: Dictation + Response
A nice way to incorporate some writing, spelling and punctuation into this lesson on requests and asking for help is to do some dictation practice. Say a combination of requests and answers to requests and students have to write them down. Then, they have to come up with the corresponding answer or request on their own. Find out more about this activity:
#6: Mixed Up Sentences with Requests in English
A nice way to focus on forms for requests is to make some common sentences but scramble the words up in terms of the order. Then, students have to work together in pairs to make the correct sentences. This also makes a nice homework assignment. Find out more:
#7: Requesting Card Game
In this activity, students each get 7 cards with a mix of yes, no, or maybe cards. Then, they have to circulate around the classroom making requests of people to try to get them to answer what’s on their card. For example, if a student wants to get someone to answer no, they may ask something like the following:
- Would you mind lending me your house for a month while I’m moving?
- Could you please give me your bus pass this week?
If they wanted someone to answer yes, the request might be:
- Can you please tell me where the bathroom is?
- Would you mind sharing your textbook with me? I forget mine at home.
The goal of the game is to get rid of all the cards first.
#8: Telling Time Activities
Asking someone to tell you the time is a natural fit for a polite request. It’s often one of the most common questions that we’d ask a stranger (at least in the days before everyone had a smartphone!). Here are some of the top ideas for this topic:
#9: Asking for Help Songs
A nice way to teach kids how to ask for help or make polite requests is to use songs or chants. If you’re not musical (like me!), then consider checking out YouTube and you’re sure to find a song or chant for just about any topic including this one. Here’s just one example:
#10: Man/Woman on the Street Interview Activity
I like to use this activity to make interviewing a partner a little bit more interesting. It’s also possible to use it to practice making requests in a sneaky way. Before the interview, students could ask potential interviewees one of the following questions:
- Excuse me, do you have some time for me to interview you?
- Can I have a minute of your time?
- Would you like to do a short interview about _____ with me?
Find out more about this activity here:
#11: Brainstorming Requesting Games
Give students a word or situation and in small groups, they have to come up with as many requests as possible in a short amount of time (1 minute). For example, pencil:
- Could you lend me a pencil?
- Do you know where the pencil sharpener is?
- Would you mind telling me where the campus bookstore is so I can buy a pencil?
Or, in a taxi:
- Would you mind turning down the air conditioning?
- Do you happen to know what the best restaurant is around here?
- Could you please go quickly? I’m late!
#12: Requesting Games with Guessing
Say some requests to your students and then they have to guess what the situation is. For example:
- Could you please give me some more freezing? (dentist—cavity)
- Are you free on Saturday? I could really use your big muscles! (moving something big)
This is one of the best requesting games that’s simple and requires almost nothing in the way of preparation time.
#13: Impolite to Polite Asking for Help Activity
Say a request in an impolite way and then students have to say how they would make it far more polite. For example,
- Shut up! (Please be quiet)
- Sit down (Can you please sit down?)
- Hurry up (Would you mind picking up the pace?)
#14: Freeze Asking for Help Activity
This is a group writing activity that works very well for asking for help. Start off by writing a few different scenarios on worksheets. Most of them should require that the person has to ask for some kind of help. Put students into groups of 4 and each person starts with a different scenario.
Then, students have to read the scenario and write 1 or 2 sentences about the situation and what the person should do. Then, they pass the papers to the next person in their group who adds another sentence or two. In the end, there should four scenarios and then descriptions about what the people would do. Check it out:
#15: Review WH Questions
Many requests that require asking for help come in the form of a W or H question. It can be helpful to review the forms of these questions, especially for beginners.
Requesting ESL Lesson Plans
An easy way to save a ton of time is to use some ready-made ESL lesson plans for making polite requests. Here are some of the best resources online:
Asking for Help and Making Requests Worksheets
If you’re an English teacher, then I’m sure you’re looking for some ways to save time when planning lessons. One of the best ways to do is to use some making a request worksheets that other teachers have already put together. Here are some of the best options:
Did you like these Requesting Games and Activities?
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- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
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Have your Say about ESL Asking for Help Activities
What’s your top pick for a requesting game or activity for English learners? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have another recommendation for an activity for asking for help? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Similar to make requesting games is using the imperative. Here are the top ideas to check out: ESL Imperatives.
Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API