Let’s be real. If you teach articles, it can be a little bit dry. But, it really is possible to spice things up a little bit with these fun ESL articles games, activities, worksheets and more. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about teaching articles!
Teaching Articles ESL Activities and Games
Without further ado, let’s get to the articles activities and games. Here are the top 20 picks!
#1: Error Correction Relay Race
This activity takes something old and makes it new again. By old, I mean error correction. This style of activity lends itself very well to articles and the students appreciate the elements of teamwork and competition.
Of course, your errors should focus mostly on articles, or the nouns associated with them. To find out more about how to use this game with your students, learn more here: Error Correction Race.
#2 Article Game: Flyswatter
You can try out this fun articles game if you want to add a little bit of excitement to your classes! You can write a bunch of nouns on the board in a random fashion. Some should lend themselves to a or an and other to some. For example:
Then, divide the class into two teams and each student sends their first player to the whiteboard. Say the beginning of a sentence and stop at the article.
For example: For lunch I ate an _____.
The first student to swat apple with their flyswatter gets a point for their team. Erase the word and add a new one and then each team sends up their next player. This activity is great because not only does it deal with the grammar of articles but it deals with the meaning of words as well.
Find out more here: Flyswatter Review Game.
#3: Ball Toss
This is a versatile ESL Activity for kids or adults that can be used for just about any topic. In this case, you might want to make it about what students have in their backpack, pocket, on their phone, etc.
The way it works is that students throw a beach ball around the class filled with questions. For example:
- Do you have an apple in your lunch kit?
- Do you have a pen in your pencil case?
- Jenny, do you have some pictures on your cell phone?
- Do you have the class marker in your pocket?
Whatever question their right thumb is touching, they have to answer before passing the ball onto the next person. Obviously these questions will lead to a ton of questions that use the articles a/an/the/some, etc.
Do you want to try it out? You can learn more about it here: Ball Toss ESL Speaking Activity.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 68 Pages - 11/12/2019 (Publication Date)
#4: Mixed Up Sentences
Try out this grammar review activity as a kind of round-off of a unit. Think of a few sentences that have either one article/noun (for beginners) or multiple articles/nouns (more advanced), and then mix them up. Students have to work to unscramble the sentences.
If you’ve had a very active class, this makes a nice ESL articles worksheet activity to quiet things down a little bit. Learn more here:
#5 Teach Articles Activities: Videos
Between English Central and YouTube, there is an ESL video for literally any vocabulary set of grammar point known to humankind! Bring these into your English classes to spice things up a little bit.
You can use them as a lead-in to help students notice the language. Or a little bit of a review test at the end of class. Instead of lecturing your students on the finer points of ESL Articles a an the, give your students a break and let another teacher do it. Finally, you can find fun songs and chants for teaching kids. Have a look on YouTube and you’re sure be able to find something that’ll work for you.
#6: Teach Articles as Part of a Reading Lesson
You’ll usually see the topic of articles introduced via a listening or reading passage. After all, students need some context for what they’re learning and also need to see the grammar used in real life.
Something I like to do is highlight article usage as part of a larger reading lesson. Of course, there are a ton of articles in literally every single thing that you read.
This is particularly helpful as a review if you’ve already dedicated class time to articles. Do you want to find out more about how to make this happen? Then you’ll want to check this out: ESL Reading Lesson Plan Template.
#7 Articles Game: Concentration Memory Game
This game requires a bit of preparation, but if you teach the same unit multiple times, it could be worth it. Prepare cards that are “matching.” One card will have a noun and the other will have the appropriate article.
- a/pair of pants
Then, cut them out and students have to place the card face down in random order. The first student draws two cards and sees if it’s an article/noun that matches. If it is, they keep both and go again. If not, they put them in the same spot and the next student has a turn.
Learn more here: ESL Memory Game.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 146 Pages - 06/18/2020 (Publication Date)
#8: Odd One Out
Try out this quick warm-up or review activity with your students. The way it works is that you write four things on the board, one of which doesn’t match. In this case, you’d want to relate it to articles. For example:
- apple, egg, carrot, avocado
Students have to say something like, “Carrot because it uses a, not an.” Obviously there could be many other answers as well and I accept them as long as students give a reason to support it.
Check it out here: Odd One Out ESL Warm-Up.
#9 Articles ESL Activity: Is that Sentence Correct?
This is quick review activity that you can use at the end of your class on articles. Or, use it as a warmer activity at the start of the next one.
The way it works is that you write a bunch of sentences on the board or PowerPoint. Some are correct, while others have some errors. Obviously, you’d want to focus your errors on articles!
Students have to work in pairs to correct the sentences. Find out more details here: ESL Error Correction Activity.
#10 Teach Articles Game: Hot Potato
If you want to have some fun, educational times in your English classroom, then look no further than Hot Potato. It’s fun, entertaining and lends itself really well to articles.
The way it works is that students pass around a hot potato timer (you can buy it on Amazon), or another object and you can use your cellphone timer to stop the clock at random intervals. There are also videos on YouTube that work well for this too.
Then, show the student holding the potato a flashcard. Things around the class, or other common objects work best. They have to make a true statement about it.
- I didn’t eat an apple for lunch today.
- I’m not holding the marker in my hand.
- I can see the clock.
- A bottle of water is on your desk.
Find out more here: Hot Potato Game.
#11: ESL Food Activities and Articles
Food and drinks are an area of English that are particularly heavy on the articles, depending on if the item is countable or uncountable and plural, or not. For some of the best ideas for using food and drink games and activities to teach this important grammatical concept, you’ll want to check this out:
#12: Typhoon Review Game
#13: Make a Story
This is a creative writing activity where students have to write a story using some noun and article cards. Make up sets of both of these and then distribute randomly 5 of each of them to each group. They can:
- Decide what kind of story they want to write
- Which nouns and articles they will use (as many as possible is best)
- Write the story.
- Pair up with another group and read the stories to each other.
- Get feedback from the other group.
- Make revisions.
- Read the story to the class.
#14: Singular and Plural Noun ESL Activities
Articles are a key part of teaching singular and plural nouns. For example:
- Give me an apple.
- Give me a t-shirt.
- Please give me the apple.
- Give me some apples.
Which article you use really depends on the situation and plural nouns don’t take specific articles. It’s for this reason that it’s useful to teach these two things together. For some of the best ideas, be sure to check this out: ESL Singular/Plural Noun Activities.
#15: Articles ESL Board Game
#16: Using Eliciting for Teaching Articles to ESL Students
Unless your students are absolute beginners, it’s likely that they’ve learned about using article before. In this case, using eliciting techniques can be a nice way to start off the class. Talk about some objects around the classroom that you can see and find out from the students which article they’d use in a specific situation. Then, get some feedback about why they’d choose that certain one.
Learn more about it here: ESL Eliciting.
#17: Teach Articles with Sentence Building Activities
Time spent working on building better sentences with our students will certainly never be wasted time! Sentences are the foundation of the English language but making good ones is something that many students seem to struggle with. Article use is a key component of this and they’re something that many students seem to leave out for some reason.
The good news is that there are lots of engaging and interesting things to try out! Have a look here: ESL Sentence Building Activities.
#18: Proofreading and Editing ESL Articles Practice
A nice way to give our students some ESL articles practice is to do some proofreading or editing. Find, or write a passage with lots of articles. Then, change some of them to make some errors. If you have more advanced level students, you may also want to make some grammar, vocabulary, word choice or punctuation errors too.
This is a nice review activity for the end of a class or to give as a homework assignment as well.
#19: Dictation Articles ESL Activity
Dictation has kind of fallen out of favor with the more communicative approach these days. However, it can still be quite a useful activity to do as a review of articles. Besides focusing on this, it can help with sentence structure, listening skills, punctuation, and spelling.
In this case, read out some sentences with articles in them to your students who have to write down what they hear. Check the answers together as a class and talk about each sentence with regard to correct article usage.
#21: Freeze Group Writing Activity
If you want to focus on articles, then try out this group writing activity. Students work together to collaboratively create a few different stories. In the end, students can each take one of the stories and double-check that all the articles are correct, making necessary changes.
Check it out: Freeze.
#22: ESL Reading Lesson Plan
A nice fit with teaching articles is to use an ESL reading lesson. Here are the basic steps to follow for this kind of lesson:
#23: Article Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of common objects or pictures that students can find around the classroom or school. Provide students with articles (a, an, the) on separate cards or sticky notes. Students must correctly match the articles to the corresponding objects they find.
#24: Picture Sorting
Prepare a collection of images or flashcards representing different categories (e.g., animals, food, transportation). Have students sort the pictures into two groups: those that require “a” or “an” and those that require “the.” This activity helps learners understand when to use indefinite and definite articles.
#25: Article Olympics
Divide the class into teams and set up stations with different objects or images. Each station represents a category (e.g., sports, animals, clothing). Teams compete against each other to correctly choose the appropriate article for each object at the station. The team with the most correct answers wins the Article Olympics!
#26: Article Storytelling
Provide students with a series of pictures or a sequence of events. Each student takes turns describing the pictures or events using complete sentences with the appropriate articles. Encourage students to create interesting and imaginative stories while practicing article usage.
#27: Magazine Scanning
Bring in a variety of magazines or use printed pictures. Ask students to scan through the magazines and find objects or people they are interested in. They must describe what they found using the correct articles. This activity helps reinforce article usage while promoting reading and speaking skills.
#28: Article Song or Chant
Create a catchy song or chant that highlights the usage of articles. Incorporate examples and rules for using articles, and have students sing or chant along. Repetition and rhythm can aid in memorizing and internalizing the rules.
#29: Article Relay Race
Set up a relay race where students must pass an object (e.g., a ball, a stuffed animal) while using the correct article. Each student must say a complete sentence, such as “Pass me the ball” or “Give me a pencil.” The next student continues the sentence with the appropriate article. This activity combines movement and language practice.
#30: Article Pictionary
Play a modified version of Pictionary, where students draw objects or scenes, and their classmates must guess the correct article to use when describing what they see. It encourages active participation, vocabulary recall, and article usage.
#31: Storybook Search
Select a storybook appropriate for the level of your students. Assign specific articles (a, an, the) to different students or groups. As you read the story aloud, students must listen carefully and raise their hand whenever they hear an object or noun that corresponds to their assigned article.
#32: Article Tic-Tac-Toe
Create a Tic-Tac-Toe board with different categories (e.g., animals, places, objects). Students take turns choosing a category and providing a correct sentence using the appropriate article. If their sentence is accurate, they place their mark (X or O) on the corresponding space.
ESL Articles Worksheets
ESL articles practice is easier than ever with these worksheets that you can just print and go. Seriously. It’s English teaching made easy. Here are some of our favourite sources for ESL articles worksheets and exercises:
ESL Article Online Practice
ESL articles practice is perfect for our students if they really want to master this grammar point. One of the best ways to do this is with online practice. Here are some of the sites that I like to recommend to my students if they want a bit of extra work with them.
ESL Articles Lesson Plans
And finally, do you not have a lot of time for lesson planning? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there and I’m sure you’ll want some easy to use lessons that you can just print and go. Here are some of the best lesson plans for teaching articles:
How to Teach Articles: FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about teaching articles. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What are examples of articles?
Some examples of articles include the following: a/an/the. The purpose of articles is to define whether something is specific (the) or unspecific (a/an).
Where do we put articles in English?
You should put articles in English in front of a singular or plural noun or an adjective. They define whether or not that thing is specific or not specific.
When should you not use an article?
You shouldn’t use an article before plural countable nouns that are used in a general sense (water/air, etc.) or for names of countries, people, continents, cities, rivers, and lakes. However, plural countable nouns do use an article when used in a particular sentence.
What are some common mistakes ESL learners make with articles?
Common mistakes include using the wrong article (e.g., using “a” instead of “an” before a word starting with a vowel sound), omitting articles when they are required, or using articles unnecessarily.
Are there any exceptions or special cases when using articles?
Yes, there are some exceptions and special cases where articles may not follow the typical rules. For example, with certain expressions of time, place, or abstract concepts, articles may be used differently or omitted altogether.
How can I help ESL learners understand the difference between “a” and “an”?
Explain that “a” is used before words that begin with a consonant sound, regardless of the spelling, while “an” is used before words that begin with a vowel sound. Practice with examples and provide listening exercises to help learners differentiate between the two sounds.
What are some strategies to reinforce the correct use of articles?
Engage students in meaningful speaking and writing activities where they have to use articles in context. Provide feedback and correction when errors are made, and encourage self-correction by creating an environment that emphasizes the importance of accuracy.
Can I use “the” before my name?
It’s not correct to use “the” before a name. Names, along with things like countries, continents, etc. don’t require articles.
How many types of articles are there?
There are only two types of articles in English. The definite article (the) and the indefinite one (a/an).
Did you like these Tips for if you Teach Articles?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 87 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then the book you’re going to love can be found on Amazon: 39 ESL Grammar Activities. It’s filled with enough grammar games and activities to use for an entire semester. Keep things interesting and engaging for your students by mixing things up a little bit in your classroom.
Reinforce key grammar concepts that you teach your students by making them more meaningful with these activities. Get beyond the English textbook and have some fun with your students.
You can get the book in both digital and print formats. The digital version is easy to get onto your phone, tablet, or desktop by downloading the free Kindle reading app. Or, keep a copy of the book on the bookshelf in your office and take it out for some lesson planning sessions.
It really is that easy to have better English classes. Check it out over on Amazon, but only if you want to get yourself a serious dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:
Have your Say about these Article Games and Activities
Do you teach articles and have tried out any of these activities? Or, do you have another article game 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