ESL EFL Speaking Games

ESL Games: Secret Word


  1. Student A leaves the room.
  2. The other students choose a secret word
  3. Then student A returns and has to ask questions to elicit the secret word
  4. Example questions include: Is it a character/object, Where does it live, What tasks can it be used for, etc.


I only have a class of ten students so it is easy to get everyone involved. So any variations for a bigger class are welcome.

This ESL Game was submitted by Marcus

ESL Games: Telephone


1. Divide class into groups of 6 or more, and arrange each group in a straight line or row.

2. Ask for a volunteer listener from each group. Take them outside of the classroom and give them a message (one sentence or more, depending on student level).

3. Open the door, and let the students run to the first member of their group to whisper the message.

4. Each member passes the message, by whispering, to their neighbor.

5. When the message reaches the end, the last person should run to the board and write the message that they heard.

The winner could be determined in various ways: first team to pass a legible, complete message (even if it’s wrong), first team to finish, first team with a message closest to the original.


– Ask the last student to repeat the message to YOU, and write it on the board yourself. This is a good way to practice pronunciation, and to determine which sounds students have trouble with.


This game could take up 5 minutes or 30, depending on how much time you have and how interested the kids are. I’ve used it with high schoolers in Korea and they loved it. We spent over half the class on this activity.

This ESL Game was submitted by finityjm

ESL Game: Word Challenge


  1. Have students get into teams of 4-10 people
  2. One person from each team does rocks, paper, scissors
  3. Winner says a word and opponent tries to write the word correctly
  4. If they get it right, their team gets a point
  5. If they get it wrong, the person who said the word can write it out for a point for their team
  6. Have another person from each team play ‘Word Challenge’


  • Make an ‘arena’ in the middle of the class for two students to face off


Students will start to look up difficult words to stump the other team. Remember to to a follow-up assignment for words used, such as teaching the class the meanings and having students make sentences with the new words

This ESL Game was submitted by Issa