The Internet TESL Journal

Six Games for the EFL/ESL Classroom

Aydan Ersöz
aersoz [at]
Gazi University (Ankara, Turkey)
Well-chosen games are invaluable as they give students a break and at the same time allow students to practice language skills. This paper provides some sample games that can be used in the language classroom.

Why Use Games

Language learning is a hard task which can sometimes be frustrating. Constant effort is required to understand, produce and manipulate the target language. Well-chosen games are invaluable as they give students a break and at the same time allow students to practice language skills. Games are highly motivating since they are amusing and at the same time challenging. Furthermore, they employ meaningful and useful language in real contexts. they also encourage and increase cooperation.

Some Advice

In order to demonstrate how to use games in the classroom, some examples are provided below.

Game 1: Whisper Circles

Game 2: Match and Catch the Riddle

Some Suggested Riddles
What animal is gray and has a trunk? A mouse going on vacation
What animal eats and drinks with its tail? All do. No animal takes off its tail when eating or drinking.
Why do mother kangaroos hate rainy days? Because then the children have to play inside.
How can you tell the difference between a can of chicken soup and a can of tomato soup? Read the label.
Why is an eye doctor like a teacher? They both test the pupils.
Why did the cross-eyed teacher lose his job?  Because he could not control his pupils.
Why is mayonnaise never ready? Because it is always dressing.
Do you know the story about the skunk? Never mind, it stinks.
If a papa bull eats three bales of hay and a baby bull eats one bale, how much hay will a mama bull eat? Nothing. There is no such thing as a mama bull.
What does an envelope say when you lick it? Nothing. It just shuts up.
Why do cows wear bells? Because their horns don't work.
Why shouldn't you believe a person in bed? Because he is lying.
What is the best way to prevent milk from turning sour? Leave it in the cow.
Why does a dog wag his tail? Because no one else will wag it for him.

Game 3: Crazy Story

Game 4: Missing Headlines

Game 5: Find the Differences

Game 6: The Secret Code

Æ#· ƶ¢·ÉÓ #OÉÄ ÉÄ*=·Æ#¶?¢ ¶?

#¶ÉÄ #O?ܧ ÉÄ. Å?#OÆ ¶ÉÄ ¶Æ?


Games are highly motivating because they are amusing and interesting. They can be used to give practice in all language skills and be used to practice many types of communication. The aim of this paper was to demonstrate some sample games. Teachers are encouraged to find other games which are suitable for his/her studenets or develop his/her own.


The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 6, June 2000