The Internet TESL Journal

A Story Building Activity Using "Not Enough" and "Too Many"

Michael Lovett
Guangzhou, Guangdong, PR China
lost_gypsy [at]


This is something I developed while teaching adults conversational English in China. It relates loosely to "The Three Little Pigs" and proved to be very popular and amusing.


I started by creating several simple drawings of: three pigs, one wolf, gym shoes, high heel shoes, boots, swim fins, guns, ice cream cones, footballs, basketballs, and other things.  Almost anything will work well with this activity. These drawings were very simple, no larger than 3 by 3 inches. (See Appendix.) These were made into cards.

The Activity

I handed the cards out randomly to each student until each student had a set of cards from which to write a simple, silly story. I told them they had about 10 minutes.  I also instructed them to use "not enough", "too many" and "enough" in their stories so that the numbers of objects/animals made sense. This activity can be done alone or in groups of three or four.

An Example

A student receives the following cards: The student could create a story similar to the following:
One day six pigs went to the store and bought ice cream. They each had one ice cream cone. In the next store, three wolves were fighting over the last two pairs of red shoes at the shoe shop! There were not enough shoes for all the wolves to wear. The pigs also bought some sport balls. They only had enough money to buy two balls, so there were not enough balls for each pig.


The stories they come up with are very funny, and provide a great creative outlet for the students, while building sentence skills, as well as "telling a story."  I read them aloud to the class.


The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX, No. 2, February 2003