ESL Games Archives

Winter Hokey Pokey

Use this activity to talk about clothing that’s worn during winter. Get your class to brainstorm all kinds of winter clothing ideas and then incorporate them into the song.

The Winter Pokey (to the tune of “The Hokey-Pokey”)

  • You put your right mitten in,
  • You take your right mitten out.
  • You put your right mitten in,
  • And you shake it all about.
  • You do the winter pokey, [shiver]
  • And you turn yourself around.
  • That’s what it’s all about!
  • You put your left mitten in….
  • You put your right boot….
  • You put your left boot….
  • You put your long scarf in….
  • You put your warm cap in….
  • You put your snowsuit in….



Ideas for Halloween ESL Party Planning – Halloween activities you can do with your ESL class

  • Pumpkin carving contest: Make teams of students to carve a nice jack-o-lantern, the teachers can be the judges
  • Halloween Costume Ideas: Your students can get creative and make costumes to wear for you ESL class Halloween Party
  • Halloween costume parade and contest: Make sure yo show all the other students and teachers yuor creative efforts in designing a costume with a parade and contest voted on by ESL students and teachers who has the best costume
  • Bobbing for apples: This is a fun activity we do at Halloween. You can use your hands and you have to get an apple from the water barrel with your mouth. These days it is not as popular of an activity because people are worried about germs, etc. So do so at your own, risk and it is a good idea to exclude anyone who is sick to not spread germs.
  • Haunted House: turn your ESL classroom into a haunted house tour with different spooky stations and slimy guts to touch and guess what it is… have fun!
  • Trick or Treating: you can have a class or school trick or treating event. Each class, or small group can make treats (such as candy apples, cookies, etc.), and give them to the other students if they say the famous Halloween words. (or if treats are limited, perhaps a prize for best costumes).
  • Listen to Haunted Music at the party
  • tell Ghost Stories
  • Watch a Halloween movie (be sure to be age sensitive) don’t scare little kids, and don’t scare adults either, they wont give your class / school good reviews. Keep it fun and use common sense.

Learn to Read with phonics.

Words that begin and end with the letter /c/ (hard /k/ sound)

The letter C - Phonics

The Letter /C/

Part 1:

A)     Read the following words that begin with the letter /c/:

  • Cat
  • Cab
  • Cup
  • Cot
  • Cut
  • Core

What do these have in common?  The vowels used are /a/, /u/ and /o/.  When these vowels follow the letter ‘c’, at the beginning of a word, the ‘c’ usually has a hard /k/ sound.

B)     Also, when a consonant follows the letter ‘c’ the ‘c’ will usually have a hard /k/ sound too.

  • Crab
  • Crank
  • Crow
  • Cry
  • Clap
  • Cross
  • Crown
  • Clown
  • Clock

Part 2:

  • How many more words can you make that begin with the letter /c/?

Part 3: Questions / Trivia

  1. An English and French speaking country in North America: C_________.
  2. It makes milk and says “moo”: c_________.
  3. Look both ways before you c_________ the street!
  4. If you are close to a freshly cut onion you might c_________.
  5. You can color in your coloring book with a c_________.
  6. You can go for a long drive in a c_________.
  7. Ronald McDonald is a famous c_________.
  8. A c____________ turns into a butterfly.
  9. Tigers have big, sharp c_________.
  10. I enjoy learning English on my c_________    .
  11. When I was 4 years old I had 4 c_________ on my c_________.

*bonus – a map maker is also known as a c__________________.



Learn to Read with phonics.

Words that begin and end with the letter /b/ (hard /b/ sound)

Funky Font the letter /B/


Part 1:

A)     Read the following words that begin with the letter /b/:

learning blocks

  • Balloon
  • Ball
  • Barn
  • Bumblebee
  • Banana
  • Baseball
  • Bat

B)      Read the following words that end with the letter /b/:

  • Crab
  • Tub
  • Crib
  • Tab
  • Cab
  • Bob
  • Flab
  • Blab

Part 2:

  • How many words can you make that begin with the letter /b/?
  • How many words can you make that end with the letter /b/?


Part 3: Questions / Trivia

  • A fun place to go in the summer and make sandcastles is the b_________.
  • This has two wheels and you peddle it.  A b_________.
  • The opposite of small is b_________.
  • A country in South America which is well known for soccer and beaches. B_________.
  • You think with your b_________.
  • A lovely colour is b_________.
  • Girls and b_________.
  • A fun game, and the name of a dog in a song is b_________.
  • A pretty flying insect which used to be a caterpillar is a b_________.

Spelling Bee and Listening Bee

This lesson can be adjusted for all levels and ages.

A Spelling Bee is a great ESL game for ESL students of all ages, not just kids.  The reason is, it is very easy to Spelling Bee and Listening Bee ESL gamescome up with simple English words for young, or novice learners, and scale up with the increasing level of ESL student.  You can also use a spelling bee to reinforce phonics and phonemic awareness in students which you may have just taught in an ESL lesson.

For example, perhaps your ESL Lesson was contrasting the /b/ and /p/ phonemes, and your goal is to get students to understand and recognize when each is used or heard.


Simple Novice Listening Bee

  1. Ask students to answer with either “B” or “P” depending on what they hear.
    1. Prepare a list of words and write each on a small piece of paper
    2. Make two teams from the class
    3. Pick one team to start and choose the student
    4. Pick a piece of paper at random from the words you prepares (put them in a hat or box, so you can see what you are picking) and read the word and give the student 2 seconds to choose /b/ or /p/, if he is wrong his team loses its turn, but let them continue until they get one wrong
    5. If he doesn’t answer within two seconds, the other team gets a chance, if they are right, they keep going.

Minimal pairs can be based well upon the following first letter variations:

  • P / b
  • L / r
  • F / v
  • D / t
  • S / z / j
  • G / k
  • And so on..

Part II – spelling bee

You can now easily recycle this activity into a spelling bee by using the same word list you just had your listening bee with.

Tips:  Remember, you can make this as easy or as complex as you need to in order to challenge, but not shut down your class and students.  You can use simple 3 letter words such as pan, ban, pat, bat, or longer words and advanced phonemes such as /ph/ and /f/ in the spelling bee.  You can even use those examples in context and have students pick the phoneme;  example.  Phil said that he had his fill of seafood last evening at the dinner party.  (which came first, the /ph/ or the /f/?)