ESL Counting Games
Age/Level: Any Time: 10 minutes Players: Individual Preparation: None
Aim: To practice numbers 1 to 100
Here is a wonderful ESL counting game for teaching or reviewing numbers.
Sit the students in a circle.
Have the students count in turn going around the circle, starting with number one.
Every time the number reaches a multiple of five, a student says, "Fizz."
Every time the number reaches a multiple of seven, a student says "Buzz."
If a student makes a mistake, either by saying a number instead of Fizz or Buzz or by saying the wrong number, the counting starts again from number one.
When a student gets it wrong, they are out of the game and have to answer a question set by the teacher.
The object of the game is for the group to reach 100 without making a mistake.
For young learners, play the same game, but only use the word 'Buzz'. When they come to a number, which contains or is a multiple of three (e.g. 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, etc.), they say "Buzz" instead of the number.
The object for this version of the game is to reach 30 without making a mistake.
Age/Level: Young learners Time: 5 to10 minutes Players: Individual Preparation: None
Aim: To practice numbers 1 to 20
This is a highly amusing ESL counting game for young learners to practice basic numbers.
Get the students to squat like frogs in a circle.
Tell the students that they are going to count from 1 to one number less than the amount of students in the circle, e.g. If there are 10 students, the students count from 1 to 9. If there are 15 students, they count from 1 to 14, etc.
Every student must try to say one of the numbers or they are out.
Every time a student says a number, the student must bob up and down like a frog.
If two students say a number at the same time, they are out, or the slower student is out.
The game then starts again from 1 to one number less than the remaining students, and so on until there are two students left. These two students are the winners.
Age/Level: Young learners Time: 15 minutes Players: Individual Preparation: None
Aim: To practice numbers 1 to 20 and lexical sets
This counting game is similar to fizz buzz. It’s useful for revising numbers and sets of vocabulary.
Before you begin, write a list of categories that you want the students to revise on the board, e.g. vegetables, colours, adverbs, etc.
Have all the students stand up and form a circle.
Students count in turn going around the circle, starting with number 1 and ending with 20.
The student who says “20” then chooses a category for the game from the board and changes one number in the sequence to a word from that category.
For example, if the student chose the vegetables category, the student might say that the number 5 is now “carrot.”
The next student then starts from number 1 and the students have to remember which word stands for which number as they count from 1 to 20.
The student who says “20” changes one more number to a vegetable and so on.
If a student forgets to say a word instead of a number or forgets the word they are supposed to say, they are out of the game.
The last student standing wins the game.
You can play several times with the first student to say “20” choosing the category for the game each time.
You can also change the amount of numbers to make the game shorter or longer (easier or harder). You can also change the sequence to practice other numbers, e.g. multiples of ten, numbers 30 to 50, etc.
Age/Level: Young learners Time: 10 minutes Players: Individual Preparation: None
Aim: To revise basic numbers
Students will certainly enjoy this simple and humorous counting game.
Start the counting game by getting the students to sit in a circle.
Tell the students that they are going to play a counting game using their native language and English alternatively, e.g. Thai and English.
The first student starts by saying the number one in English. The second student says the number two in their native language, e.g. Thai. The third student says the number three in English, and so on.
A student is out of the game if they say the wrong number or use the wrong language. To make the game more exciting only give the students one or two seconds to respond, or they are out of the game. It's a lot harder than it seems.
The last student left is the winner.
Age/Level: Young learners Time: 5 to 10 minutes Players: Individual Preparation: None
Aim: To practice numbers 1 to 7
This is a great ESL counting game for young learners. It works well as a five minute warmer.
To start the counting game, you need to sit the students in a circle.
The students then count in turn going around the circle.
The first student says the number one and using their hands indicates to the left or the right.
The student, who has been selected, then continues counting and indicates to his/her left or right.
This continues until the number seven. The student saying the number seven must raise their hand above their head to indicate the next student and says, "7 Up."
Then, the counting starts from number one again.
Students are out when they say a number when they have not been selected. This happens a lot because students may gesture with their head or other part of their body, but it's the gesture with their hands that matters.
The last remaining student is the winner.
Related Number Activities: Numbers