ESL Verb Games
Age/Level: Any Time: 15 minutes Players: Individual Preparation: A ball
Aim: To review verb tenses
This fun activity is an excellent way to revise or practice verb tenses.
Sit the students in a circle.
Take a place in the circle as well.
You start the game by throwing the ball to a student. As you throw the ball, say a verb in the present tense.
The student who catches the ball must say the past or past participle of the verb depending on the level of your students.
You then shout out a new verb as the student passes the ball to another student and so on.
If a student fails to say the correct verb tense, ask the student to throw ball again and the next student corrects the mistake.
If you want to make the game harder, you could ask the students to say a sentence in a particular tense.
Things we do
Age/Level: Elementary and above Time: 20 minutes Players: Small teams of 3-4 Preparation: A list of regular and irregular verbs
Aim: To write down verbs related to a topic
This is a great ESL game for reviewing verbs.
Start by reviewing a list of regular and irregular verbs with the class.
Next, divide the class into small teams of three or four.
After that, write a "things we do" topic on the board, e.g. things we do with our brains.
Tell the students they have two minutes to write down as many verbs as they can (from the list they just reviewed) that relate to the topic on the board.
In their teams, the students start writing down the verbs they remember, e.g. consider, dream, imagine, forgive, guess, etc.
When the two minutes are up, check the students' answers.
Teams receive one point for each correct verb.
Then, write another "things we do" topic on the board and so on.
The team with the highest number of points at the end wins.
This game can also be used to review nouns, adjectives, etc.
Age/Level: Elementary and above Time: 25 minutes Players: 2 teams Preparation: None
Aim: To use a specific verb correctly in a sentence
This verb game is similar to Connect 4. Students make sentences using verbs and win squares on a grid. This game is quite strategic and helps the students practice using verbs in a variety a tenses to make sentences and questions.
Split the class into two teams. Give each student in both teams a player number.
Draw an 8x8 grid on the board and assign the teams with an X or O symbol.
Write a different verb into each square. Write the verbs in mixture of tenses.
Have the teams play a quick game of rock-paper-scissors to see which team will play first.
Choose a player number. The player with that number chooses a verb from the grid.
That player then has to use the verb correctly in a sentence. The sentence must be in the same tense as the verb in the grid.
If the student makes a proper sentence, the team wins the square.
An X or 0 symbol is then placed in the square and the next team plays. When the next team plays, the same player number is used.
The aim of the game is to get four in a row (the same as connect 4).
For higher-level students, add a question mark next to some of the verbs. This means the students will have to make a question with the verb.
Age/Level: Any Time: 20 minutes Players: 2 teams Preparation: A list of verbs
Aim: To guess a verb and then write down the three forms
This is a great ESL game for practicing verb forms. It is also a lot of fun for students to play. Before you begin to play, have a list of verbs ready. The verbs you use should vary depending on the ability of your students. Regular and irregular verb forms work equally well.
Divide up the students into two teams.
Write the teams on the board and draw three columns under each team. Label the columns, base, past and past participle.
Have the teams choose one player each. The players from both teams come to the front of the class.
Give each player a different verb.
The two players have to act out their verb without speaking.
The teams have to try to guess what verb their player is acting out.
The student, who guesses the verb correctly for their team, has to come to the front of the class and write down the three forms of the verb in the columns.
Once the student has written the three forms, a new player comes up and acts out a new verb and so on.
The two teams are playing continuously, so when a team member guesses the correct verb. The other team keeps playing.
At the end of the game, give a point for every correctly spelled and formed verb.
The team that has the largest amount of points at the end is the winner.
Other ESL verb games can be found on the following pages: