ESL Sentence Race Games

Alphabet Madness

ESL Sentence Race Game - Reading, Writing and Speaking Activity - Elementary and above - 20 minutes

This fun sentence race game helps students to practice parts of speech and sentence structure. Divide the students into teams of four or five. Give each team a piece of paper for writing. Explain that the students are going to race to make sentences using only words that begin with a certain letter. The first team to make a grammatically correct sentence score one point for each word. Write the letter 'M' on the board and give the students the following example: My mother makes my morning meal. (6 points) Then, write a random letter on the board and begin the game. In their teams, the students work together to come up with a sentence. The first team to raise their hand can answer. If the sentence is correct, award that team points accordingly. Then, move on to another letter. If the sentence is grammatically incorrect, that team is out of the round and no points are awarded. Another team can then try to answer. Play several rounds using a different letter each time. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Balloon Buster

ESL Sentence Race Game - Matching and Reading Activity - Any Level - 15 minutes

This entertaining sentence race game is ideal for practicing sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar. Divide the students into teams of three or four. Give each team balloon number 1. Inside each balloon should be word cards that make up a sentence. When you say 'go', the teams try to pop their balloons using only their elbows and race to form a sentence from the word cards inside the balloon. The first team to form the sentence and read it aloud scores a point. Play several rounds. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. You could also play this game to practice spelling and vocabulary by putting letter cards inside each balloon that form a word.
 

Sentence Race

ESL Sentence Race Game - Writing Activity - Pre-intermediate and Above - 20 minutes

This useful sentence race game can be used to review tenses. Divide the students into two teams. Give an identical set of time expression cards to each team. The time expressions should review a variety of tenses, e.g. next year, a few days ago, at the moment, etc. Ask the teams to shuffle the cards and spread them out face down on the table. Assign the students in each team with a number. Call out a student number and time expression, e.g. Student 3, last year. The two students with that number race to turn over and turn back the time expression cards until they find the correct time expression. When the students find the right time expression card, they run to the board and write a sentence using the time expression in the related tense, e.g. 'Last year, I went to Italy'. The first student to write a grammatically correct sentence in the appropriate tense scores a point for their team. Each sentence written by a team must use a different verb and subject pronoun. Repeat the game until all the time expressions have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Splat

ESL Sentence Race Game - Speaking Activity - Elementary - 15 minutes

This simple sentence race game can be used to help students practice vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. Stick a different word onto each student. Have the students stand in a circle. Stand in the centre of the circle with a ball. Throw the ball to a student. The students on either side of the student who catches the ball race to look at the word on the student and use the word in a sentence. The first student to make an appropriate sentence stays in the game. The other student is out. Repeat the game until there are two students left standing. Those two students win the game.
 

Translation Race

ESL Sentence Race Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Any Level - 20 minutes

This popular ESL sentence race game can be used to help students practice any language point. Divide the students into two teams. One player from each team comes to the front of the class and sits with their back to the board. Write a sentence on the board behind the two players. When you say 'go', the two teams use their native language to tell their player what is written on the board. The two players then race to translate the sentence into English. Teams can translate word by word or by saying the whole sentence. The only rule is that they must use their native language. When a player thinks they can say the complete sentence in English unaided, have them put up their hand and say the sentence. The first player to translate the sentence correctly scores a point for their team. When a sentence has been correctly translated, select two new players to sit in the chairs and write a new sentence on the board. The first team to ten points wins the game.
 

Words to Sentences

ESL Sentence Race Game - Writing Activity - Elementary and Above - 20 minutes

This engaging sentence race game can be used with large classes. The game is useful for practicing or revising vocabulary, parts of speech and sentence structure. Divide the students into two teams. Give an identical set of word cards to each team. Each student takes one word card. Call out a word. The two students with that word card run to the board and try to write a sentence using the word. The first student to write a grammatically correct sentence containing the word scores a point for their team. Repeat the game until all the word cards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
 
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