ESL Verb Games

Catch

ESL Verbs Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Any Level - 15 minutes

This challenging verb game helps students to practice or revise verb forms. Have the students stand in a circle. Take a place in the circle and start the game by throwing a ball to a student. As you throw the ball, say a verb in its base form. The student who catches the ball must say the past, past participle, plural or 'ing' form of the verb, depending on which form you want the students to practice. The student then calls out a new verb as they throw the ball to another student and so on. If a student fails to say the correct verb form, they are out of the game and must sit down. You then restart the game with a new verb. If you want to make the game harder, you could ask the students to say a sentence using the verb in a particular tense. You could also have the students spell the verb form.
 

Classroom Tennis

ESL Irregular Verbs Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary and Above - 20 minutes

Here is a fun ESL game for practicing irregular verb forms. Divide the students into two teams (A and B). Have one student from each team (Player A and B) come to the front of the class and sit facing each other. You act as umpire. Player A thinks of an irregular verb and serves it by saying the past participle form of the verb, e.g. begun. Player B responds to the serve with the past form of the verb, e.g. began. Player A then gives the base form of the verb, e.g. begin. Player B then serves by choosing a new irregular verb. The serve is always the past participle form of the verb. When a player makes a mistake or is too slow to respond, the other player scores a point for their team and the correct verb form is written on the board. For example, if Player A served with the wrong past participle form (e.g. began), Player B scores a point. The game would then continue with Player B responding to the serve, giving the past form of the verb. The round finishes when a player gets three points. The two players' scores are then written on the board and a new player from each team comes to the front and so on. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. This game can also be played with adjectives, comparatives and superlatives as well as countries, nationalities and languages.
 

The Verb Tree

ESL Verbs Game - Reading and Writing Activity - Any Level - 25 minutes

Here is an imaginative verb game to help students practice or review verb meanings and sentence structure. Draw a large tree with many branches on the board. Ask the students what is missing from the tree and elicit the word 'leaves'. Tell the students that they are going to provide leaves for the tree. Give each student a post-it note or piece of paper cut into the shape of a leaf. Divide the students into two teams (A and B). Tell the students to each think of a different verb and write it on their paper. The team members then discuss what verb each student should write. You could also ask the students to choose verbs from a list if there are specific verbs you want them to practice. When the students have finished, invite a student from Team A to come up to the board with their leaf. The student says the verb aloud and sticks the verb on the tree. Team B then has one minute to make a meaningful sentence with the verb and write it on the board. If they are able to do this, the team scores one point. A student from Team B then comes up to the board with their leaf and Team A tries to make a sentence and so on. This continues until all the verbs are on the tree. The team with the most points wins the game. As an extension, ask students to work in pairs and use some of the verbs or sentences on the board to create a story. You can set the number of verbs or sentences to be included and award a prize for the best story. This game can be used to practice or revise a variety of language and vocabulary. You could have an adjective tree, a sports tree, a food tree, etc. You could also choose a theme for the tree such as Christmas or Halloween. The procedure is the same.
 

Things we do

ESL Verbs Game - Brainstorming and Writing Activity - Elementary and Above - 20 minutes

In this ESL verb game, students brainstorm regular and irregular verbs related to a topic. Start by reviewing regular and irregular verbs with the class. Next, divide the class into teams of three or four. Write a 'Things we do...' topic on the board, e.g. 'Things we do with our brains'. Tell the students that they have two minutes to write down as many verbs as they can that relate to the topic on the board. Working together, the students brainstorm and write down the verbs on a piece of paper, e.g. consider, dream, imagine, forgive, guess, etc. When the two minutes are up, have the teams swap papers for marking. Teams score one point for each appropriate verb. Then, write another 'Things we do...' topic on the board and so on. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Verb Connection

ESL Verbs Game - Speaking Activity - Elementary and Above - 25 minutes

In this strategic 'Connect 4' style verb game, students practice making sentences and questions using various verb forms. Divide the students into two teams. Draw a six-by-six grid on the board. Write different verbs and verb forms in the squares. Add a question mark to some of the base form verbs. Have the teams play a quick game of rock-paper-scissors to see which team is going to play first and who will be O or X. Have one student from the first team come up to the board and choose a verb from the grid. Working alone, the student then tries to use the verb correctly in a sentence. The sentence must be in the same tense as the verb in the square. If a student chooses a verb that has a question mark next to it, the student makes a question using the verb. If the student makes an appropriate sentence or question, the team wins the square and an O or X is placed accordingly. Then, it's the other teams turn to play. The first team to get four squares in a row wins the game. If neither team manages to do this, the team with the most squares wins.
 

Visual Verbs

ESL Irregular Verbs Game - Miming, Speaking and Writing Activity - Elementary and Above - 20 minutes

In this entertaining verb game, students guess irregular verbs from mimes and then write down the verb's three forms. Divide the students into two teams (A and B). Draw three columns on the board for each team. Label the columns: Base, Past, Past participle. Choose a student from Team A to come to the front of the class. Give the student a base form irregular verb. The student then has one minute to mime the verb for Team A to guess. If a student from Team A correctly guesses the verb, that student writes the base, past, and past participle forms of the verb in the columns unaided. If Team A is unable to guess the verb after one minute, Team B has one chance to steal the round by correctly guessing the verb. If they do this, the student who gave the answer writes down the three forms of the verb in their team's columns. A student from Team B then comes to the front of the class and so on. At the end of the game, award one point for every correctly spelled and formed verb. The team with the most points wins the game.
 
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