Describing Things - ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Adjectives of Size, Shape and Colour

ESL Describing Things Activity - Writing and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 40 minutes

In this engaging describing things activity, students categorize adjectives of size, shape and colour and explain each adjective's meaning. The class is divided into teams of three and each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working together in their teams, students have ten minutes to put the adjectives of size, shape and colour into their respective category on the worksheet. When the time limit has been reached, the teams stop writing. The teacher then calls out the first adjective from the worksheet and asks the first team for the correct category. If the category is correct, all the teams with the same answer score a point. If the first team answers correctly, they try to explain the meaning of the adjective for an extra point. They can do this by drawing on the board, pointing to something that can be described with the adjective or by making a sentence with the adjective that illustrates the meaning. If the team gives an incorrect category or explanation, the next team gives their answer. This process is repeated with each team in turn until all the answers and explanations have been given correctly. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Describe it

ESL Describing Things Game - Matching, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

In this free describing things game, students match four adjectives to a picture and then describe the picture with the adjectives. The students are divided into groups of three and each group is given a set of picture cards and adjective cards. The students shuffle the adjective cards and deal out four each. The remaining adjective cards are placed face down in a pile with the top card facing up next to the pile. The picture cards should be placed face up on the table. The aim of the game is to get four adjective cards that describe one of the pictures. The players take it in turns to pick up and put down an adjective card. Players can choose to pick up a card from the face down pile or take the top face up card next to the pile. Players must always have four cards in their hand and must put a card down in the face up pile after picking one up. When a player has four adjective cards that describe one of the pictures, they place the cards in front of the picture and describe it. If all the players agree the adjectives match and the description is appropriate, the student wins and keeps the picture card. The adjective cards are then reshuffled and the game begins again. The game continues until all of the picture cards have been described. The student with the most picture cards at the end of the game wins.
 

Think of Something

ESL Describing Things Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this free describing things activity, students associate words with adjectives and compare their answers with a partner. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, students go through the questions on the worksheet and write something that they associate with each adjective. When the students have finished, they are divided into pairs. Students then ask their partner the questions from the worksheet and write down their answers. Afterwards, the students compare their answers with their partner and see if they both thought of the same things or not. When the students have finished, there is a class feedback session to find out which associations the students have in common and to speculate why. As an extension, students choose five of the adjectives from the worksheet and write as many things they associate with them as possible. Each list of items is then read aloud to the class and they try to guess the adjective.
 

Whatsitsname?

ESL Describing Objects Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

In this describing things activity, students play a guessing game where they describe objects to each other. After practicing language for describing objects, the class is divided into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Working together with the people in their group, students discuss and make notes on how to describe the objects on their worksheet, without saying the names of the objects. When the students are ready, they pair up with someone from the other group. Students then take it in turns to describe an object on their worksheet to their partner. If their partner guesses the name of the object, the student describing the object puts a tick next to the picture. If not, the student puts a cross. This continues until all the objects have been described. The pair that guesses the most correct items is the winner.
 

Advertising Products

ESL Describing Products Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this describing products activity, students match adjectives that are commonly used in advertising to products and then write an advertisement for a product using the adjectives. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Students begin by reviewing the pictures of the products and the meaning of each adjective on the worksheet. Next, the students are divided into pairs. The pairs then look at the adjectives at the bottom of the worksheet and decide which product or products each adjective describes. When the students have finished, the answers are checked together as a class. After that, the pairs choose a product and write an advertisement for it using the corresponding adjectives. Each pair then presents their advertisement to the class and feedback is given. As a variation, you can have the students write their advertisement, without mentioning which product they are referring to. The students then take it in turns to read their advertisement to the class who has to guess the product.
 

Ancient Artifacts

ESL Describing Objects Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 20 minutes

In this intriguing describing objects activity, students take on the role of archaeologists in the far future and play a game where they describe objects and guess possible uses. The students are divided into groups of three or four. Each group is given a set of cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the table. The students imagine that they are archaeologists in the far future and that the cards represent unknown ancient objects they have dug up. The first student picks up the top card from the pile and looks at the picture, without showing it to anyone. The student then describes the object in detail to the others, without saying what it is. The student describes the object's size, shape, colour and what it's made of. The student also says what it was possibly used for, according to the description on the card. The other students listen to the description and give their opinion on what they think the object was actually used for. The first student to give the correct use of the object wins and keeps the card. If no one can correctly guess the use, the students move on to try to guess what the object is rather than its use. When the card has been won, the next student picks up a card from the pile and begins their description. This continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 

The Describing Game

ESL Describing Objects Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this challenging describing things activity, students play a card game where they describe objects with five given words or phrases. The students are divided into groups of three or four and each group is given a set of cards. The students shuffle the cards and place them face down in a pile on the desk. Players take it in turns to turn over the top five cards from the pile. The player then thinks of an object and tries to use the five words or phrases on the cards to describe it. The player must make one sentence per card. The other students in the group judge whether each sentence the player makes is acceptable. When a player has used a card successfully to describe their object, the player keeps the card. Any cards the player was unable to use are placed back at the bottom of the pile. The next player then turns over five cards and thinks of a new object and so on. The game continues with a different object being chosen each time until there are no cards left in the pile. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 

The Journey

ESL Describing Things Activity - Reading, Writing and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this imaginative describing things activity, students describe in detail the things they see as they are led on a journey. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet and told that they are going to go on a journey using their imagination. As the students approach each situation in the journey, they close their eyes and take a mental snapshot of the picture in their mind before completing questions on the worksheet. When the journey is over, the students describe what they saw in each situation. The students are then given an interpretation of the situation. You could also ask the students the meaning of each situation and see if they can guess the psychoanalytical symbolism themselves.
 
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