Animals ESL Games, Activities and Worksheets

Animal Antics

ESL Animal Vocabulary Games - Vocabulary: Matching, Miming, Guessing - Group Work - Beginner (A1) - 25 minutes

Here are two free animal vocabulary games that students can play to learn the names of animals. Students begin by playing a pelmanism game where they match the names of animals to pictures. In groups, students take it in turns to turn over a word card and a picture card. If the picture matches with the name of the animal, the student keeps the cards and has another turn. If the cards do not match, the student turns them back over. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Next, students play a game where they race against each other to guess the names of animals from mimed actions and sounds. Students take it in turns to pick up an animal word card from the pile. The student with the card then mimes actions and makes the noises of the animal on the card. The first student to guess the animal wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
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Animal Families

ESL Animals Game - Vocabulary and Speaking: Categorising, Forming Sentences from Prompts, Freer Practice - Group Work - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this fun animals game, students categorise animals according to certain criteria and play a card game where they collect sets of animals belonging to different categories. First, students look at animal picture cards and identify animals according to specific categories. Next, students play a card game where they collect sets of two or more animals based on a category, e.g. animals that eat meat. One player begins by asking another student for a card needed to complete a set, e.g. 'Joshua, have you got an animal that eats meat?' If the other student has the card, they give it to the player. When the player has a set of two or more, they lay down the animal cards on the table and explain which category they belong to, e.g. 'I have a fox, bear and tiger. They all eat meat'. These cards are safe and cannot be taken by another player. Players can also add to their sets as long as they have two or more related cards. The player then continues asking for cards until they ask someone who doesn't have a corresponding card. When this happens, the student who was asked for their card takes their turn to request animals. That player can ask for cards that were previously taken if the cards aren't laid down. The player with the most cards on the table at the end of the game wins.
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On the Farm

ESL Farm Animals Game - Vocabulary and Speaking: Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Guessing, Freer Practice - Pair Work - Elementary (A1-A2) - 35 minutes

In this rewarding farm animals game, students ask present simple yes/no questions to determine which farm animals are behind numbered squares. The aim of the game is for one student to arrange their farm animal pictures in the same order on the number board as their partner. Student A begins by putting their farm animal cards on their number board in any order they like. Student B spreads their animal cards out face-up on the table next to their number board. Student B then asks present simple yes/no questions with Does it...? and Is it...? to Student A to find out which animal they put in square 1, e.g. Does it have four legs? Is it small? Student A replies yes or no appropriately until Student B finds out which animal it is. Student B then puts the animal card in square 1 and moves on to ask questions about the farm animal in square 2. This continues until the board is completed in the same order as their partner. Students then swap roles and repeat the game.
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The Pet Parade

ESL Animals Worksheet - Vocabulary Exercises: Matching, Identifying, Gap-fill, Listing, Binary Choice, Ranking, Comparing, Answering Questions - Elementary (A1-A2) - 30 minutes

In this handy pets worksheet, students practice animal and pet-related vocabulary. To begin, students match pets with their descriptions. Students then circle the animal in each line that is not the same as the others and write why the animal is different. Next, students use words from a box to complete sentences about taking care of pets. After that, students write down two examples for each pet-related item. Students then move on to underline the correct word or phrase to complete each sentence about pets. Students then rank pets from their favourite to their least favourite and compare their rankings with a partner. Finally, in pairs, students answer each question with a pet from the previous exercise.
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What's this animal?

ESL Animals Game - Vocabulary: Matching - Group Work - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this enjoyable animal vocabulary game, students play bingo by matching the names of animals to pictures. In groups, students take it in turns to turn over a picture card and say 'What's this animal?' All the students then look at their bingo cards to find a matching animal word. The student who has the name of the animal on their bingo card says 'This is a/an...' and puts the picture face-up on top of the matching word on their bingo card. The first student to complete their card with pictures shouts 'bingo' and then repeats the names of all nine animals on their card by saying 'This is a/an...' Students play several rounds, swapping bingo cards each time.
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Animal Crossword

ESL Animals Crossword - Vocabulary Activity: Writing Clues, Describing, Guessing - Pair Work - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

In this useful animal crossword activity, students complete a crossword by describing and guessing different animals. In two groups, students invent and write down clues for the animals on their crossword. The clues cover things like what the animal looks like, where it lives, what it eats, etc. Afterwards, students pair up with someone from the other group and take it in turns to ask their partner for a clue to one of their missing words. Their partner reads out the clue for that word and the other student tries to guess the name of the animal. If the student guesses the animal successfully, they write it on their crossword. If not, their partner continues to give more clues until the student is able to guess the animal. When the students have finished, they check their spelling by comparing crosswords.
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Animal Quiz Board Game

ESL Animals Board Game - Speaking: Writing, Asking and Answering Quiz Questions - Group Work - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

In this free animals board game, students practice writing, asking and answering animal quiz questions. After creating some animal quiz questions to include in the game, the student on the right of the first player picks up a quiz question card and asks the player the question on the card. If the player answers the question correctly, they roll the dice and move their counter along the board accordingly. If not, the player doesn't move, and the correct answer isn't revealed. The student asking the question then puts the quiz question card back at the bottom of the pile, and the process is repeated with the next player and so on. The first player to reach the finish wins the game.
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Animal Races

ESL Animal Vocabulary Game - Vocabulary: Answering Quiz Questions, Drawing - Group Work - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

In these two engaging animal vocabulary games, students answer quiz questions about animals. In the first game, students complete an animal drawing by answering animal quiz questions correctly. The catch is that the body must be drawn first. Teams must also draw the neck before they draw the head, so each body part needs to connect to the drawing. Otherwise, teams can't draw it. To begin, each team chooses an animal they want to draw. The teams then take it in turns to turn over a quiz question from the pile and read it to the other team, e.g. 'What animal is very big?' The other team then gives their answer, e.g. a whale. If the answer is acceptable, the team who answered turns over a body part card. If it shows a body, they draw the body of their chosen animal on the paper. If a team turns over a body part that doesn't connect with their drawing, play passes to the other team. The game continues in this way until one team completes their animal drawing and wins the game. Afterwards, students play a class animal quiz using the questions.
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What Animal Am I?

ESL Animals Guessing Game - Vocabulary and Speaking: Asking and Answering Questions, Guessing, Freer Practice - Group Work - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this creative animals guessing game, students play a 20 questions style game where they have to find out what animal they are by asking yes/no questions. One player goes first. The other students pick up a card and look at the animal on the card, without showing it to the player. The player then starts to ask yes/no questions to find out what animal they are, e.g. 'Do I have four legs?' 'Can I fly?' Etc. The other students respond 'yes' or 'no' accordingly. If the player is able to guess the animal before the 20 questions have been used (e.g. Am I a rabbit?), they win and keep the card. Then, it's the next player's turn to find out what animal they are. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. As a variation or extension, tape an animal card to the back of each student. Students then stand up and ask one yes/no question to each classmate to find out what animal they are. When the students have asked a question to each classmate, they sit down and guess their animal.
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Animal Scramble

ESL Animals Game - Reading and Vocabulary: Matching, True or False, Guessing - Pair Work - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

Here is an entertaining two-part animals game to help students practice vocabulary related to animals. First, teams race to form sentences about animals from cards. Teams line up sentence beginning cards in order and match each one with a sentence ending card. Teams then complete each sentence with a grey word card. The first team to complete all their animal sentences correctly wins. After that, teams play a true or false game with the sentences. Each team discusses which sentences they think are true and which they think are false, putting a tick at the end of the sentences that they think are true. Afterwards, check the answers with the class. The team with the most correct guesses wins.
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Awesome Animals

ESL Animals Worksheet - Vocabulary and Writing Exercises: Unscrambling, Matching, Categorising, Sentence Completion, Gap-fill, True or False, Guessing - Pair Work - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this comprehensive animals worksheet, students practice vocabulary that can be used to describe animals. To start, students unscramble letters to form animal names. Students then match the animals to their descriptions. Following that, students put words into their animal-related categories. Next, students match halves to make sentences that describe an animal and try to guess what the animal is. After that, students think of another animal and describe it by completing sentences. Students then read the description to a partner to see if they can guess the animal. Lastly, students complete sentences with animal names from a box. In their pairs, students then decide if each sentence is true or false.
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Animal Trivia Challenge

ESL Animals Quiz - Vocabulary Activity: Gap-fill, Multiple-choice Quiz, Guessing - Group and Pair Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 25 minutes

Here is an interesting animals quiz to help students practice vocabulary related to animals. First, in two groups, students complete animal trivia questions by choosing one of the words in brackets to complete each question. Next, students pair up with someone from the other group and take turns reading each trivia question along with three possible multiple-choice answers to their partner, who has to try to guess the correct answer. For each correct answer, students score one point. The student with the most points at the end of the quiz wins.
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Describing Animals

ESL Describing Animals Worksheet - Vocabulary Exercises: Categorising, Gap-fill, Unscrambling, Writing Sentences - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this productive describing animals worksheet, students practice describing various animals using adjectives and nouns. Students start by reading a paragraph and categorizing words in the text into adjectives or nouns. Next, students unscramble sentences that describe animals. Afterwards, students do a gap-fill exercise where they complete descriptions of animals with the adjectives and nouns from the worksheet. In the last exercise, students look at pictures of animals and describe them using the adjectives and nouns they have learnt.
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