Animals - ESL Games and Activities

Animal Antics

ESL Matching and Speaking Activity - Beginner - 25 minutes

Here are two fun card games that students can play to learn the names of animals. The students begin by playing a pelmanism game where they match the names of animals to pictures. The students are divided into groups of three or four. Each group is given a set of animal word cards and a set of picture cards, which they spread out face down on the table. Students then 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, keeping the cards in the same place. The students continue to play until all the cards have been matched. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Next, the students play a game where they race against each other to guess the names of animals from mimed actions and sounds. Each group places the animal word cards face down in a pile on the desk. Students take it in turns to pick up a card from the pile, without showing it to anyone. The student with the card then mimes actions and makes the noises of the animal on the card. The first student in the group to guess the animal wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins. This game could also be played with groups competing against each other to get through the pile of cards the fastest.
 

Animal Crossword

ESL Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 35 minutes

In this enjoyable activity, students complete a crossword by describing and guessing different animals. The class is divided into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Both groups have the same crossword, but Group A has the words down and Group B has the words across. Working together, 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. When the students have finished writing, they pair up with someone from the other group. The students then take it in turns to ask their partner for a clue to one of their missing words, e.g. 'What's 1 down?' 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.
 

Animal Families

ESL Matching and Speaking - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this engaging teaching activity, students categorize animals, according to certain criteria. The students then play a card game where they collect sets of animals belonging to different categories. Each group of three is given a set of animal picture cards, which they spread out face up on the table. The students are then given categories of animals, e.g. reptiles, animals that have fur, animals that live in the jungle, etc. The students look at their cards and identify animals from each category. Next, the students shuffle the picture cards and deal them out evenly. The students then play a card game where they collect sets of three animals based on a category, e.g. three animals that eat meat, etc. One student begins by asking another player for a card needed to complete a set of three, e.g. 'Joshua, have you got an animal that eats meat?' If the other player has the card, they must give it to the student. When the student has a set, they lay down the three 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'. The student then continues asking for cards until they make a mistake. When a mistake is made, the player who was asked for their card takes their turn to request cards. That player can ask for cards that were taken previously if the set hasn't been laid down. The student who collects the most sets of cards wins the game.
 

On the Farm

ESL Listening, Speaking and Matching Activity - Elementary - 35 minutes

In this rewarding activity, students play a game where they ask present simple yes/no questions to determine which farm animals are behind numbered squares. The students are divided into pairs (A and B). Each student is given a set of farm animal cards and a number board. 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?' 'Does it eat grass?' Etc. 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. The students then swap roles with Student B putting their farm animal cards on their number board and Student A asking the questions.
 

Animal Quiz Board Game

ESL Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 35 minutes

In this entertaining board game, students practice asking and answering quiz questions about animals. Students begin by creating some quiz questions of their own to include in the game. The class is divided into four groups and each student is given a piece of paper. Working together with the people in their group, students create ten animal quiz questions (with answers) and write them on their paper. When the students have finished, they make groups of four, comprising of one student from each group. Each group of four is then given a copy of the game board, a set of quiz question cards, some counters and a dice. Players then take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a player lands on a question mark square, the student to their right picks up a quiz question card and asks the player the question on the card. If the player answers the question correctly, they stay on the square. If the player gives a wrong answer, they must move back to their previous square. If a player lands on an animal picture square, the student on their right asks the player one of the quiz questions they created. The first player to reach the finish wins the game.
 
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