Countries and Nationalities - ESL Activities, Worksheets and Games

Countries and Capital Cities

ESL Countries and Capital Cities Game - Reading, Matching and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

Here are two fun card games that students can play to learn the names of countries and their capital cities. The students begin by playing a pelmanism game where they match countries and capital cities together. The students are divided into groups of three. Each group is given a set of country cards and capital city cards, which they spread out face down on the table in two sets. Students then take it in turns to turn over a country card and a capital city card. If the two cards match, the student makes a sentence using the two cards, e.g. 'Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand'. The student then 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 match capital cities to countries. One student takes the country cards, shuffles them and places them in a pile face down. The other two students take the capital city cards, shuffle them and spread them out face up on the table. The student with the country cards picks up a card from the pile and reads out the country on the card to the two students. The two students then race to find the corresponding capital city card and give it to the student, saying the name of the capital city at the same time. The first student to do this wins and keeps the two cards. This continues until all the cards have been matched. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins. Afterwards, students swap roles and play again.
 

Countries and Nationalities

ESL Countries and Nationalities Worksheet - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

This productive worksheet activity helps students to learn and practice countries and nationalities. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, students write the nationality for each country in a chart on the worksheet. When the students have finished, the answers are checked with the class. Students then move on to categorize the nationalities according to their suffixes. After that, the students are divided into pairs and one student in each pair turns over their worksheet. The other student then tests their partner on the countries and nationalities. If the student says a country, their partner replies with the corresponding nationality. If the student says a nationality, their partner replies with the country. When the students have finished, they swap roles and repeat the activity. Finally, students take it in turns to imagine they are from another country on the worksheet and their partner asks yes/no questions with the 'verb to be' to find out which country they are from.
 

Countries Crossword

ESL Countries Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 35 minutes

In this engaging worksheet activity, students complete a crossword by describing and guessing different countries. 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, the students invent and write down clues for the countries written on their crossword.  The clues cover things like the geographical location of the country, what the country is famous for, what the capital city is called, 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 3 across?' Their partner reads out the clue for that word and the other student tries to guess the name of the country. If the student guesses the country successfully, they write it on their crossword. If not, their partner continues to give more clues until the student is able to guess the country. When the students have finished, they check their spelling by comparing crosswords.
 

Countries, Nationalities and Flags

ESL Countries and Nationalities Worksheet - Reading, Writing and Spelling Activity - Elementary - 20 minutes

Here is a useful worksheet activity to help students practice countries, nationalities and flags. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, students complete each sentence on the worksheet by writing the name of the country each nationality comes from. When the students have finished, the answers are checked with the class. Students score one point for each correct country and one point for each correct spelling. The students then write the country they think each flag on the worksheet belongs to, scoring one point for each correct answer. The student with the most points wins.
 

Let's go East

ESL Countries Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 35 minutes

In this rewarding role-play activity, students ask and answer questions in order to find out factual information about 12 Asian countries. The class is divided into groups of 12. Six students are given a representative's worksheet each. These students take on the roles of representatives for different Asian countries. The other six students are each given a visitor card. These students take on the roles of visitors to the representatives' countries. The visitors are from other countries in Asia. The representatives go and sit in different parts of the classroom. The visitors then go to visit the representative of the first country on their card. The representative from that country reads an introductory text on the worksheet to the visitor. The visitor listens for specific information in order to answer questions on their visitor card. The information they need to listen for includes the nationality of the people, capital city, geographical location and facts about the country. After the introductory text has been read out, the representative asks a series of questions to the visitor about the country they come from. The visitor uses the information on their card to answer the representative's questions. The representative listens and completes the worksheet with their answers. The visitors then repeat the process with the second country on their card. Afterwards, the students swap roles and repeat the activity. When everyone has finished, there is a class feedback session to see what the students learnt and to go through the answers.
 

Nice to meet you

ESL Introductions, Countries and Languages Activity - Listening, Speaking and Writing - Elementary - 30 minutes

In this insightful role-play activity, students take on the identity of someone from another country to practice introductions and to learn about traditional names, countries and national languages. Each student is given an identity card and a copy of the worksheet. Students take on the identity of the person on their card and go around the class making introductions. The students find out one another's name, country and national language and complete the worksheet with the information. When the students have finished, they give feedback to the class on the people they met during the activity.
 

Scrambled Countries

ESL Countries and Capital Cities Worksheet - Writing and Spelling Activity - Elementary - 20 minutes

This useful worksheet activity helps students practice countries, capital cities and their spelling. The students are divided into pairs and each pair is given a copy of the worksheet. Working together, the students unscramble words on the worksheet to form the names of countries and then write the name of each country's capital city. When a 10-minute time limit has been reached, the answers are elicited from the class. Students score one point for each correct country, capital city and spelling. The pair with the most points wins.
 

Where do I come from?

ESL Countries Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this entertaining countries game, students listen to clues and guess which country someone comes from. This activity covers countries, continents, currencies and capital cities. The students are divided into groups of three. Each group is given a set of cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. Students then take it in turns to pick up a card and use the information on the card to make three sentences about where they come from.  The sentences give clues to the continent, currency and capital city of the country, e.g. 'I come from a country in Europe'. The first group member to guess where the student comes from wins and keeps the card. If the group members don't guess the answer, the student gives additional clues about the country. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 

A New Country

ESL Country Information Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this imaginative country information activity, students create a new country made up of the best qualities and features from other countries. The students are divided into pairs and each pair is given a copy of the worksheet. Working with their partner, students begin by deciding on a name for their country. Students then complete their country's information, such as the climate, food, culture, people, environment, standard of living, etc. When the students have finished writing, pairs take it in turns to present their country to the class. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session to see which countries the students liked the most and why.
 

Countries and Nationalities Bingo

ESL Countries and Nationalities Game - Listening, Matching and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 20 minutes

In this fun teaching activity, students play games of bingo to practice countries and nationalities. Each student is given a bingo card. Nationalities are called out at random. If the students have the corresponding country on their bingo card, they cross it out. When a student has crossed out all nine countries, they shout 'Bingo'. When a student shouts 'Bingo', the student says the countries on their card and the corresponding nationalities. If the countries and nationalities are correct, the student wins the round. If not, the game continues. Several rounds are played with students receiving a different bingo card each time. As an alternative or extension, students play the game amongst themselves in groups of five with group members taking it in turns to be the bingo caller.
 

Countries Word Search

ESL Countries Activity - Reading, Matching and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this entertaining worksheet activity, students find countries in a word search and then play a game where they make sentences about the countries. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students look for the 24 countries shown on the worksheet in the word search and tick the words off as they go. When the students have finished, the position of each country in the word search is reviewed with the class. Next, the students are divided into teams of four. A country is called out at random from the word search. The first student to put up their hand and make an appropriate sentence about the country scores a point for their team. Students can make a sentence about anything related to the country, such as the geographical location, capital city, what the country is famous for, what the country produces, etc. The game continues until all the countries have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Invent a Country

ESL Country Information Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 40 minutes

In this intriguing teaching activity, students invent a new country and then ask questions to find out information about countries that other students have created. The students are divided into pairs and each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students are told to imagine that they come from a planet called Olympus. Olympus is made up of many islands. The islands are separated by a great ocean. The people from the different island countries have never met each other until today! The students then begin by inventing information about the country they come from, such as the name of the country, nationality, language, how people greet each other, etc. Students write the information down in a chart on the worksheet. When the students have finished, they write questions in order to find out information about the other countries. After the questions have been checked, students stand up and go around meeting people from the other countries of Olympus. Students ask and answer the questions and complete the chart with information about two other countries. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session to find out about the various countries of Olympus.
 

Origin

ESL Countries Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-Intermediate - 25 minutes

In this engaging countries game, students describe things that come from different countries. The students are divided into pairs. Each pair is given a set of cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the table. The cards show things countries are famous for, such as types of food, animals, sports, company names, products, etc. The students take it in turns to pick up a card and give clues about what is on the card to their partner. The first clue must be about the nationality of the thing being described, e.g. 'It is Australian'. Their partner then tries to guess the answer. If they guess correctly the first time, they score five points. If they guess incorrectly, the student gives another clue for four points and so on. All the way down to zero when the answer is revealed. The game continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
 
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