Family and Relationships - ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Family Battleships

ESL Family Vocabulary Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Beginner - 25 minutes

In this fun worksheet activity, students play a game of battleships to practice family-related vocabulary. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Students begin by writing seven family words on their worksheet somewhere in the grid marked 'You'. The students then play a game of battleships where they have to find seven family-related words on their partner's grid. The students take it in turns to call out coordinates from the 'Your partner' grid on the worksheet, e.g. b 4. If their partner has a letter in that square, they say 'hit' and tell the student the letter. The student then writes the letter in the grid and has another turn. If their partner doesn't have a letter in that square, they say 'miss'. The student then draws an X in the grid and play passes to their partner. The first student to find all seven family words wins the game.
 

The Watanabe Family

ESL Family Tree Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this rewarding teaching activity, students practice family-related vocabulary by completing a family tree. The class is divided into two groups (A and B). Each group forms a line in front of the board. The students then have a board race where they write down as many family members as they can in two minutes, e.g. brother, aunt, etc. The group with the most correctly spelt words after two minutes wins the game. Next, each student in Group A and B is given a corresponding worksheet. The students look at the family tree on their worksheet and complete sentences in Exercise A. When the students have finished, the answers are checked with each group. Students then pair up with someone from the other group. The students take it in turns to ask and answer the questions in Exercise B to complete their family tree. Student A starts by asking 'Who is Jin?' Student B uses the completed sentences in Exercise A to answer the question, e.g. 'Jin is Aiko's cousin and Akira's niece'. Student A then writes the name in the appropriate place on the family tree. The students continue asking and answering the questions until they have both completed their family trees.
 

Family and Relationships Crossword

ESL Family and Relationships Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 35 minutes

In this captivating worksheet activity, students complete a crossword by describing and guessing words related to family and relationships. The class is divided into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students in both groups have the same crossword, but Group A has the words across and Group B has the words down. Working together, the students invent and write down clues for the family and relationship vocabulary written on their crossword. 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 family or relationship word. If the student guesses the word successfully, they write it on their crossword. If not, their partner continues to give more clues until the student is able to guess the word. When the students have finished, they check their spelling by comparing crosswords.
 

Family Races

ESL Family Vocabulary Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this entertaining family vocabulary game, students describe and guess family-related vocabulary. This versatile activity can also be adapted into a spelling relay and a board race game. The class is divided into two teams. One student from each team comes to the front of the class. The two students are shown a family-related word from a card. The two students then race to describe the family member on the card to their respective teams, e.g. 'Your mother's brother is your…' The first team to correctly guess the family member (e.g. uncle) wins and scores a point. Then, two new students come to the front of the class and so on. The game continues until all the cards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. As an extension or variation, students play a spelling relay. Two teams line up in front of the board. A card is shown to the student at the back of each line. These students write the family-related word with their fingers on the back of the person in front of them. The word is written on the back of the next student and so on down the line until it reaches the student at the front. That student writes the word on the board. The first team to write the correct word on the board scores a point. This activity can also be adapted into a board race game where students listen to descriptions of family-related words and race to the board to grab the card that matches with the description.
 

Family Tree

ESL Family Tree Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this enjoyable teaching activity, students practice family-related vocabulary and possessives by working together to complete a family tree. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding section of the worksheet. Student A's task is to complete a family tree by asking Student B about the people on the worksheet, e.g. 'Who's Isabella?' Student B answers by explaining how the people in the family tree are related to each other, e.g. 'Isabella is Liam's grandmother and Jacob's mother'. Student A then completes the family tree with the information. When the students have finished, they swap worksheets and exchange roles. This gives Student B a chance to ask the questions and also helps to confirm the answers. When each pair has finished, they are given another section of the worksheet. Working together, the two students identify where a missing family member is on the family tree and complete sentences about how the person is related to the other family members. The first pair to complete the sentences correctly is the winner.
 

Keep it in the Family

ESL Family Vocabulary Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 25 minutes

In this engaging vocabulary game, students describe and define nouns, adjectives, adjective-noun collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms related to family. The students are divided into groups of three and 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 describe the family-related word or phrase to the other students, e.g. 'It's a noun. It means the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt'. The other students listen to the description and try to guess the answer, e.g. cousin. The first student to guess correctly wins and keeps the card. Students continue to play until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
 

Match up

ESL Family Phrasal Verbs and Idioms Activity - Reading, Matching, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate - 30 minutes

In this insightful pelmanism and discussion activity, students form and ask questions containing phrasal verbs and idioms related to family and relationships. The students begin by playing a pelmanism game where they form questions by completing phrasal verbs and idioms. The students are divided into groups of three and each group is given a set of cards. The students put the grey cards and white cards into two separate piles. The students shuffle each set of cards and spread them out on the table face down. Students then take it in turns to turn over one card from each set. If the two cards match to make a question, the student keeps the cards and has another turn. If the cards do not match, the student turns them back over, keeping them 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 wins. When everyone has finished, the questions and meaning of each phrasal verb and idiom are checked with the class. Students then take it in turns to ask the questions on their cards to the other group members and discuss the answers. When the students have finished, they report back to the class on what they found out.
 
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