Idioms ESL Games, Activities and Worksheets

Hang in there!

ESL Idioms Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

In this idioms board game, students practice common idioms by using them to complete sentences. Players take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a player lands on a letter square, the student to their right picks up the sheet. The student then reads the gap-fill sentence that corresponds to the letter on the square and the number they rolled to reach it, using the word BLANK for the missing idiom in the sentence. The player listens to the sentence and then uses one of the idioms shown in the idiom bank on the game board to complete the sentence. For more advanced classes, you can have the player repeat back the full sentence with the correct idiom. If the player answers correctly, they move forward one space. If they answer incorrectly, they move back one space. The first player to reach the finish is the winner.
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Idioms Bluff

ESL Idioms Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this fun idioms activity, students create false definitions for idioms and then play a game where they guess which definition for an idiom is correct. In teams, students begin by creating a third false definition for each idiom on their worksheet. The idiom and correct answer are shown in bold. The teams then take it in turns to read their idioms and three definitions to another team. The other team then guesses which definition is correct. If they successfully guess the correct definition, the other team puts a tick next to the idiom. The game continues until all the idioms and definitions have been read out and guessed. The team with the most correct guesses wins the game.
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Well-known English Idioms

ESL Idioms Worksheet - Reading, Matching and Writing Exercises - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this idioms worksheet, students learn and practice 12 idioms commonly used in the English language. To begin, students match sentence halves together that contain well-known English idioms. Next, the students guess the meanings of the idioms from the sentences in Exercise A and match them with their correct definitions. After that, the students complete sentences with the idioms from the previous page. In the last exercise, students complete questions with the words shown. The students then answer the questions in the spaces provided. Afterwards, the students ask and answer the questions with a partner.
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Baseball Idioms

ESL Sports Idioms Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 25 minutes

In this sport idioms activity, students learn and practice common baseball idioms that are commonly used in everyday life, especially in business settings. In pairs, students take it in turns to read the numbered sentences on their worksheet to their partner, who matches the idiom used in each sentence to its correct meaning below the picture on their worksheet. Their partner then writes the corresponding sentence number next to the meaning. Afterwards, check the correct answers with the class. The students then work with their partner and write five new sentences each for the idioms shown in bold on their worksheets. When the students have finished, they read their ten sentences to the class and feedback is given.
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Idiomatic Feelings

ESL Idioms Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 35 minutes

In this idioms of feeling activity, students play a betting game where they complete sentences with idioms associated with feelings. Afterwards, students recap the meaning of the idioms and then create sentences of their own which they use in a guessing game. To begin, the students complete each sentence with one of the idiomatic expressions of feeling shown. Students then bet between 1 to 5 points, depending on how confident they are with each answer, 5 being very certain and 1 being not at all certain. If students guessed the correct idiom, they write the number of points they bet in the 'win' column. If they guessed incorrectly, they write the number in the 'lose' column. The student with the most points at the end wins. Students then move on to match definitions with the idioms. After that, students choose five idioms and write them in a chart. The students then write sentence beginnings that match the idioms to make complete sentences, e.g. Beginning: The film was so scary I... Idiom: was shaking like a leaf. Finally, in pairs, the students take it in turns to read each sentence beginning to their partner who tries to guess the idiom that completes the sentence.
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Tall Stories

ESL Idioms Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 45 minutes

In this free idioms game, students use time idioms to tell stories to their classmates who guess whether they are true or not. Students choose one of the topics on their worksheet and come up with a story related to the topic. The story can be true or a lie. Once the students have chosen their topic, they circle 'True' or 'Lie' and make notes about their story. The students then take it in turns to briefly tell their story to their group members who guess whether it is true or not. Students must use the idiom shown in bold in their story. After the story has been told, group members can ask questions to help them determine if the story is true or a lie. Each group member then guesses if the story is true or false and the correct answer is revealed. Storytellers score one point for each student they fooled. When everyone in the group has told their stories, students play more rounds using the other topics on their worksheet. The student with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
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