Time - ESL Activities, Worksheets and Games

Just Another Day

ESL Speaking Activity - Elementary - 30 minutes

In this engaging teaching activity, students practice telling the time and using the present simple to describe a partner's everyday activities. Each student is given a set of activity cards. The students choose cards that show the activities they do on a normal day and indicate when they do each activity by drawing the time on the clock. Students use the blank cards to add any activities they do every day that are not shown on any of the activity cards. Next, the students are divided into pairs. The students exchange cards with their partner and lay out their partner's activities in order, according to the times on the clocks. Students then take it in turns to look at their partner's cards and describe their normal day, e.g. 'You wake up at half past six. You have breakfast at seven o'clock. You arrive at class at half past eight', etc. When the students have finished, they find differences in what they do every day, e.g. 'I wake up at seven o’clock, but you wake up at half past seven'. Afterwards, students take their partner's activity cards and work with a new partner. This time, the students lay out their original partner's cards in the correct order and describe his or her normal day to their new partner using the third-person singular.
 

Missing Dates

ESL Reading, Writing, listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 15 minutes

In this useful worksheet activity, students practice ordinal numbers, months and dates. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students take it in turns to ask questions about missing dates in a table on their worksheet and fill in the table with their partner's answers. When the students have finished, they check their answers and spelling by comparing worksheets with their partner.
 

Miyu's Mystery Timetable

ESL Reading, Matching and Writing Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

This rewarding worksheet activity is ideal for practicing time, days of the week and school subjects. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, students read clues on the worksheet and complete the missing subjects in Miyu's school timetable. When the students have finished, the timetable is drawn on the board and the answers are elicited from the class.
 

My Calendar

ESL Writing Activity - Elementary - 60 minutes

In this creative worksheet activity, students learn how to make a calendar. To begin, students learn and practice the rhyme "Thirty days have September". Each student is then given a blank calendar. Following the teacher's instructions, the students complete the calendar by writing in months, days of the week and dates. When the calendar is complete, students add colour and pictures as desired, highlighting special days or dates such as family birthdays, national holidays, etc. Students then cut out the calendar, stick it together and thread it with a piece of string so it can be hung up.
 

Our Time

ESL Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 45 minutes

In this insightful teaching activity, students practice telling the time and describing a particular time's importance. Each student writes the names of everyone in the class on a piece of paper and is given a clock card. On the clock face, students draw a time that is important to them. Students then go around the classroom asking and telling each other the time on their clock. Every time a student asks another student for their time, they find out why it is important. The student notes down the time next to the name of the student on their paper and the reason for its importance. When the students have finished, they are divided into pairs. The students then put the names of everybody in the class in order, according to who had the earliest to latest time on their clock. The students also write a sentence for each student about what they do at that time, e.g. 'At half past seven, Steve arrives at the bus stop. At quarter past eight, Kim has breakfast', etc. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session where the correct order and answers are reviewed with the class.
 

Telling the Time Dominoes

ESL Reading and Matching Activity - Elementary - 15 minutes

This dominoes game can be used to help students practice telling the time with 'past' and 'to'. In the activity, students play a game of dominoes where they match written times to times on digital clocks. The students are divided into groups of three and each group is given a set of dominoes. Students shuffle the dominoes and deal out five each, leaving the rest in a pile face down on the table. The top domino from the pile is then placed face up. The first student puts a domino down either before or after the domino on the table, making sure the written time on one domino matches the digital clock on the other domino or vice-versa. The student then reads the time aloud to the group for confirmation. If the times don't match, the student must take back the domino. Play then passes to the next student and so on. If a player cannot put down one of their dominoes, they take a domino from the top of the pile and put it down if they can. If there are no dominoes left in the pile, play passes to the next student. The first player to get rid of all their dominoes wins the game.
 

Terry's Timetable

ESL Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 20 minutes

In this intriguing worksheet activity, students practice telling the time, time prepositions and school subjects. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Students take it in turns to ask their partner questions and complete missing subjects in Terry's school timetable. They do this by guessing which subject from the worksheet Terry studies at a particular time, e.g. 'Is the chemistry lesson at 9:30 on Monday?' When both students have finished, they check their answers by comparing timetables.
 

Time around the World

ESL Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this handy worksheet activity, students practice asking and answering questions about the time in different cities around the world. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students' task is to find out the time in cities around the world when it is 12 o'clock in London. Students take it in turns to ask their partner questions about the missing time for each city on their worksheet, e.g. 'What's the time in Singapore?' Their partner replies with the time shown on their worksheet, e.g. 'It's 8 p.m.' The student then writes the time into the table. When the students have finished, they check their answers by comparing worksheets. Next, each pair of students is given a set of questions. Working together, students read and answer the questions. When the students have finished, the answers are elicited from the class.
 

Time Bingo

ESL Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 30 minutes

In this enjoyable teaching activity, students play games of bingo using time. Each student is given a bingo card. The students draw a different time (o'clock) on each clock face on their card, e.g. one o'clock, five o'clock, etc. In the space next to each clock face, students write: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, midday or midnight. You start calling out times as numbers with a.m. and p.m., e.g. 1 a.m. If the students have a matching time on their card, they cross it off. When a student has crossed off all nine times, he or she shouts 'Bingo!' The student then reads out the nine times using o'clock and the time expression, e.g. one o'clock in the morning. If the times are correct, the student wins the round. If the student has made a mistake, the game continues. A different time is practiced in each round. For example, the next round could practice 'half past', e.g. '1:30 a.m.' and 'half past one in the morning'. That round could be followed by 'quarter past' and so on.
 

Time Expressions Survey

ESL Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 20 minutes

In this compelling activity, students find out the number of people who do an activity at a certain time by asking a question to each student in the class. Each student is given a card. Students begin by preparing the 'Do you...?' question they need to ask to find out the information on their card, e.g. 'Do you check your email in the morning?' Students then go around the class asking and answering the questions. The students keep a record of who answers 'Yes, I do' or 'No, I don't' on the back of the card. When the students have spoken to everyone in the class, they tally up the yes answers and write the number on the card. Each student then reports back their findings to the class.
 

Timetable Battleships

ESL Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this fun worksheet activity, students play a game of battleships where they try to find six English lessons in a partner's school timetable. The students are divided into pairs and each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Students begin by writing six English lessons into the empty timetable on the worksheet. Students write in one triple period (3 in a row), one double (2 in a row) and a single period. Students fill in the empty squares with other school subjects, e.g. history, chemistry, etc. The students then play a game of battleships where they take it in turns to ask their partner what they study at particular times and write the answers in their partner's timetable on the worksheet. The first person to find all six of their partner's English lessons is the winner.
 

Vocabulary Clocks

ESL Spelling and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

This imaginative teaching activity can be used to review telling the time and recently covered vocabulary. The students are divided into teams. A clock is drawn on the board and next to each number are letters of the alphabet. The first letter of the word is the hour hand and the last letter of the word is the minute hand. A word is called out and the teams race to call out the correct time. The first team to call out the correct time associated with the spelling of the word scores a point. After all the vocabulary has been reviewed, the game is reversed by calling out a time and having the students come up with a word that starts and ends with those letters. The first team to do so scores a point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

When is your birthday?

ESL Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 20 minutes

In this enjoyable activity, students practice asking and answering questions about birthdays. Each student is given a card that shows a gift-wrapped present and a label. The students write the date of their birthday on the label. The cards are then collected in and redistributed so each student has someone else's birthday on a card. The students imagine what is under the gift-wrapping of the present (e.g. a box of chocolates) and write the present on the back of the card. The students' task is to find out who their present is for and to give it to them. To do this, the students stand up and move around the class asking 'When is your birthday?' until they find the person who has the same birthday as the one shown on their card. When a student finds the owner of the card, they give it to them and explain what the present is, e.g. 'I bought you a box of chocolates. I hope you like them'. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session to find out what present each student received and if the students like their presents.
 

Alibi

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

In this challenging worksheet activity, students solve a murder mystery by carefully listening to times and looking for inconsistencies in other students' alibis. The students are told that between 4:00 and 5:00 on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Smith was murdered and that everyone is a suspect. Each student takes on the role of a murder suspect and is given a card showing their alibi at the time of the murder. The students read their alibi and memorize it. Each student is then given a copy of the worksheet. The students' task is to identify the murderer by detecting the inconsistent alibi. The students walk around asking other suspects for their alibis and noting down the information on the worksheet. The first student to identify the murderer by detecting the inconsistent alibi wins the game.
 

Find someone who...

SL Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

In this useful worksheet activity, students practice asking and answering questions about time. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by going through the items on the worksheet and forming the various yes/ no questions they need to ask in order to do the activity. Students then go around the class, asking each other the yes/no questions for the items on the worksheet, e.g. 'Is your birthday in July?' When a student finds someone who answers 'yes' to a question, the student writes down their name and asks a 'Wh' follow-up question to gain more information, noting down the answer in the last column. When everyone has finished, the students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
 

Good Times

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

In this insightful worksheet activity, students talk about personal and public celebrations they have throughout the year. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, students write down all the celebrations they have throughout the year in a monthly calendar on the worksheet and make notes on how they celebrate each one. When the students have finished, they are divided into pairs. Students then take it in turns to interview their partner about the celebrations, e.g. 'Do you celebrate anything in January?' Students also ask follow-up questions about each celebration to gain as much information as possible, e.g. 'How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?' Afterwards, the students give feedback to the class on one of their partner's celebrations.
 

Hear and Say

ESL Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 20 minutes

This fun teaching activity helps students review and practice telling the time, time prepositions and saying days, months, years, dates and other time expressions. The students are divided into groups of three and each group is given a set of cards for Game A. The student with 'start' on their card begins by saying the time expression indicated in the 'Say' column next to 'start'. The other students listen carefully and try to find the time expression in the 'Hear' column on their card. If a student sees a matching time in the 'Hear' column, they say the corresponding time expression in the 'Say' column for the other students to recognise. Students must add in any prepositions of time or articles that are necessary, e.g. the 28th of March, Monday the 6th, in 2013, etc. If they have a time, e.g. 16:45, they say the time as 'quarter to five' rather than just reading the number. Play passes from student to student until they reach the finish. When the students have finished, the cards for Game B are distributed. The groups then repeat the activity with the new game cards.
 

Years Gone By

ESL Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

Here is a fun guessing game to help older students practice past simple yes/no questions with the 'verb to be' and saying years. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Students complete sentences about life events by adding in the year that each thing happened to them. The students are then divided into pairs. Students take it in turns to read out a year at random from their worksheet. Their partner then has three chances to guess what happened in that year by asking past simple yes/no questions with the 'verb to be', e.g. 'Was that the year you had your first pet?' If their partner manages to ask the right question, the student awards them one point and writes it in the corresponding column on the worksheet. The students take it in turns to ask and answer questions until all the items have been completed. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session where the students tell the class what they found out about their partner.
 

Time Idioms

ESL Reading, Writing and Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 45 minutes

In this engaging teaching activity, students complete and match sentences that contain idioms using the word 'time'. The students are divided into pairs and each pair is given a copy of the uncut worksheet. The pairs then complete sentences that contain time idioms by writing in a blank card next to the sentence. Students are not limited to just completing the sentence. They might write two sentences if it helps to express the meaning of the idiom. When everyone has finished, the students cut the worksheet into cards. The students then shuffle their cards and swap them with another pair. The pairs of students then look at their new cards and match them together to make meaningful sentences about the idioms. When the students have finished, the pairs who wrote the sentences check that the cards have been matched correctly. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session. The pairs read each sentence in turn and the students are given the meaning of the time idiom. The class then decides on the best sentence that expresses each idiom.
 
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