Present Continuous ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Present Continuous Sentence Scramble

ESL Present Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing and Matching - Beginner (A1) - 25 minutes

In this present continuous teaching activity, students complete and match sentence parts together to form 15 present continuous sentences. Give each pair of students a set of long cards and short cards. The students spread out the long cards face up on the table and shuffle the short cards, placing them face down in a pile. The students then complete the gaps on the long cards in the present continuous tense by writing the correct form of the verb 'to be' and the -ing form of the verb in brackets, e.g. 'I am eating...' When the students have completed all the cards, they turn over the short cards and match them with the long cards to make 15 present continuous sentences. Students may find that some cards go with more than one sentence part. However, the students need to form 15 correct sentences so they should make logical connections between the words, e.g. drawing / a picture, watching / television, etc. When the students have matched all the cards together, review the correct answers with the class by having pairs read out their sentences. Pairs score one point for each correctly completed gap-fill and one point for each correct sentence. The pair with the most points wins.
 

Fun Memory Game

ESL Present Continuous Game - Matching and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

Here is a fun free present continuous game to play in class. Give each pair of students a set of picture cards. The students shuffle the cards and spread them out face down on the desk. The students then play a pelmanism game where they take it in turns to turn over picture cards and make sentences in the present continuous about what's happening in the pictures. The aim of the game is to find matching pairs of cards. The first student turns over a card and makes a present continuous sentence about the picture, e.g. 'He's riding a bicycle'. The student then turns over another card. If the activity on the second card matches with the first card, the student makes a present continuous sentence about the second picture, e.g. 'She's riding a bicycle'. The student then keeps the pair of cards and has another turn. If the two cards don't match, the student turns them back over, keeping them in the same place. The other student then turns over a card and so on. This continues until all the cards have been matched. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
 

Get the Picture

ESL Present Continuous Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this engaging present continuous activity, students play a card game where they ask and answer present continuous yes/no questions, and make present continuous negative statements. Divide the students into groups of four. Give each student a game board and give each group a set of picture cards. The students shuffle the picture cards and place them face down in a pile. The aim of the game is to be the first player to match all the pictures on their game board with picture cards from the pile. The first player begins by taking the top picture card from the pile, without showing it to anyone. The player then says three things that aren’t happening in the picture by making three negative present continuous statements with the corresponding subject pronoun from the picture, e.g. 'He isn't studying'. 'He isn't walking a dog'. 'He isn't playing tennis'. The other players then ask present continuous yes/no questions to find out if the picture matches with one on their board, e.g. 'Is he surfing?' The player, who receives the 'yes' response, takes the picture card and places it on the matching picture on their board. Then, the next player picks up a picture card and so on. The first player to complete their board with matching pictures wins the game.
 

Guess Who

ESL Present Continuous Activity - Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this present continuous worksheet activity, students play a guessing game where they use present continuous yes/no questions to guess who a partner is thinking about. Divide the students into pairs and give each student a copy of the worksheet. One student goes first and starts thinking about one of the people on the worksheet. Their partner's task is to find out who the student is thinking about by asking present continuous yes/no questions with 'Is he...?' The student starts by asking about what the person is doing, e.g. 'Is he watching TV?' 'Is he listening to music?' Etc. Once the student knows what the person is doing, they move on to ask about what the person is wearing, e.g. 'Is he wearing a T-shirt?' The student can ask up to five questions and then must guess who the person is. If the student guesses correctly, they score a point and cross the person off the worksheet. If not, the student who is thinking of the person scores a point and the person from the worksheet isn't crossed off. The students then swap roles. This continues until all the people have been crossed off the worksheet. The student with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
 

Positives and Negatives

ESL Present Continuous Worksheet - Reading and Writing Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this free present continuous worksheet activity, students use 20 verbs to complete positive and negative present continuous sentences. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. Students begin by finding 20 verbs in a word search and writing them in the spaces provided on the worksheet. After that, the students use the verbs to complete ten present continuous sentences. The first part of each sentence is negative and the second part is positive. When the students have finished, check the answers with the class.
 

Present Continuous Illustrations

ESL Present Continuous Game - Drawing and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this amusing present continuous game, students guess sentences from drawings. All the sentences are present continuous affirmative sentences beginning with 'He/She is...' or 'They are...' Divide the students into two teams (A and B). One student from Team A comes up to the board. Give the student a present continuous sentence card. The student then draws the sentence on the board. The student is not allowed to speak or write anything. Team A then has one minute to try to guess the sentence. Teams must guess the exact words on the card to win. If Team A hasn't guessed correctly after one minute, Team B can try to answer. The first student to say the sentence on the card scores a point for their team. Then, a student from Team B comes to the board and so on. The game continues with teams taking it in turns to draw sentences until all the cards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Present Continuous Practice

ESL Present Continuous Worksheet - Reading, Writing and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 60 minutes

Here is a useful present continuous worksheet for elementary students. Give each student a copy of the two-page worksheet. Students begin by reading how to use the present continuous tense and reviewing the structure. Students then read a set of situations and write down what they would say in the present continuous. After that, students complete a set of voice mail messages by writing verbs in brackets in the present continuous. Students then write their own message about what is happening in the class right now. To finish off, students play a guessing game where they draw present continuous sentences on the board for other students to guess.
 

What are they doing?

ESL Present Continuous Worksheet - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

This present continuous worksheet is ideal for teaching students how to ask what people are doing and reply using the present continuous tense. To begin, the students are presented with twelve pictures of people doing everyday activities. The students write present continuous sentences, describing what the people in the pictures are doing. After that, the students work with a partner and practice asking and answering questions about what the people in the pictures are doing. Finally, students take it in turns to ask and answer questions about what other people in the class are doing.
 

What's happening?

ESL Present Continuous Board Game - Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

Here is a useful present continuous board game for elementary students. Give each pair of students a copy of the game board, a dice and counters. Students take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a student lands on a picture square, their partner asks them a question about what is happening in the picture, e.g. 'What is the boy doing?' The student answers the question by making a present continuous sentence, e.g. 'He is eating a pizza'. If the student does this successfully, they stay on the square. If the student makes a grammar mistake or can't think of what to say, they go back to their previous square. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
 

Guess what I'm doing

ESL Present Continuous Game - Miming and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

This free present continuous game can be used with pre-intermediate students. The aim of the game is for the students in the teams to guess present continuous sentences from mimes. All the sentences are present continuous affirmative sentences beginning with 'You are...' Divide the students into two teams. One team goes first and chooses a team member to do the first mime. The chosen student comes to the front of the class and is given a present continuous sentence card. The student asks the class 'What am I doing?' and then does the mime on the card. When a member on either team thinks they know what the student is doing, they call out their answer by making a present continuous sentence. Team members must say the exact words on the mime card to win. The first student to guess the sentence scores a point for their team. Then, a student from the other team comes to the front of the class and so on. The game continues with teams taking it in turns to mime a sentence until all the cards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Man on the Roof

ESL Present Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

In this intriguing present continuous activity, students write present continuous sentences in English and their native language and then try to find matching translations that other students have written. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. Ask the students to imagine that there is a man on the roof. The students then write ten reasons why he is on the roof in the present continuous tense on their worksheet, e.g. 'He is repairing a broken TV antenna'. The students write the first sentence in English. The second sentence is in the student's native language. The third is in English, and so on. When the students have finished writing, they cut their sentences into strips. The students' task is to find accurate translations or semi-translations of what they have written. The students move around the classroom reading their sentences to each other. When two students find they have an accurate translation or semi-translation of a sentence, they write the other student's name down on the strip. The student with the most accurate translations or semi-translations wins. Afterwards, the students go through the present continuous sentences and matching translations as a class and discuss any differences in meaning.
 

Present Continuous Party

ESL Present Continuous Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2)- 35 minutes

In this present continuous activity, students assume the identity of someone at a party and talk about their current activities. Divide the students into groups of eight and give each student a role card. The students begin by answering questions on their card about what they are doing at the party and how they are feeling using the present continuous. When the students have completed their role cards, give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students then walk around and speak to the other partygoers in their group. The students ask each other the questions from the role card and write the answers down in a chart on their worksheet using the third person singular. When everyone has finished, students report back to the class on the people they met at the party.
 

Present Continuous Sketches

ESL Present Continuous Game - Reading, Drawing and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

Here is an entertaining present continuous game to help students practice present continuous yes/no questions and short answers. Divide the students into groups of four and then split each group into two teams of two (Team A and B). Give each team 15 present continuous sentence cards. The teams draw a picture on each card, according to the present continuous sentence shown on the card. When they have drawn all the pictures, teams take it in turns to guess what the other team has drawn on one of their cards. Team A chooses one of their picture cards and tells Team B who is in the picture, e.g. 'It is a picture of a woman'. Team B then asks present continuous yes/no questions to determine what is happening in the picture, e.g. 'Is she moving?' 'Is she watching something?' Team A replies with short answers as appropriate. If Team B successfully guesses what is happening in the picture, they score one point. If not, Team A is awarded with the point. The teams then swap roles. This continues until all the cards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. You can add in more game elements by limiting the number of questions and having the teams say the present continuous sentence for an extra point when they have guessed what is happening in the picture.
 

Present Continuous Taboo

ESL Present Continuous Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

In this lively free present continuous activity, students play a game of Taboo where they describe present continuous sentences. The aim of the game is for a player to get his or her teammates to say a present continuous sentence on a card, but the player cannot say the sentence or use the three words on the card. Divide the class into two teams (A and B). One player from Team A comes to the front of the class and is given a taboo card. The player then tries to describe the present continuous sentence to their team, without saying the sentence or using the three words on the card. If Team A successfully guesses the sentence within two minutes, they score a point. If they are unsuccessful, Team B has one chance to guess the sentence and steal the point. Then, a player from Team B comes to the front and is given a card and so on. Teams continue taking it in turns to play until all the cards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Present Continuous Worksheet

ESL Present Continuous Worksheet - Reading and Writing Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

This present continuous worksheet helps students learn how the present continuous tense is used to describe temporary situations, unfinished actions happening now and future plans. Give each student a copy of the two-page worksheet. Students begin by completing sentences with the present continuous form of the verbs in brackets. Students then sort the sentences into columns, according to what each sentence describes. Next, students match the sentences with corresponding pictures. After that, students unscramble present continuous sentences. Lastly, students create true present continuous sentences about themselves to describe the three uses of the present continuous. Afterwards, check the students' sentences together as a class.
 

Right or Wrong?

ESL Present Continuous Board Game - Reading, Writing and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 50 minutes

In this rewarding present continuous activity, students play a board game where they try to recognize errors in present continuous affirmative and negative sentences. Divide the students into groups of four and give each student a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, the students write six present continuous affirmative and negative sentences. Three sentences must be grammatically correct and three must contain errors. The four students then put their sentences together to come up with a definitive set of 24 sentences, marked right or wrong. Students then regroup. A pair from one group joins with a pair from another group to make two opposing pairs (teams). Each pair of opposing teams is given a copy of the game board, four counters and a dice. The students put their counters on square number one. The first student to throw a six wins the chance for their team to play first. A player from the winning team throws the dice and moves their counter along the board. The opposing team then reads one of their present continuous sentences and the player guesses whether it’s right or wrong, without any help from their teammate. If the player guesses correctly, they stay on the square. If they guess incorrectly, they go back to their previous square. The second player from the same team then has a turn, followed by the players from the opposing team, and so on. The first team to have both players finish wins the game.
 

Where are we?

ESL Present Continuous Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

In this fun present continuous activity, students write clues to describe what is happening in a particular place. Their classmates then listen to the clues and try to guess where they are. Divide the students into groups of ten and give each student a card. The students then write clues in the present continuous tense to describe what's happening in the place on their card. The first clue they write is the most difficult to guess and as they write the other clues they gradually make them easier. Students complete the fourth clue, which is the easiest to guess by putting the verb in the present continuous, and adding the correct form of the verb 'to be'. When the students have finished, they take it in turns to read their clues to the group. The other students listen and try to guess where they are. The first student in the group to guess the place wins and keeps the card. If a student shouts out a wrong answer, they are out of that round. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 

What are you usually doing at...?

ESL Present Continuous Board Game - Speaking Activity - Low intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this engaging present continuous activity, students play a board game where they describe what they are usually doing at certain times. Give each group of three or four a copy of the game board, a dice and counters. Students take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a student lands on a square, the person to their right asks them a 'What are you usually doing at...?' question using the time in the square, e.g. 'What are you usually doing at 7:30 a.m.?' The student then uses the present continuous to describe what they are usually doing at that time of day, e.g. 'At 7:30 a.m., I'm usually having a shower'. If a student can’t think of anything to say, repeats a previous sentence or makes a grammar mistake, they must go back to their previous square. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
 
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