Used to ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Did you use to...?

ESL Used to Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 40 minutes

In this engaging 'used to' activity, students conduct a survey to find out what their classmates' lives were like as a child by asking and answering 'Did you use to...?' questions. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. Students complete the worksheet with a 'Did you use to…?' question for each category. For example, in the games category a student might write 'Did you use to play hide and seek as a child?' When everybody has finished, students go around the class, asking each other their questions and noting down the answers by putting a tick for yes and a cross for no in the appropriate column on the worksheet. When the students have finished, they summarize and report back their findings to the class.
 

Growing Up Board Game

ESL Used to Board Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this free 'used to' board game, students practice 'used to' and the past simple by discussing and answering questions about childhood memories. It is ideal for teenagers and adults. This game also provides students with a great opportunity to practice building a conversation about growing up. Give each group of three or four a copy of the game board, a dice and counters. The players take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a player lands on a square, the student on their right asks the player the question on the square about their experience of growing up. The player then uses 'used to' and the past simple to answer the question. The group then explores the topic by asking follow-up questions and giving comments. The first student to reach the finish square wins the game.
 

Then and Now

ESL Used to Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 40 minutes

In this 'used to' activity, students ask and answer questions about the way things used to be when they were 12 and the way things are now using 'used to' and the present simple. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by thinking back to when they were 12 years old. The students use 'used to' to write answers to questions about their past habits, routines and states under the heading 'When I was 12 years old'. When the students have done that, they write answers under the heading 'Now', but this time they use the present simple to talk about present habits, routines and states. When the students have completed both sets of answers, divide them into pairs. The students then take it in turns to ask and answer questions about the way things used to be when they were 12 and the way things are now by referring to the information on their worksheet. When the students have finished, they tell the class about how their partner has changed.
 

Used To Worksheet

ESL Used To Worksheet - Reading and Writing Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this 'used to' worksheet, students practice forms of 'used to' in affirmative and negative statements, and 'Wh' questions. Give each student a copy of the two-page worksheet. To begin, students reorder words to make sentences with 'used to'. Students then move on to rewrite past simple sentences using 'used to'. Next, students use verbs from a box to write negative 'didn't use to' sentences. In the last exercise, students use words to make 'Wh' questions with 'did you use to'. After the questions have been checked, divide the students into pairs and have them ask and answer the questions with their partner.
 
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Used To Interactive Worksheet

ESL Used To Interactive Worksheet - Online Reading and Writing Exercises - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

This is an interactive PDF version of the above worksheet for people who teach English online. In the interactive worksheet, students complete a variety of online exercises to practice forms of 'used to' in affirmative and negative statements, and 'Wh' questions.
 

Blast from the Past

ESL Used to Activity - Speaking - Low intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this free 'used to' activity, students play a game where they talk about how things were different in the past using 'used to' and 'didn’t use to'. Give each group of three a set of topic cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. The students then take it in turns to pick up a card and talk about the topic on the card, saying how the thing was different in the past using 'used to' and 'didn’t use to'. The students must talk about each topic for a minimum of 30 seconds. Each time a student makes a sentence with 'used to' or 'didn’t use to', they score one point. For example, if the topic was computers, a student might say, "Computers used to have floppy disks. The monitors didn’t use to be slim and flat like they are today, etc…" When a member of the group is talking, the other students time the speaker and award points. The student with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session to discuss how each thing was different in the past using the target language.
 

My Childhood

ESL Used to Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Low intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this entertaining 'used to' activity, students play a guessing game where they give true and false information about their childhood. Divide the students into two groups (A and B) and give each student a corresponding worksheet. The students' task is to answer each prompt on their worksheet with true or false information as indicated. Working alone, students write their answers in sentence form using 'used to'. When the students have finished writing, they pair up with someone from the other group. Student A goes first and tells Student B their first answer, e.g. 'I used to love playing chess when I was a child'. Student B then asks follow-up questions to help them decided the answer is real or invented. Student B then guesses if Student A is lying or telling the truth and the correct answer is revealed. If Student B guesses correctly, he or she wins a point. The students then swap roles. This continues back and forth until all the answers have been revealed. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

People used to...

ESL Used to Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Low intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

In this rewarding 'used to' activity, students play a guessing game where they talk about what people used to do and didn't use to do before certain inventions existed. Divide the students into two groups (A and B) and give each student a corresponding worksheet. The students work together with the people in their group and complete sentences about what people used to do and didn't use to do before the invention of each item on their worksheet. When the students have finished, they pair up with someone from the other group. The students then take it in turns to read their sentences to their partner, without saying the underlined invention. Instead, students use the word 'blank' as the missing word in the sentence, e.g. 'Before the invention of the 'blank', people used to...' Their partner then tries to guess the invention. For each correct guess, students score a point. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Life Changes

ESL Used to Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

This 'used to' activity is ideal for practicing or reviewing the various forms of 'used to', e.g. get used to, getting used to, etc. In the activity, students ask and answer questions about the past and present using the various forms. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students answer questions on their worksheet by writing short answers in a random order in speech bubbles. When the students have finished, divide them into pairs and have them exchange worksheets. Students then take it in turns to choose an answer from one of their partner's speech bubbles and ask them questions to find out what the answer refers to. For example, if a student wrote the word 'beach' in one of the speech bubbles, their partner might ask 'Did you use to go to the beach all the time?' 'Did you use to go to the beach on holiday?, etc…' The student replies yes or no accordingly. When a student asks the right question, their partner explains their answer, e.g. 'Yes, I did. I used to live near a beach when I was younger. I used to play on the beach after school with my friends, etc.' After the answer has been explained and discussed, the student puts a tick next to the bubble and the students swap roles. At the end of the activity, students report back to the class on the most interesting things they found out about their partner.
 

Memories

ESL Used to Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 45 minutes

In this 'used to' game, students ask and answer 'Did you use to...?' questions about past habits and memories. The aim of the game is to ask the right questions. Divide the students into pairs and give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students look at the sentences in bold on the worksheet and write a 'Did you use to...?' question for each one to ask about their partner's past habits and memories. The students then write a true short answer for each sentence in bold at the bottom of the worksheet. Afterwards, the students take it in turns to ask and answer the questions they have prepared. For each sentence, students ask their partner up to three questions. The students begin by asking the question they have written. Students then use the structure of the question to come up with two more questions if need be. If the first question is correct, the student scores three points. If the second question is right, the student scores two points. If their third question is right, the student gets one point. If none of the questions are right, their partner reveals the correct answer. The student with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
 

Recent Changes

ESL Used to Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this free 'used to' activity, students play a guessing game where they talk about recent changes in their lives using 'I used to...', 'I didn't use to...' and 'I'm getting used to...' Divide the students into two groups (A and B) and give each student a corresponding worksheet. The worksheet shows recent changes in the student's life. The students' task is to write sentences about what they used to do, didn't use to do, and what they are getting used to, regarding each situation. Working with the people in their group, the students complete the sentences in a way that is appropriate for each situation. When the students have finished writing, they pair up with someone from the other group. The students then take it in turns to read out the three sentences for each situation. Their partner has three chances to guess the situation. For each correct guess, students score a point. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 

Usually, Used to, Get used to - Board Game

ESL Used to Board Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

Here is a fun 'used to' board game to help students practice asking and answering questions about things they usually do, used to do, or could/couldn’t get used to doing. Give each pair of students a copy of the game board, a dice and two counters. The students place their counters on the start square. The students then take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a student lands on a square, the student forms a question from the prompt on the square with either 'Do you usually...?', 'Did you use to...?' or 'Do you think you could get used to...?' The student then asks the question to their partner who answers accordingly. If the question is formed correctly, the student stays on the square. If not, the student goes back to their previous square. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
 

Looking back

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

In this insightful 'used to' teaching activity, students practice expressions with 'used to' by talking about past habits and memories. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by writing true short answers for the items on the worksheet in a random order in the speech bubbles, e.g. I used to be really into it - skateboarding. When the students have finished, divide them into pairs and have the students swap worksheets with their partner. Students then take it in turns to choose an answer from one of their partner's speech bubbles and ask them to talk about it, e.g. 'Tell me about skateboarding'. Their partner uses the expression with 'used to' to talk about the topic, e.g. 'I used to be really into skateboarding. I would go to the skate park every day and practice for hours'. The student then asks follow-up questions and the pair develops a short conversation about the topic, e.g. 'Why did you stop skateboarding?' After their partner has explained the answer and it's been discussed, the student puts a tick next to the speech bubble and the students swap roles. At the end of the activity, the students report back to the class on the most interesting things they found out about their partner.
 

What's changed?

ESL Used to Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this entertaining 'used to' activity, students play a card game where they describe changes that have happened in their lives using used to, didn't use to, getting used to, would and wouldn't. Give each group of four a set of cards, which they shuffle and deal out equally. Each card shows a change that has happened in the student's life. The students' task is to think of sentences that demonstrate that change using used to, didn’t use to, getting used to, would and wouldn’t. When the students are ready, they begin the game. Students take it in turns to choose one of their cards and make sentences, describing the change on the card using would(n't) and the various forms of 'used to'. The other students listen and try to guess the change. The first student to guess correctly wins the card. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 
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