Used to ESL Games, Activities and Worksheets

Blast from the Past

ESL Used to Game - Grammar and Speaking: Forming Sentences, Impromptu Speech - Group Work - Intermediate (B1) - 20 minutes

In this free used to game, students talk about how things were different in the past using used to and didn't use to. In the game, students have 30 seconds to talk about a topic. For each sentence they make with used to and didn't use to during that time, they score one point. Students take it in turns to pick up a card (e.g. computers) and talk about the topic on the card, saying how the thing was different in the past, e.g. 'Computers used to have floppy disks. The monitors didn't use to be flat like they are today, etc…' When a group member is talking, the other students are responsible for timing the speaker and awarding points. For every sentence with used to and didn't use to the student makes, they score one point. The student with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. Afterwards, have a class feedback session to discuss how each thing was different in the past using the target language.
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Did you use to...?

ESL Used to Activity - Grammar and Speaking: Survey, Writing Questions from Prompts, Asking and Answering Questions, Freer Practice - Intermediate (B1) - 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. First, 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 report back their findings to the class.
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Growing Up

ESL Used to Board Game - Grammar and Speaking: Answering Questions, Guided Discussions, Communicative Practice - Group Work - Intermediate (B1) - 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. 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.
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Memories

ESL Used to Game - Grammar and Speaking: Writing, Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Freer Practice - Pair Work - 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. In pairs, students look at 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. Students then write a true short answer for each sentence in bold at the bottom of the worksheet. Afterwards, 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. 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 and so on. The student with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
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My Childhood

ESL Used to Game - Grammar and Speaking: Writing True or False Sentences, Asking and Answering Questions, Guessing - Pair Work - Intermediate (B1) - 35 minutes

In this entertaining used to game, students give true and false information about their childhood. 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. Students then 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 decide if 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, they score a point. Students then swap roles. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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People used to...

ESL Used to Guessing Game - Grammar and Vocabulary: Sentence Completion, Forming Sentences from Prompts, Guessing, Controlled and Freer Practice - Group and Pair Work - 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. In two groups, students complete sentences about what people used to do and didn't use to do before the invention of each item on their worksheet. Next, students pair up with someone from the other group. 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.
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Then and Now

ESL Used to Activity - Grammar and Speaking: Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Freer Practice - Pair Work - Intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

In this used to vs. present simple activity, students ask and answer questions about the way things used to be when they were 12 and the way things are now. Students start by thinking back to when they were 12 years old. 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. Next, in pairs, students 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. Finally, students tell the class about how their partner has changed.
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Used To Practice

ESL Used To Worksheet - Grammar Exercises: Unscrambling, Rewriting Sentences, Gap-fill, Writing Questions from Prompts - Speaking: Freer Practice - Pair Work - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this used to worksheet, students practice forms of used to in affirmative and negative statements, and Wh questions. 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. Finally, students ask and answer the questions with a partner.
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Life Changes

ESL Used to Activity - Grammar and Speaking: Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Guided Discussions, Freer Practice - Pair Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

This used to speaking 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. First, students answer questions on their worksheet by writing short answers in a random order in speech bubbles. Next, students exchange worksheets with a partner. 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 on holiday? The student replies yes or no accordingly. When a student asks the right question, their partner explains their answer. After the answer has been explained and discussed, the student puts a tick next to the bubble and 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.
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Looking back

ESL Used to Activity - Grammar and Speaking: Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Guided Discussions, Freer Practice - Pair Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 35 minutes

In this insightful used to activity, students practice expressions with used to and would by talking about past habits and memories. 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. Next, students swap worksheets with a 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. 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.
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Recent Changes

ESL Used to Game - Grammar: Sentence Completion, Reading Sentences, Guessing - Group and Pair Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 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... 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. In two groups, students complete the sentences in a way that is appropriate for each situation. Next, students pair up with someone from the other group and 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.
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Usually, Used to, Get used to

ESL Used to Board Game - Grammar and Speaking: Asking and Answering Questions from Prompts, Freer Practice - Pair Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 25 minutes

Here is a used to board game to help students ask and answer questions about things they usually do, used to do, or could/couldn’t get used to doing. In pairs, students take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a student lands on a square, they form 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 moves back two squares. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
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What's changed?

ESL Used to and Would Game - Grammar and Speaking: Forming Sentences, Guessing - Group Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this engaging used to and would game, students describe and guess changes that have happened using used to, didn't use to, getting used to, would and wouldn't. Each card shows a change that has happened in the student's life. The students' task is to form sentences that demonstrate that change using used to, didn’t use to, getting used to, would and wouldn’t. Students take it in turns to choose one of their cards and make sentences, describing the change on the card using forms of used to and would. 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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