Onomatopoeia ESL Games, Worksheets and Activities

What makes this sound?

ESL Onomatopoeia Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this free onomatopoeia game, students guess what makes the sound of different onomatopoeic words while attempting to bluff their classmates with false answers. Give each group of three a set of cards and a pen and paper for keeping score. Ask the students to shuffle the cards and deal them out evenly. Each card shows an onomatopoeic word in bold, a correct answer in bold and an incorrect answer. Without showing the group members, students add one more realistic incorrect answer to each of their cards to try to trick the other students. When the students have finished, they take it in turns to read their cards to the group. The student reads the onomatopoeic word and three possible answers for what makes that sound. The other group members then take it in turns to guess which answer is correct. Afterwards, the student reveals the correct answer. If a group member guessed correctly, they score a point. The card is then set aside. The game continues until all the cards have been read out and guessed. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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Introduction to Onomatopoeia

ESL Onomatopoeia Worksheet - Reading, Matching, Writing and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

This onomatopoeia worksheet helps students learn about onomatopoeia and practice onomatopoeic sounds commonly used in English. Give each student a copy of the two-page worksheet. To begin, students match sentence halves together and underline the onomatopoeia word in each sentence. Next, the students put the onomatopoeia they underlined into the correct categories. After that, the students pair up with a partner. The students talk about and write down sounds people, animals and things make in their own language. When the students have finished, review their answers as a class, noting any similarities or differences. The students then move on to read clues and complete a crossword with onomatopoeia from Exercise A. Afterwards, in pairs, the students think of two things that make each of the noises shown and write them down. In the last exercise, the pairs discuss their favourite onomatopoeic sounds and the sounds that annoy them the most.
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What's the Sound?

ESL Onomatopoeia game - Reading, Listening, Matching and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this engaging onomatopoeia game, students race to complete sentences with onomatopoeia words often used in the English language. Divide the students into groups of three. One student is the 'reader' and is given a set of sentence cards. The reader shuffles the cards and places them face down in a pile on the desk. The other two students are 'players' and are given a set of onomatopoeia word cards each. Each player shuffles their cards and spreads them out face up on the desk in front of them. The reader turns over the top card from the pile and reads the sentence aloud to the players using the word 'blank' for the missing onomatopoeia word. The players listen and then race to grab the correct onomatopoeia word card to complete the sentence. The first player to grab the correct onomatopoeia word card from their set and give it to the reader, saying the sound at the same time wins and keeps the two cards. The correct answer is shown for the reader on the sentence card. If neither player gives the right answer, the sentence card is placed at the bottom of the pile to be used again later in the game. The game continues until there are no more sentence cards left. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins. Afterwards, students can repeat the game with a different student reading the sentence cards.
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