Verb-Noun Collocations ESL Games and Activities

Collocation Dominoes

ESL Have, Take, Go Collocations Game - Matching, Listening and Speaking Activity - Beginner (A1) - 20 minutes

In this verb-noun collocations game, students play dominoes by making present simple sentences with have, take and go collocations. The first player makes a verb-noun collocation by placing one of their dominoes at either end of the domino on the table. If the player successfully makes a verb-noun collocation, they say a true present simple sentence with the collocation, e.g. 'I have a shower every morning'. The other group members judge the player's sentence. If the sentence is grammatically correct, the student leaves the domino where it is. If the sentence is wrong, the player picks up the domino and keeps it. The next player then tries to put down one of their dominoes at either end of the domino chain and so on. The first player to get rid of all their dominoes wins the game.
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Collocation Challenge

ESL Verb-Noun Collocations Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 30 minutes

This fun verb-noun collocations board game helps students to practice verb-noun collocations with have, take, break, do, catch and make. The first student then picks up a card and reads the gap-fill sentence on the card to the other students, e.g. 'If you're sick, you should BLANK some medicine'. The other students then race to repeat the sentence back to the reader, adding in the correct verb to complete the verb-noun collocation in the sentence. The first student to complete the sentence correctly wins, e.g. 'If you're sick, you should take some medicine'. The winner then rolls the dice and moves their counter along the board accordingly. The card is then removed from the game, and it's the next student's turn to pick up a card. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
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Unique Nouns

ESL Verb-Noun Collocations Game - Writing and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 35 minutes

This creative verb-noun collocations game helps students practice using a variety of different nouns with transitive verbs. Begin by assigning the class a transitive verb, e.g. play. Working in teams, students choose two nouns that can be used with the verb to make a collocation, such as 'play the trombone' and 'play snooker'. Teams should try to think of nouns that they think other teams won't choose. The teams then write a sentence that illustrates each verb-noun collocation, e.g. 'I play the trombone in the school band'. Next, a student from each team writes their sentences on the board and reads them out. Teams score one point for each grammatically correct sentence that includes a unique noun that no other team has used. In other words, if two teams use 'play football', those teams don't score a point for that sentence. To increase the difficulty and encourage the students' creativity, you can make a list of nouns that are not allowed. For each round, assign a different transitive verb and have a different student from each team write their sentences on the board. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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