“It is in games that many men discover their paradise.” Robert Wilson Lynd

If not paradise but much fun, great emotions, and a friendly atmosphere are discovered by playing games during the lessons. Games help not only students but also teachers to unwind and stay focused during a long academic class. Nowadays it is not a problem to find a handful of fun games to add relaxation moments in lessons. Many colleagues of ours share their ideas on the Internet. I also would like to write about my favourite games which make my students engaged in lessons and not to lose concentration. What is more, these games can be easily played in online lessons. 

  • 3 rounds

In offline lessons: 

This game easily helps to brush up the vocabulary learned before. It is played in groups of 3 or 4 students or even in pairs (depending on the number of students in your class). Firstly, you should prepare a pack of cards for each group with words, phrases, collocations on each card from previous lessons. Then you give the pack with words to each team and ask to shuffle the cards and put them faced down. After that you can explain the rules: there are 3 rounds of the game. 

  1. A student in a team takes a card and explains the written word. Turn by turn they have to explain all words. The faster, the better. The team which finishes first gets the highest points 
  2. A student picks a card and comes up with some association of the written word. They are allowed to say only one association. The team which finishes with the association of all the cards are winners in this round and gets the points. 
  3. The third round is about miming. A student takes a card with a word and mimes the word. No words are allowed, only movements. The winner is the team that finishes miming all cards. 

In the end, you count all points and announce the winner. As a finishing step, a writing task might be given to students. For example, writing a story using all the words from the game. This will make students remember the phrases for a long time. 

In online lessons: Send the list of words individually to every student in chat.  Ask all students to turn on their cameras. 

  • Corrupt a wish 

In offline lessons: 

This game may be used as a Warm-up or after explaining the topic “Conditionals”, “I wish” to make students use grammar structures in speech. First of all, students are asked to write down any 5 wishes using the structure I wish. For instance:

I wish I had long hair.

I wish my friend bought a plane.

I wish I lived in London. 

I wish I had a million dollars. 

I wish the bus tickets were cheaper. 

Secondly, you divide your students into pairs and ask them to corrupt each other’s wishes, i.e. try to find disadvantages of a partner’s wish using Second Conditional. An example:

Student A: I wish I had long hair. (just reading his\her wish)

Student B: If you had long hair, you would need more time to wash it. (corrupting the wish)

Students actually can continue the discussion and also revise agreeing\disagreeing. You may set the time limit per wish corruption to work on fluency as well. 

In online lessons: Ask students to write the wishes on the interactive whiteboard (IDroo, Twiddla,  Zoom has an integral whiteboard). If you are using Zoom, use Breakout Rooms to divide students into pairs.  

  • Association game 

In offline and online lessons: 

I usually use this game as a Warm-up to revise the vocabulary from previous lessons but it also be used as a vocabulary game to remember the words better. You need to write random topics (choosing randomly from the learned ones) on the board and ask each student to write 3 associations with the topic (the number of associations may vary according to the students’ level and the time you have for an activity). So, it might be 3-5 blocks of phrases. After writing down the words, students are divided into pairs and they should explain the association and a partner has to guess the word and the topic. You may also encourage students to guess why this word is in this topic by making some comments about the partner’s interests, background, activities, stories. Therefore, students will be engaged in a mini-dialogue which will show how well they know each other. At the end of the game, we can conclude that how well students have learned the phrases and known each other. This is the team spirit. 


possible topic: Technology

possible associations \vocabulary from lessons: state-of-the-art, breakthrough, old-hat. 

possible topic: Food

possible associations \vocabulary from lessons: mouth-watering, hangry, oven. 


Student A: It is a person whose hometown is Malaga and he was one of the pioneers of a new movement in a certain area. He is famous for his works and also relationships with women. 

Student B: Is it Picasso? And topic Art?

Student A: Yes, that’s correct.

Students B: I guess you have mentioned him because you love painting and visited Madrid 3 months ago. 

Student A: Well, you got it just right!

In online lessons: Write the topics and associations in chat, Google Docs or on the interactive whiteboard (IDroo, Twiddla,  Zoom has an integral whiteboard).

Try these games out during the lessons and it will show your students that learning is not only about reading, listening and speaking but also about playing.

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