Classroom GAMES with very young learners

21 Sep


As I already mentioned in a previous post, I keep most of my university classnotes and I often check them to come up with new ideas or refresh them. I’m very happy not to be one of those people who feel like they didn’t learn anything at all at university 🙂

This time, I would like to share with you some games that you can play with your preschoolers when teaching English. They are very simple and short games, but very effective! Little children need clear instructions to feel confident when doing the task they have been asked to do.

Here there are 10 classroom games that I was told at Didactics class:

1. Follow the leader: Get the children to stand in a line behind you. Say e.g.Walk … now jump! Move round the classroom and the children follow imitating everything you do.

2. Maracas: Say We’re … , name an animal and clap your hands or shake a maracas. Children pretend to be the animal you name and move around the classroom. As soon as you stop clapping or shaking the maracas, children stop and freeze.

3. Colour dice: Make two large dice by covering two boxes with paper and colouring a circle of red, yellow or blue on each side. Children take turns to throw the dice and call out the colour. When the colours on both dice are the same, everyone claps.

4. Changing places: Children sit in a circle. Go round the circle and give each child a name e.g. apple, banana, biscuit, sandwich etc.. Say one of the names. Children with that name respond by exchanging places with another child in the circle with the same name.

5. Pass the secret: Children sit in a circle. Whisper a word to one child e.g. Mouse! That child whispers the word to the child next to them and so on round the group. The last child says the word that they have heard.

6. Listen and count: Clap, nod, or stamp your feet one, two or three times. Children repeat the action and call out the number.

7. Musical bumps: Play any music and children dance. Every so often pause the music and say a colour e.g.Red! Children with red on their clothes sit on the floor. Repeat the procedure several times naming different colours the children know.

8. Smiley or sad: Put a picture of a smiley face on one side of the classroom and a sad face on the other. Say e.g. I like bananas! Children repeat the sentence and go to the smiley face if they like bananas. They say nothing and go to the sad face side if they don’t like bananas. Repeat the procedure naming different foods or other familiar vocabulary.

9. Louder and softer: Children say a rhyme or sing a song they know in a whisper. Raise your hands to indicate they should say/sing it loudly; lower you hands to indicate that they should say/sing it softly. Use your hands to vary the volume with increasing frequency as the children become familiar with the game.

10. Circles in the air: Move your index finger in large circles in the air and get the children to do the same. Say e.g. Touch your ….nose! and move your finger to touch your nose. Repeat the procedure several times alternating instructions for children to touch different parts of their body and to repeat the word each time.


–> Remember not to play the same game for a long period of time, otherwise they get bored and lose their interest. It is better to have a couple of games ready and change them as soon as you see they lose their interest. Keeping them amused and interested is the best way to have their attention and motivation switched on!


7 Responses to “Classroom GAMES with very young learners”

  1. hashipower September 21, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    adorable! thank you!

    • laiaprincep September 21, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      you’re more than welcome 🙂

  2. thinkingpaco September 21, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Good to know you learnt at uni, me too actually but I constantly hear people saying they just memorised for exams and once they’ve passed they forget everything.
    These games are very good, I’ve used some of them in my classes too and I find them very interesting, but I will give them another try, I’m in need of resources for this new course. Thanx.

    • laiaprincep September 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      Oh, I didn’t have many exams at uni, we mostly had practical sessions with real situations and were given lots of useful tips and resources. we were assessed by having to plan lessons and creating our own materials 🙂
      Sure, I like exchanging ideas with other teachers!

      • thinkingpaco September 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

        That’s great actually, I still wonder whether the exams are that important really or if by other methods you learn better

  3. English in Llebetx School September 21, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. Just in a moment I was planning my infant classes. Some of the games I already knew but Feeling very blank it got me thinking and I van adapt these games very nicely to my class. the musical bumps game can be replaced by crossing the river when I say a colour you are wearing. The teacher is a crocodile who tries to catch them especially if you dont’t have any musical aparatus eg in the playground. But I like this sitting down version because the “Crossing the river” can be too lively with some groups!

    • laiaprincep September 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      You’re welcome! And thank you for sharing your version of the game 😀

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