Published 7th June 2016


Because who has time to prep for everything? Because you’re probably too busy river rafting in Chiang Mai or wine tasting in Italy to spend all your free time planning lessons, here we give you 5 activities you can have in your back pocket for those moments when you just haven’t had time to think of something yourself.

Make a word

Write a word on the board related to the topic of the day. In groups, students must try to make as many words as possible using the letters of the word. To maximise this activity, choose a relatively long word – or even a phrase. Bonus points can be given for the longest and most interesting word.

For example:

Given word: globalisation





What do you know about…

Using the topic of the day or the theme of the week, ask the students what they know about it. This activity is best used at the beginning of a lesson.

For example, if the theme of the coursebook unit is the environment, you can ask:

What do you know about the weather in this country?

What do you know about hurricanes?

What do you know about natural disasters?

Name 10

Choose a category and in groups, students must come up with 10 people/places/things that correspond to that category. This game can be used at any time to pass some time or to give the students a bit of a break between activities. It doesn’t have to be based on any specific topic.

For example:

Name 10 jobs where you have to wear a uniform.

Name 10 people who have won an Academy Award.

Name 10 sports that are played with a ball.

20 Questions

Each student must choose a person, place or thing and write it on a piece of paper. Taking turns, the class must ask questions to find out what they have chosen. The catch: the questions can only be yes/no questions and they only have 20 questions. This can be done as a class or in groups or pairs.

Famous Names

Similar to 20 questions, this requires about 1 minute of preparation. For each student, write down the name of a celebrity on a piece of paper. Give the papers to the students upside-down – they mustn’t see who they are. At the same time, the students lift up the papers to their foreheads so that everyone else can see who they are but they cannot. Now the students must ask each other questions about themselves to find out who they are. Again, these can only be yes/no questions. To make it interesting, use a range of famous people – dead, alive, real, cartoon, fictional, sports stars, actors, businessmen.

You’re welcome!