Published 8th November 2018

games in the EFL Classroom

As EFL teachers, one of our responsibilities is to ensure our students have fun in the classroom. We can all agree that our students need to enjoy our lessons in order to stay motivated to come to class, participate, do their homework and engage with the language as much as possible. Of course it’s not all fun and games in the EFL classroom but we try to make it as enjoyable as we can!

One sure way to bring fun into your lessons is to regularly play games. Games in the EFL classroom may seem childish, but they can work for students of all ages. And you don’t even need any special resources. All you need is a ball! Here are a few of our favourite ball games which can be used in the EFL classroom to practise a range of different language skills and structures.

5 Ball Games in the EFL Classroom

Brainstorming games in the EFL Classroom

This can be a fun way to start a lesson or a new topic. The teacher tells the students what the topic of the lesson is and throws the ball to a student. This student contributes a word or phrase which relates to that topic and then throws the ball to another student who does the same. One ball can be used or two (or three!) to make the activity faster and more fun.


The same activity as for brainstorming can function as a drilling exercise. In this case, it won’t be done at the beginning of the lesson but after the presentation of a certain language structure. It can provide a welcome change to the usual predictable drilling chants.

Short-answer questions

Throwing a ball is an easy way to practise short-answer questions. You can either use one ball with the whole class or divide the class into groups, each with their own ball. One student asks a question – What is your name? – and throws the ball. Whoever catches the ball must answer the question and ask it again – My name is Tracy. What is your name?

Vocabulary revision games in the EFL Classroom

Ball games are a great way to quickly and effectively do vocabulary revision. The teacher throws the ball to a student and names a category, whatever needs to be revised – colours, for example. The student who catches the ball must name a colour and throw the ball to another student. This student must also name a colour but cannot name the same one i.e. every student must give a new colour. A student who hesitates too long or makes a mistake must sit out a round and take the place of the next student who is out.

Flashcard revision games in the EFL Classroom

Instead of throwing a ball around a circle, the students can throw a ball at a flashcard stuck to the board. This works well as a team game with two teams and two balls. The teacher asks a question or provides a description of a word and two students from each team must throw the ball at the correct flashcard on the board. The first person to hit the right answer gets a point for their team.

Now you have 5 ideas for ball games in the EFL classroom.  So next time you teach why not introduce these ball games in the EFL classroom.