10 Online Games for ESL Class

Teaching online does not mean that class cannot be started with a warm-up activity. This is even more so for teachers who are suffering to present hybrid classes, with one half of the students in the class and the other half at home in front of a computer. Using online games is essential to get the remote students actively involved while keeping those in the classroom interested. The following warm-up exercises are easy and effective to use.

Baamboozle

10 Online Games for ESL Class with Baamboozle

Baamboozle is a website where teachers can create their own fun, classroom games. It’s almost like a game show where the students get to pick their answers.

Baamboozle Game Show

Simon Says

“Simon says: “Vacuum the floor!” “Simon says: “Hop on one foot. Wiggle your fingers!” If they follow the second command without “Simon says” they lose a point. Review the questions at the end.

1. Simon Says – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/147648

Simon Says

Run around the house

Play Scavenger Hunt to find things in their homes. “Find something you can bake with…” “Show me some breakfast food/ fruit…” “Find something that is long…” The students run and show

Students run around trying to find the items. It’s a good way to get them engaged and excited for the class. Once they find something they can tell the class about it. Another similar warm-up exercise you can employ is to tell the students to do a show-n-tell at the start of class. This way they get a chance to share their lives with their classmates.

2. Run Around the House – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/118394

Scavenger Hunt

Stop the Bus, a.k.a. Scattergories

Students each take out a piece of paper. Show them a letter and some categories they have to write words with starting with the given letter.

For example, they get the letter “I” – now they have to write down a boy’s name starting with that letter, an animal, a company. This is really fun to help them think and improves their vocabulary. You can also pair them up with a partner to do it together. Students often prefer doing these types of games because it is more enjoyable and they don’t have to carry the burden alone.

  • A.k.a. or aka is an abbreviation for ‘also known as‘. It especially used when referring to a nickname or stage name.

3. Stop the Bus – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/147623

Scattergories

Let’s move

Give them activities they have to do behind their desks: “Do five push-ups! Do ten jumping jacks! Dance like a robot!” All these activities get the students moving and that increase of blood flow releases endorphins which makes them feel good. Take that energy and refocus it on the following class activities and learning you have planned.

4. Let’s Move! – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/113178

Let’s move!

Password

Break the class into teams. Each team picks a member to close their eyes. While their eyes are closed, show the two teams a different picture. Then, when they open their eyes, each team gets a chance to say one word that is related to that secret word. The previously blindfolded member has a chance to guess the word. They continue until one of the teams get it right, they receive a point and they pick a new member to be blindfolded.

You can continue until each team member had a chance.

5. Password – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/147612

Password

Odd one out

Show students a list of words with four words in each category. They have to say which word does not match the others and give a valid reason. It does not matter what reason they give, as long as it is valid.

Let them discuss it in their groups. Afterwards let each group give feedback on what they chose and why. It helps them practice explaining themselves.

Here are some examples:

  1. blue – pink park black – __________________
  2. apples – bananas oranges chairs – __________________
  3. postman  – doctor hospital secretary – ________________
  4. hungry – tired happy friend – _____________________
  5. Friday – Sunday March Wednesday – _______________
  6. seven – first eight twenty – __________________
  7. German – Russia England Scotland – _______________
  8. February – November Monday July – __________________
  9. tree – fridge table bed – ________________
  10. salad – carrot tomato cucumber – _______________
  11. second – third nine twelfth – ________________
  12. orange – cherry potato kiwi – ________________
  13. good – nice bad friendly – __________________
  14. sister – niece father aunt – __________________
  15. grandfather – aunt nephew brother – ____________
  16. windy – sunny clock freezing – ________________
  17. football – tennis music judo –  _____________
  18. red  – jump read write – ________________
  19. my – our she your – _______________
  20. skirt – shirt shoe smart – _________________
  21. car – dog camel horse – __________________
  22. arm – knee finger know – ___________________
  23. taxi – bus underground stop – ______________
  24. ice-cream – cake chips biscuits – __________________
  25. bed  – kitchen bathroom hall –    _______________
  26. cartoon –  comedy musical office – ______________
  27. long – short old door – ______________________
  28. telephone – computer radio lamp – _______________
  29. week – fever headache flu – ____________________
  30. teddy bear – ball doll backpack – ____________

6. Odd One Out – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/8943

Box of lies

One student looks at an image. Then they have a choice; they have to describe the image to the class, or they can describe something completely different. Don’t let them only change it only a little bit, it has to be completely different from the image shown to them.

After they have given their description of the image or fake image, the class gets to decide if the student is lying, or telling the truth. If they guess correctly, they get a point. If the student deceives them, the student gets a point.

Remember to award points to individual learners instead of the class as a whole.

7. Box of Lies – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/147712

Box of Lies

Emotions

Show a student a picture of an emotion. They then have to act it out to the other students who have to guess what emotion is that they are miming. The students send you private messages through the platform (if it is Zoom or another online platform). Once they get it right you can tell each specific learner that they get a point. Do this until all the students have either guessed correctly or have exhausted their ideas.

8. Emotions – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/38385

Emotions

Taboo

A student looks away and the rest of the class looks at a picture. They then have to explain it without using some of the taboo words that have been added next to it.

It could be something like this: Banana -Fruit Yellow Monkey Winter – Season Cold Snow

9. Taboo – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/147784

Taboo

Art Challenge

Students have to try and copy a drawing. The student who makes the best copy gets a point. It’s important to allow the students some breaks in between heavy learning sessions to recover and refocus. Fun brain breaks like these can really help them enjoy their online classes more.

All these games are found on the Baamboozle website. Here are all the links to the 10 games used in the video:

10. Art Challenge – https://www.baamboozle.com/game/115748

Can you draw?

Conclusion

Playing online games with students is made much easier by a site like Baamboozle. Play some of these games in class to improve student engagement and learning.

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