Check out the first part of our series of ESL activities, approved by the TtMadrid TEFL team. Not only will your students love them and learn a ton but they will make your classes even more dynamic and fun.

  1. ESL Activity: Do As I Say Not As I do

Do As I Say Not As I Do

Level: A2

Group size: Any

Time: 5-10 minutes

Instructions: This fun activity gets your students to practice their listening skills. Give instructions for students to touch parts of the body from your verbal directions (not visual directions!). Give the first example by saying ‘Touch your nose’ and touching your nose at the same time. Go through a few more body parts so they get used to the rhythm.

Then switch it up by telling them to touch their elbow but touching your nose at the same time. Praise the students who followed your words rather than your actions. In order to boost STT, get different students to lead each round. Pro tip: write the prompt ‘Touch your…’ on the board so students can reference it if they get stuck.

  1. Activity: Guess the Rule

Know the rules

Level: B1 & up

Group size: Any

Time: 10 mins

Instructions: NO prep needed! The idea is to create a rule such as each word must have be an uncountable noun, it must begin with a vowel etc.

For this example, our rule will be that each word must have a double letter.

Teacher: ‘I´m going on a picnic and I´m bringing ‘butter’.

Student A: ‘Can I bring salad?’

Teacher: ‘No, you can’t’

Student B: ‘Can I bring spaghetti?’

Teacher: ‘Yes, you can.’

Continue on until the students are able to guess the rule! If they struggle, keep giving your own examples.



  1. Activity: Show Me the Money!

show me the money



Level: Any

Group size: min. 4 students

Time: 6-8 minutes

Preparation: Write your target language on one side of flashcards and on the other side an amount of money.  Pick a few cards and write either ‘Bankrupt’ or ‘Donation’ instead of an amount of money. Stick the cards on the board  with the TL facing out.

Instructions: This great warmer works with grammar and vocab at any level! In groups of 2-3, students will take turns choosing a card and using the TL on that card in the correct context. If they use it correctly, they are awarded the amount on the back of the card. If the card says bankrupt, their total is erased to 0 and if it says donation, all of their money goes to the other team. The team with the most amount of money at the end wins.



  1. Activity: Get up, Get active

get up,get active

Level: A2

Group size: Any

Time: 5-8 minutes

Instructions: One student begins to perform an action, for example brushing their teeth. The second asks, “What are you doing?” The first student must say something unrelated to the action they are performing, for example, “I’m riding a bike”. The second student must act out what the first student says. The first student steps to the side and a new student comes up. The next student asks “What are you doing?” The second student now says a different action (ex: “I’m washing my dog”) and the new student now must act that out. Encourage students to get creative! Continue until all students have had a turn. This game is also great in pairs!


  1. Activity: Word Search

word search

Level: Any

Group size: 1 to 1, 2 to 1 or Group

Time: 7-10 minutes

Preparation: Use an online word search generator to create a word search with your target vocabulary for your class. For example:

Instructions:  Instead of listing the words, write the definitions and students must use them as clues to find the words. For A1’s & A2’s, adapt by using pictures instead.

Don’t miss a thing and make sure you check in every Wednesday for our new blog posts. If you liked this article, we recommend you read our post on Five Fabulous ESL Websites to Help Inspire your Next Class.