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Quick, five-minute games are a fun way to either begin or end a lesson. At the beginning of a class, they can establish a positive atmosphere. At the end, they can send the kids off feeling excited about their English lesson.

The best "quickie game" is one that doesn't require much preparation or special materials. Here are some of my favorites from the Gogo Loves English Teacher's Books:

  • Whisper down the alley
    Divide the students into equal teams and have each team form a line facing the front of the room. Go to the student at the front of each line and whisper a word or sentence. When the teacher says Go! the student at the front of each row turns around and whispers the word/sentence to the next person in line. Then that student passes the word on to the next student and so on. As soon as the word/sentence reaches the last student in line, he/she races to the front to repeat the word/sentence to the teacher. The first team to finish is the winner.
    Variation: In a small class, have the students stand in a circle. The last person to hear the word/sentence then repeats what he/she hears out loud.
  • Feet writing
    Demonstrate this activity first. Clear a space at the front of the classroom so all students can see the floor. Ask students What letter is this? Then walk in the shape of a letter of the alphabet. The students guess, e.g. It's an S! It's an A!, etc. Then ask a volunteer to come to the front of the room and walk in the shape of another letter for the rest of the students to guess.
  • Things in the classroom
    This game can be used to review adjectives, comparatives and superlatives. Put Ss into small groups. Each group chooses an item in the classroom to describe. Then each person in the group makes up a sentence about the item, e.g. It's (smaller) than a desk. It's (blue). It's the (biggest) thing on the bookshelf., etc. When groups are ready, they take turns saying their sentences. The rest of the class tries to guess the item by asking questions, e.g. Is it the dictionary? Is it the box?
    Variation: Students can describe people instead of objects, e.g. His/her hair is shorter than (S1's name)'s hair. His/her bag is bigger than (S1's name)'s bag., etc.
  • Who's talking?
    After students have learned several different question-and-answer exchanges, put them into pairs and have them create their own exchanges. Then, invite two or three pairs to stand at the front of the class. The rest of the students put their heads down on their desks so they cannot see. The teacher points to one pair at the front. The two students perform their exchange. They can perform it any way they choose: disguising their voices, speaking slowly or quickly, etc. When they are finished, the other students raise their heads and try to guess which pair performed the exchange.
  • Air drawing
    Demonstrate this game first. Draw an animal in the air with your index finger. The students watch carefully and try to guess which animal it is, e.g. Is it a (whale)? The first student to guess correctly then takes a turn at the front to draw an animal for the other students to guess.
  • Read my lips
    Choose several words or sentences and review them with your students. Then the teacher mouths one of the words or sentences without sound. The teacher asks the students What am I saying? The students try to guess the word/sentence. Then have students take turns standing at the front of the room and mouthing words/sentences for the rest of the class to guess.
  • Fruit basket
    This is a great game to review sets of words, such as colors, animals, fruit, numbers, clothing, etc. Have the students sit in a circle. Assign each student a word. Start with only two or three words, e.g. "apple", "banana" and "peach". Then the teacher stands in the middle and calls out one of the words, e.g. Banana! All the students with that word get up and run to exchange places in the circle. At the same time, the teacher runs to take a seat, so that one student is left standing. Then that student stands in the middle, calls out one of the words and tries to take a seat as the other students run to change places. Once in a while, the person in the middle calls out Fruit basket! Then everyone in the circle runs to change places.
  • Who's the biggest?
    This game reviews superlatives. Invite three students to stand at the front of the room. The teacher tells the three students Make yourselves big. I want to see who is the biggest. The students can try to make themselves look big by standing on their tiptoes, reaching their arms out, etc. Then the teacher asks the class Who's the biggest, (S1's name), (S2's name) or (S3's name)? Have the class vote. Then the teacher asks three new students to stand at the front and make themselves as small as possible. Have the class vote on which student is the smallest. Continue the game with other words, e.g. "tallest", "shortest", "happiest", "oldest", "fastest", etc.

You can also use these games as a break between reading or writing activities, as quick way to refocus students who are getting restless or as a reward for good behavior.

Do you have a favorite quickie game to share? Visit our Guestbook and tell us about it! We'll put the best ideas in our Activity bank.

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