ESL Speaking Games


Are you seeking for a solution to give your English as a Second Language (ESL) pupils more assurance and confidence when speaking English? Do you want to make them like and be interested in studying English? ESL activities are the ideal remedy if this is the case. Students may practice their English conversational skills in an engaging and dynamic manner with the use of these recreations. They support student cooperation and creativity in addition to assisting with speaking confidence. Your students may learn English in a fun and engaging way while honing their communication skills by using ESL speaking activities. Discover how these games can help your ESL class by reading on!


ESL recreations are an effective way to improve English language fluency and communication skills.

  • Engage students in interactive activities that promote talk.
  • Encourage students to practice their pronunciation and intonation.
  • Help build confidence in speaking English with peers.

ESL speaking activities can be fun, educational, and help create a positive learning environment!

Are you looking for some activities that can help at the ESL level?

Do you teach for ESL or TEFL and want some helpful recreations?

Are you facing challenges with your ESL/TEFL students and want some effective talk games?

If you are looking for activities that can help spark dialogue especially for ESL or TEFL, then this article today can help you do just that.

We are taking a closer look at the challenges you may face with your students, and how using discussion recreations in class can help both teacher and student. We are also sharing 7 such effective games that will encompass every level of learning and help you communicate more effectively and positively with your students.

7 ESL Speaking Activities Speaking Activities For Language Learners That Work (FOR EVERY LEVEL)

Option #1: Show and Tell

Ask students to bring an object to class the next day that they need to speak about. In most cases, students will end up bringing something that holds some special meaning for them. This can be a good way to let each student come up and talk about the object and what it means to them, as well as add more details.

  • Other students can also ask the particular student various questions about the object.
  • You could set a target for the students to ask each student questions so that there are 10 pointers for each object that has been brought to class.
  • Once they are comfortable with this, you can give them each an object in a next class and let them speak about it and repeat the process.

Option #2: Who’s Telling the Truth

Divide the class into small groups of 3-4 students. Now give the same topic to each group that the students can talk about. For instance, something such as ‘My best birthday party ever’ or ‘One time I really felt scared’ and so on.

  • All students have to prepare a story based on the topic and choose one from all in the group that they will tell.
  • Each student in the group has to learn this story in detail.
  • Now one by one, each student tells the same story and tries to make it sound real.
  • Students have to ask questions and identify who is telling the truth.

Option #3: Taboo

In this activity, one player gets a card that has 4 words in it. The first word in the list is supposed to be the secret word. The other three words will be some of the most obvious words that can be used to describe the first word.

  • The student with the card has to try and describe the first word so that others can guess it right.
  • But the catch is that he/she cannot use the other three words in the list.

Option #4: Alibi

This recreation is especially good for speaking practice. You have to tell students about a crime that has happened. You can choose to give it a local flavour by mentioning names of places they know. For instance, you can say ‘last so-and-so night between _ and , someone broke into the showroom on _ street. ’.

  • Divide the class into groups with 1 suspect and the rest police in each group.
  • Tell the class the names of students who are ‘suspects.’
  • Suspects then go out and plan all details of what to tell the police during questioning.
  • Each suspect goes individually to each police group for questioning.
  • Police have to match the answers and see if the alibis are strong or not.

Option #5: Find Someone Who

Prepare a sheet of points such as ‘someone who has an elder brother’, ‘someone who watches TV at night’, ‘someone who loves this celebrity’ and so on.

  • Mix up points in such a way that there is a good match of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers.
  • Each student has to take this sheet and go to each other to find out the yes and no.

Option #6: Question of the Week

Select one day each week when you will give the class a question that they have to discuss in class.

  • You can modify this as per the age of your students.
  • For instance, in one class, students can debate for and against the question.
  • In another, they can share their own experiences about the question of the week.

Option #7: 2 Truths and 1 Lie

This game is also known as call my bluff. It is good for all age-groups but is best for slightly older kids. Start by writing 3 sentences on the board, 2 true and 1 lie. Tell your students to ask about each sentence and guess which 2 are true and which 1 is false.

  • Whoever guesses right wins.
  • This activity will encourage students to come up with sentences that can help them reach the answer they are looking for.
  • Once done, ask them to take turns to write 3 sentences on the board, 2 true and 1 lie, and repeat the process.

What is TEFL?

The term TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TEFL teachers have to teach English as a foreign language in a country where it’s not the main or first language.

What is ESL?

The term ESL stands for English as a Second Language. ESL teachers have to teach English to students in the United States whose main language is not English.

What are some challenges that TEFL teachers and ESL language learners face?

TEFL and ESL teachers and students face various challenges such as:

  • Less number of instructors available.
  • Teaching the course within a stipulated time.
  • Teaching students who may not know the language at all.
  • Difference in language proficiency amongst students in same class.
  • Not enough resources.
  • Lack of proper support and guidance.
  • Gelling in with a different or foreign teaching pattern.

How can ESL speaking activities help?

Chat recreations can help especially when you:

  • Are working with children who are learning a new language.
  • Want them to open up to you.
  • Don’t have all the resources you need, but can still play a recreation.
  • Want children to remember things by understanding rather than by rote.

How speaking games that work make learning easier and fun for ESL/TEFL students

Here are 5 benefits of using activities in the classroom:

Conversation recreations can be extremely fun, helpful and effective as a teaching tool for ESL or TEFL teachers because of some very simple but important reasons:

  1. Speaking with your students in a game mode helps them interact better and can be more effective than just plain reading the language.
  2. Real interaction and speaking makes it easier for children to pick up the language.
  3. Teaching English or any other language in a play mode can help people overcome the language barrier and become less conscious while speaking.
  4. Playing language-based games makes children more confident because they are less scared of making mistakes as compared to making mistakes when they try and speak a new language.
  5. Activities help children retain knowledge easily which means they will remember more of what you teach as you play, as compared to what you teach through regular teaching methods.

The best part about using talk recreations for teaching ESL/TEFL is that you can use them for different age groups and in different scenarios, even as the fun and learning stays the same.


4 Fun and Engaging ESL Speaking Activities

  1. Play a activity of Telephone to practice pronunciation and listening skills. Have students sit in a circle and whisper a phrase or sentence to the person next to them. The phrase should be passed around the circle until it reaches the last person, who must then say what they heard out loud. This is a great way to practice pronunciation and listening skills.
  2. Create an interactive story with your students. Have each student take turns adding one sentence at a time to create an ongoing story. This is a great way for students to practice their speaking skills while also having fun.
  3. Play I Spy with your students. Have one student pick an object in the room and describe it without saying its name. The other students must guess what the object is by asking questions about it. This is a great way for students to practice their speaking skills while also having fun.
  4. Play Charades with your students. Divide your class into two teams and have each team take turns acting out words or phrases without speaking them aloud. This is a great way for students to practice their speaking skills while also having fun.

ALSO: Try out creating your own variations of these games with your own creative rules!

Additional Useful Information For Readers

These interactive activities are a fantastic approach for English language learners to practice their conversational abilities. These exercises not only provide students a chance to work on their vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, but they also promote teamwork and creativity. ESL students can have fun while learning about effective interpersonal communication with the correct activity. "Telephone" is one of the most well-known of these recreations. In order to begin this recreation, one student whispers a word or sentence into the ear of the individual sitting next to them. Then, until it reaches the person at the end of the line, that person whispers what they heard into their ear, and that person says what they heard aloud. The original wording is frequently very different from the final statement! Students can improve their listening comprehension and sentence and phrase accuracy by playing this game. The activity "storytelling" is another well-known one in English. In this exercise, the students alternate adding.

Usage Ideas: What Are They Effective for?

There are three main uses for these games: first, they're a terrific way to hone and polish your English-speaking abilities. Students can expand their vocabulary, perfect their pronunciation, and improve their conversational English skills by playing these activities. Second, they give students a fun, relaxed setting in which to practice their language abilities, which also helps pupils gain confidence while speaking. Last but not least, you can utilize these recreations to review lessons you've already learned in class. This guarantees that pupils retain the material better and helps to reinforce previously learnt topics. With all these applications, it is clear why recreation activities like these continue to be well-liked by both teachers and students.

Drawbacks: What To Watch Out For

There are a lot of advantages to playing these engaging games in the classroom, but there are also some negatives to take into account. First off, the teacher must spend a lot of time and effort planning these exercises. They must not only design the game but also make sure that each student is aware of the rules and goals before playing. These activities can also turn chaotic and ineffective if they are not adequately controlled since kids may become overexcited or distracted by their peers. Before beginning any activity, teachers should prepare in advance and establish clear expectations for their pupils to help mitigate these problems. Additionally, they should give the activity structure by designating roles or duties for each kid so that everyone is actively involved. Additionally, using shorter activities with simpler rules may be advantageous for teachers since this will keep students' attention on learning rather than just having fun.

How Are They Measured Up Against Other Alternative Activities?

The most crucial quantitative variables to consider when assessing these engaging gaming activities are how entertaining they are for the students, how well they support language acquisition, and how well they enable students to hone their speaking abilities. The length of time students spend playing the recreation and their level of passion throughout play are two indicators of engagement. Examining a student's progress in terms of vocabulary and grammar usage can be used to gauge language learning. Finally, how much more confident and at ease with speaking English after playing the game can be used to gauge how well the activity helped pupils practice speaking.

Usage Experience: What To Know

These fun activities are a wonderful way to engage students and get them enthusiastic about studying English. They give pupils a chance to improve their grammar and pronunciation as well as their speaking confidence. These recreations come in a wide variety of forms, from straightforward word games to more intricate role-playing activities. The recreations Charades, Pictionary, Taboo, and Telephone are a few well-known examples. These exercises can be performed in small groups or with the entire class and can be adjusted to suit any level of English competence. They can also be customized to focus on particular themes or subjects that you want your students to focus on during the session. Your pupils will have fun while honing their language abilities with the help of these engaging gaming activities!

The basic guidelines for using these types of games are as follows: First, pick a recreation that suits the skill level and preferences of your students. Next, make sure everyone is aware of the game's rules by thoroughly explaining them. Third, supply any equipment required for the activity, like cards or dice. Fourth, have the terminology that will be used in the recreation practiced with your students. Fifth, start having fun while encouraging your kids to use their newly acquired language abilities. After the game is over, go over what you learned. You can utilize speaking activities to help your ESOL students learn English in an interesting and fun way by following these simple steps.

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