Last-Minute Lifesavers: Quick Games and Activities for the EFL Classroom

By Bridge
July 27, 2016

We’ve all been there – you’ve just finished a great lesson with your EFL students, but you look up at the clock and you’ve still got 15 minutes before your class ends, and you don’t have anything else planned! Don’t panic– here are some last-minute, no-preparation-needed TEFL activities to keep up your sleeve so you can fill those final moments of class in a fun and educational way!


Students form a circle and one student starts by whispering a sentence into the ear of the student next to him. (Have students incorporate at least one new vocabulary word or the newly learned grammar structure in their sentence.) The second student then whispers the same sentence in the next student’s ear, etc. At the end, have a student say the sentence out loud and see how close (or hilariously far) it is from the original sentence!

Ball Toss

Keep an inflatable ball in your classroom (or use something else, like a balled up paper, in a pinch!). Choose a question based on the lesson/level you just taught: “Name a fruit!” after a beginner lesson, for example, or “Name a verb and its past participle!’ after an intermediate lesson. The student must answer and then toss the ball to another student to answer. Change the question mid-game. The random nature of the ball toss keeps students on their toes.

Never-Ending Story

Students form a circle (this can be the whole class or in small groups). Write a sentence that could start a story, ideally incorporating vocabulary or grammar from the day’s lesson. Give the sentence to the first student, who continues the story by writing the second sentence before she passes it to the next student, who continues. At the end of the circle, have a student read the completed story. It is sure to get a laugh!

Minimal Pairs

Use minimal pairs (words that sound similar and are often mispronounced by EFL learners) to make a list on the board. Examples: 1. very 2.berry 3. kitchen 4. chicken 5. three 6. tree 7. sixty 8. sixteen 9. sit 10. six. Students must write a number five or six digits long and then say their number using only the corresponding words. Students take turns listening and trying to guess the other student’s number.

When you’re learning about new ideas for how to teach kids english or improve your teaching, keep in mind, implementing engaging activities whether prepared or made on the fly is a great technique. You can learn how to properly prepare lesson, manage your classroom, and so much more with our Specialized Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners.

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