I use games and fun activities to warm up my class before the lesson begins, to break the ice or even as a time filler. Warmers bring energy to class and definitely fills the time with more learning when the lesson runs shorter than expected.

Below are some of the games that I have been using in my ESL class. I decided to make them available for free again so I hope you would find them useful in your class.

Vocabulary BINGO

This is a quick, no-prep vocabulary review game. Use the PowerPoint to show the winning pattern for the round. Students can make the grid and write the vocabulary words on their notebook or you may use the BINGO card template.

Disappearing Words

In this simple activity, students are shown a word, phrase or sentence that disappears in 2 seconds! They need to remember what they saw and write them down on a mini-whiteboard or paper. The fastest team to show the correct answer wins the round.

Game Type: Individual, Team



Give Me 5!

The teacher calls out a student to give 5 things on a given category in 30 seconds! This is a good activity for reviewing vocabulary.

Game Type: Individual

Word Snake

Each team makes a line near the board, then one student per team comes up to the white board and writes a word. The next student has to use the last letter of the word on the board to make another word. At the end of the game, the team with the longest word snake with all the words joined up wins the game.

Game Type: Team

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: No-prep ESL Vocabulary Games for Young Learners

Hidden Pictures

The teacher slowly removes the squares while students take turn guessing what is the picture hidden behind it. The student who guesses the right word wins the game.

Game Type: Individual

Hot Seat

One student will help the person in the “hot seat” to guess the secret image behind him/her before the time runs out! This is a classic way to develop word association and description.

Game Type: Pair, Team

Categories Guessing Game

This is like a Hot Seat 2.0 game where the person in the hot seat has to guess what’s behind him. This time however, they need to guess as many words as they can from a chosen category within a limited period of time! Fun right?!

Game Type: Pair, Group

I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S.

Students are shown different pictures and they need to take the first letter from each picture to form the mystery word. This is a fun activity that tests students vocabulary!

Game Type: Individual, Team



Pelmanism

This is a matching type activity where each team is given a set of cards. Students spread out the cards on the table face down and take turns picking up a card and finding its pair.

Game Type: Team

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Sleeping Pandas

Students form a group of four and number themselves from 1-4. Students will all “sleep” by putting their heads down. When they hear the teacher calls their own number, they will “wake up” and have to remember what they see. After 4 rounds, everyone “wakes up” and puts the word or sentence together.

Game Type: Team

Visual Puzzles

In this simple game, students will guess the mystery word based on two or three pictures. The pictures are the clue to the puzzle so the students must be able to identify them first, then combine the words to get the answer. For example, the pictures of an “ice” and a letter “T” will create the word “iced tea” if combined.

Game Type: Individual, Team

Running Dictation

This is a classic pair work where one student is the runner and the other is the writer. The runner reads the sentence posted in the classroom walls and runs back to the writer and dictate the message. This is a really fun and loud activity that students will enjoy!

Game Type: Pair

Brain Teasers

ESL Warm Up Activities

Break the ice with these funny brain teasers for kids and all ages! You can also use this as a warm up for a full lesson or maybe to fill in the remaining time at the end of class. Brain teasers are good to stimulate students to think quick and critically!

Game Type: Individual, Team



Tongue Twisters

A tongue twister is a series of words or sounds that are usually repetitive and are difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly. Most English language teachers use tongue twisters to develop the students pronunciation and accent. Sometimes, we use tongue twisters just for the sheer fun of doing it. I often get my students to memorize this and ask them to say it out loud in class as a group and in pairs.

Check back again later for updates and more freebies!

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ESL Warm Up Activities

Let me know in the comments what you think about these activities!

Author: Melchor Bernardo

Students call me Teacher Mel. After quitting law school, I moved to Vietnam to be with my first love – teaching English! This website is a bit of a copy of my teaching styles and philosophy. I live by the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

28 comments on “ESL Warm Up Activities with PowerPoint Download

  1. Lucia Bartolotti on said:

    Thank you for the fantastic games!

  2. Shahd on said:

    Very nice and useful I need more please? 🙂

  3. Liudmyla on said:

    Fantastic! THX!

  4. Wonderful!Helps a lot. And everything free???

  5. wow. You did a very outstanding job with all these excellent games and activities. However as i noticed, most of the suggested games are basically designed to focus on the vocab revision. Could you kindly recommend some other interesting games/activities for grammar focus and speaking practice in class? I totally run out of ideas for these and would appreciate your help by the way. Thanks

    • Thank you for leaving a compliment Phoebe! Currently I am only assigned to teach vocabulary so most of my uploads are vocab games! But definitely will try to post games and activities for grammar SOON! 🙂

  6. thank you for the games

  7. Edison Topón on said:

    These games are very funny thanks for uploading them free to see them made me want to practice them a lot.

  8. Many of the activities on this website are a great way to encourage students before a class which makes them more eager to continue learning in this area as beautiful as English, thanks for creating this educational space.

  9. These games are very funny thanks for uploading them free to see them made me want to practice them a lot.

  10. Claudia Castellanos on said:

    Hello! I have to say you thanks a lot. These resourses are very interesting. Thank you so much. You are a marvelous person. These are grateful strategies. Thanks at all.

  11. Luminita Tiuliuliuc Ex Balica on said:

    I really like the I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S. activity as it develops imagination and trains vocabulary!

  12. i’ve just downloaded most of the files…i’m sure they’ll be helpful…briefly, i can’t thank you enough for ur kindness and help

  13. It is very interesting this activity since we can put it into practice before a class begins many thanks teacher beautiful activity ❤

  14. Jesenia Patin on said:

    This site is very interesting because there are much more fun games than today

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