Mustache Smash – A great game for Reading, Listening & Speaking

Mustache Smash is an absolutely awesome way to practice Reading, Listening & Speaking in your ESL or EFL classroom.   It's very similar to the classic game Hammers , however Mustache Smash requires a little more space  and a timer.  In  case you haven't noticed, we love using timers in our games.  A timer instantly adds an extra layer of difficulty that we've seen help students get over any shyness they may be feeling time and time again.

The Details About Mustache Hammer Smash:

  • The only materials required to play this game are the plungers from the game Mustache Smash.  You can find the game on Amazon with a quick search. quick search.  If you're in a pinch and can't wait for the game to be delivered, you can easily substitute the plungers with a plastic hammers, stuffed toys or even just get your students to use their hands.
  • In this example we're using our LEEP Cards to teach the alphabet.  You can download a set of LEEP Cards Here.  If you can't find any toy hammers you can just use your hands instead.
  • This game works best with lower level students about 10  and younger,  
  • A game of Mustache Smash takes between 5 and 10 minutes.

In this example we are teaching the Phonetic Alphabet as our topic.  And "Ah Ah Apple" as our Target Language.

Here's How To Play Mustache Hammer Smash

1) Pre-teach the vocabulary cards. For this lesson it’s assumed the children have already learned the phonetics sounds of A, B, and C.

2) Give Mustache plungers to all of your students.

3) Put all of your vocabulary cards in a circle on the floor .

4) Ask your students to stand up and walk around the circle.

5) Set a random timer. 

6) Say the phonic sound associated with a letter. “ah-ah-apple”.

7) When the timer goes off the first student to hit the correct card with their Mustache Plunger gets a point.  The plunger makes it easy to tell who wins because their card will be stuck to their plunger.

6) Repeat.

Mustache Hammer Smash

  • ​It's about as simple as a classroom game can get.
  • It's very adaptable and will work with almost any lower level topic and/or target language.
  • It works!

How to have an alphabet board game with LEEP Racemats

This alphabet board game is a great way to make learning to read phonetically a little more fun for teachers and students a like.  This is one of many ways we use our LEEP Racemats but as you can see in the video, not only do I play this game with students, I've also used it to teach my own children.

The Details About The Alphabet Board Game:

In this example we are teaching Phonics as our topic.  And modeling proper phonetic pronunciation for our students.


  • ​​Ah ah apple, b b belly, etc

Here's How To Have An Alphabet Board Game

  1. Before playing I like to warm my students up by using the LEEP Racemat to sing the ABC Song with Alphabet Sounds.
  2. Have each player pick a small toy to use as their game piece.  
  3. Decide if you want to play on the upper or lowercase race track.  I usually recommend the lowercase letters because they are much more common in everyday reading.
  4. Tell your students that if you flip a coin and it lands on heads players get move one space.  If the coin lands on tails players move two spaces.
  5. As a player moves space to space they MUST say each letter's correct phonetic pronunciation followed by it's hinto word.  E.g. C c caterpillar, d d don't.
  6. Make sure you are modeling each letter for your students and repeating any pronunciation problems.
  7. The first player to make it all the way from A - Z wins.
  8. After completing one round, if your students are still engaged, switch which version of the alphabet you are using (e.g. Lowercase to Uppercase) and repeat.

Alphabet Board Game:

  • circle
    It's a great way to make learning to read interactive and fun.
  • circle
    It's one of our favorite ways to use the LEEP Racemat.
  • circle
    It's extremly easy to play and kids love it!

Have fun in class!

How To Use LEEP Placemats To Teach Children To Read

When our students are just beginning to learn how to read we like to introduce the letters of the alphabet using a LEEP  Placemat.  The LEEP Alphabet placemats are a really effective tool for easing children int reading and building up a sense of familiarization with each letter. 

Two of the most important aspects of reading are frequency and exposure.  So using a LEEP Placemat opens up at least 3 opportunities per day to learn phonics; breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Placemat is however in means confined to the table.  It's a great tool for learning The ABC Song with Alphabet Sounds and playing any number of phonic related games.

The Details About LEEP Placemats:

  • They come in 11 different styles.
  • The feature all 26 LEEP Letters with pronunciation hints.  ( A looks like an Apple)
  • Some styles combine numbers, shapes and/or pictures.
  • We recommend printing the LEEP Placemats on large paper (A3 size) and laminating them right away so that you can reuse them for years to come.

In this example we show you how you can use the LEEP Placemat to play "Where is it?" with learners from the ages of 1 and up.  Because the child in the video is a baby,we've kept the game extremely simple and use a lot of positive re-enforcement.

How to use a LEEP Placemat to play Where is it?

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3 Card Hold’em is an easy vocabulary review you can use directly after teaching new words.

3 Card Hold'em is a fun and easy way to get your class using newly learned vocabulary and target language right away! It's extremely simple to use and 3 Card Hold’em is guaranteed to be fun for your whole ESL/EFL class.

The Details About 3 Card Hold'em:

  • 3 card hold’em is vocabulary review.
  • The only materials required are some vocabulary cards.
  • I usually teach 7 cards at a time using the 2-1-0 method. You can easily play 7 rounds of this game within 2-3 minutes.

In this example we are teaching School Supplies as our topic.  And "Do you have a book?" as our Target Language.

Here's How To Play 3 Card Hold'em

  1. After pre-teaching 7 vocabulary cards using the 2-1-0 technique, secretly select 3 of cards.
  2. Place the remaining cards face down on the table so your students can’t see what it is.
  3. Fan the 3 cards out in front of you. Your students should not be able to see the images or words on the cards.
  4. Point to one card and ask, “What do I have?”.  Next, model the response you’re looking for “ Do you have a pencil? “ Do you have a ruler?
  5. When someone guesses correctly, hand them the vocabulary card and repeat the game until you’ve practice all 7 of the newly learned words.
  6. Repeat until you've practiced all of your newly learned vocabulary items.

3 Card Hold'em target language - Easy ESL Games


S1 -Do you have an eraser?

S2 - No, I don’t.

S3- Do you have a book?

S2 - No, I don’t.

When someone guesses correctly.

S1 - Do you have a computer?

S2 - Yes, I do!  

3 Card Hold'em:

  • It’s an effective and interesting vocabulary review.
  • It’s very quick.
  • It’s an easy way to bridge the gap between teaching new language and using it later on in your lesson.

How to use the song Red Ball to teach colours in your EFL classroom!

This classroom game works great as a warm up activity or a vocabulary review.  It's adaptable,  it gets your students moving and it's as much fun as a bucket of coloured balls.

The Details About Red Ball:

  • ​This song is used to teach colour.
  • ​It works best with children under the age of 6.

Required Materials:

  •  Some Color themed vocabulary cards. Ideally you’d have the colours Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Purple.
  • ​A bucket of colored balls. Ideally you’d have the same colours.
Materials required for red ball - Easy ESL Games

Download your copy of Red Ball from either Itunes or Google play now!

Easy Kids songs on Itunes

In this example we are going to use colours as our Subject and “I have a blue ball” as our Target Language.

Here's How To Play Red Ball: 

  1. Start by pre-teaching colors.​
  2. Reveal the bucket of coloured balls.
  3. ​Pick out different balls, hold them up and use the target language E.g. I have a red ball, I have a green ball.
  4. Hilariously drop the bucket of balls all over your classroom.
  5. Turn on the Song Red Ball.
  6. Ask the students to listen to the song. When the song asks “Can you find a red ball?” Have your students bring you all of the red balls.
  7. As your students place the balls in the bucket make sure they use the target language ex.. “I have a red ball” If they don’t us the language you can either cover the top of the bucket with the vocabulary cards so that the student can’t put the ball in the bucket or just throw the ball back.
  8. When the song changes colours, just follow along.
  9. Repeat until the song is done.​
Red Ball in class example - Easy ESL Games

Red Ball:

  • It teaches colours and colour related language targets.
  • It’s easy to use in any age appropriate EFL or ESL classroom.
  • And It’s probably the best song ever written.

Here are a few extra tips that will help you ensure Red Ball is a success each and every time you use it in your classroom.

  1. Only 1 ball at a time - or kids will try to pick up 4-5 balls at once which means some kids don't get any balls, and they speak hardly at all. They just spend 30 sec picking up balls then dump them all at once.
  2. As kids put the balls in the bucket, subtly throw them back out so you don’t run out of balls.
  3. Use different language targets for different groups. Babies can just get the right color ball, or even just have fun. Older kids have to use a sentence e.g. I have 3 blue balls.
  4. To make it more fun, you can hold the bucket up high or walk around the room so your students have to chase you.
  5. Accidentally tipping the balls out again as you put it away is funny.  
  6. Use the humming version if you can't remember the color order or you don't have the right color balls or you want to substitute the balls for something else.
  7. Also you can stop the song early.

Download your copy of Red Ball from either Itunes or Google play now!

Easy Kids songs on Itunes