Category Archives for "Baby ESL Games & Resources"

Mustache Smash

Mustache Smash - A great game for Reading, Listening & Speaking - Easy ESL Games site thumb

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

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.

8. 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!

LEEP Racemats


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:

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:

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

Have fun in class!

How To Use LEEP Placemats To Teach Children To Read

Easy ESL Games - LEEP Placemats | site Thumb

Free Printable Placemats For Teaching Kids How To read - Easy ESL Games

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?

  1. Put the LEEP Placeat on a table.
  2. Ask a child to find specific letters.
  3. Make sure you are using the letters phonetic pronunciation followed by it's hint word.  E.g., a - a - apple.
  4. When the child finds the letter, offer a lot of positive re-enforcement.  If they can't find it give them little hints to help them out.  Make sure you're not helping too much.  A child gains a sense of accomplishment and self confidence by thinking their way through a problem and discovering the answer on their own.
  5.   Repeat until just before the game gets boring.

We hope you have a ton of fun helping your youngest learners learn to read with out LEEP Placemats.  Always if you have any questions comments or concerns about how to use any of our resources in your class, email us directly at

Duck Game

This classroom game comes to us from Nicole P. Nicole is a very active member of the Easy ESL Games community and has suggested some great games. Nicole is currently teaching ESL classes to 6 year olds in Israel.

This game is called Duck. It’s similar to the game “Simon Says” in the way it teaches and reviews body related vocabulary but "Duck" has a little bit of healthy competition added as well.

How to teach body related vocabulary with the Duck Game - Nicole - Easy ESL Games

The Details About Duck:

  • This game focuses on listening comprehension and is a great way to review body parts. 
  • The only materials you’ll need are a few toys. In this example nicole used rubber ducks but I’m pretty sure they’re not essential.  
  • A game should last between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the size of your class.
  • The object of the game is to be the first student to grab the toy duck after the teacher says “duck”.

In this example we are teaching Body Related Vocabulary as our topic.  And we're focusing on Listening Comprehension.

Here's How To Play Duck

  1. ​Preteach body related vocabulary.
  2. Put a toy duck in the between your students.  In the video students are working in pairs.  Groups of 3 - 5 work just as well and are often a little more fun.
  3. Call out part of the body.  As you say each body part your students have to repeat what you say while touching the body part you named. 
  4. At some point say "Duck" instead of a body part.  The first student to grab the duck wins their game.
  5. Switch teachers and repeat until just before the game gets boring.


  • It’s really easy.
  • It’s a great way to review body related vocabulary.
  • And it’s fun.

3 Card Hold Em

How To Teach Vocabulary Using Playing Cards - Easy ESL Games

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 Teach Our RED BALL Song


How To Teach Colors To Young Kids Using Songs - Easy ESL Games

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.

How to Use The Song Red Ball To Teach Kids Colors

Red Ball Music Video from Easy Kids Songs Vol.1

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.


ESP Thumb site - Easy ESL Games

ESP is one of my all time favorite games. It’s a great guessing game that lets you review a ton of vocabulary and any target language at the same time. To win this game your students must “read your mind” and guess which vocabulary card you’re thinking about.

The Details About ESP:

  • ESP is meant to review newly learned vocabulary.
  • With a class of less than 8 students the only materials you’ll need are some vocabulary cards.
  • For a larger class you might want to use some magnet as well. Just so that you can put the cards on the blackboard so that everyone can see.
  • ​A round of the game usually lasts less than a minute. I usually play multiple rounds and stop the game after 5 minutes or if the game starts to get boring.

In this example we are teaching Toys as our topic  and  the target Language:

S1 - What do I want?  

S2 - Do you want a _boat_ ?

S1 - Yes, I Do.  No, I Don’t .

ESP Target Language - Easy ESL Games

Here's How To Play ESP: 

  1. ​Pre-teach your vocabulary cards and the target language you’ll be using.
  2. Slowly place all of your vocabulary cards on the floor or blackboard. Each time you add a new card use the games language “Do I want a boat?” “Do I want a teddy bear?
  3. Pick one card in your head and remember it. Now ask the target question “What do I want?”.
  4. This is the hard part. You have to convince your class that you’re trying to send them the answer with the use of ESP. Basically you have to look at your students with a look of complete  concentration on your face while touching your forehead.
  5. Ask the target question again “What do I want?"  
  6. Then model the answer so that your students figure out how to play. Do you want a boat? Do you want a helicopter?  One student will figure out what you’re doing within a few seconds and then their classmates will follow their lead.  If a student doesn’t use the full target sentence, model it again. “Do you want a teddy bear?” Prompt the student to repeat after you and when they do,  give them a high 5 so that the entire class figures how to play.  
  7. When a student guesses your card correctly, congratulate them and then quickly start another round of ESP.  
  8. After a few rounds of ESP remove yourself from the game and let your students take turns being the teacher.  I find that this game works best if you keep it to under 5 minutes of class time.  Like every game, if you notice that it is starting to get boring.  Stop playing so that you can use the game again in the future.


      • It’s an easy way to review a lot of vocabulary.
      • It’s fun.
      • It has almost no teacher talking time if you set it up correctly.


Download our FREE LEEP Cards to Teach Reading‘s LEEP (Learn Easy ESL Phonics) Cards are fun, effective and FREE way to teach phonics to any student that is just learning to read. These can be used by anyone from teachers, to parents of kids of new readers and even as a tool to help struggling learners. For best results we suggest combining our LEEP Cards with the the ABC Song with Alphabet Sounds and the physical gestures that accompany each LEEP Card.

The above video shows that each LEEP Card (both lower and upper case) is bright and interesting, showing a word that has the correct sound used in basic reading. They also introduce a useful word or phrase. This way each student learns the fundamentals of reading, 26 words and some classroom language.


However, BY FAR the most effective way to use these LEEP cards, the way we’ve been using for years now, is to use funny, memorable gestures with each card. This is called “total physical response” (TPR) and is a proven, effective way of learning.

LEEP CARDS - Gestures

Here are the gestures I use every class ( starting from age 2).  Feel free to change the gestures to whatever you feel comfortable doing. These I know work in a Japanese class. The video below is an inclass example of how to combine the ABC Song With Alphabet Sounds with the LEEP Cards and the matching gestures. By using the combination of stimuluses we find students learn much quicker than with other teaching methods.

There are 3 main types of learners, all of which are helped by these cards. Most kids are a mix of all these but usually have a preference of one. All are helped by using the LEEP cards.
1)Visual learners
2)Kinesthetic learners (movement)
3)Auditory learners

Lowercase Phonetic Alphabet in Color

This Lowercase Phonetic Alphabet set comes in full color. Each letter has a phonetically correct guide word that helps to guarantee YOUR students receive the strongest foundation possible when they are learning to read.


Uppercase Phonetic Alphabet in Color

This Uppercase Phonetic Alphabet set comes in full color. Each letter has a phonetically correct guide word that helps to guarantee YOUR students receive the strongest foundation possible when they are learning to read.


Uppercase Phonetic Alphabet B/W

This Uppercase Phonetic Alphabet set comes in Black And White. The cards aren't as exciting as our full color versions but they will save you a little bit of time and money when it comes time to print them.


Lowercase Phonetic Alphabet B/W

This Lowercase Phonetic Alphabet set comes in Black And White. The cards aren't as exciting as our full color versions but they will save you a little bit of time and money when it comes time to print them.


In addition to the downloadable set of Phonetic Alphabet Cards we have created a number of ESL games and resources that showcase them!

The easiest reading game we have is called hammers. It’s for students that are just learning the basics of reading phonetically.

Shark Race is a great way to practice phonemes. All you have to do is print an alphabet board and you can quickly turn reading practice into a board game.

We will be adding more resources to this list weekly. Make sure to check out this page regularly to ensure you don’t miss a thing.


How To Teach New Words To ESL Students Quickly - The 2-1-0 Method

The 2-1-0 Method for teaching new vocabulary is in my experience the easiest and fastest way for students to learn and retain new vocabulary in ESL classes.


The Details:

  • The 2-1-0 method for teaching new vocabulary is an ESL technique that works best with young learners (4-12).
  • I always use 7 cards at a time.  In my experience 7 cards is about the maximum number or cards a class can learn in any given flashcard cycle.  If students are really young using 3 or 5 cards works just as well.
  • I highly recommend using an odd number of cards so that you can immediately start playing games afterwards.  Odd number mean that if your team is split into teams one team will have more cards.  Competition is always fun.
  • The only materials required are a set of teacher sized flashcards.
  • he 2-1-0 method for teaching new vocabulary should take between 1 – 3 minutes.  Once you finish you should immediately play a game that uses the newly acquired words like What’s Missing or Charades.

How to play:

  1. Start by choosing 7 vocabulary flashcards.
  2. Ask your class to repeat after you.
  3. Cycle through each of the flashcards slowly saying the word once.  Wait for the class to repeat and then say the word a second time.  Wait for the classes second repetition and then move to the next card in the deck. 
  4. Once you’ve taught each of the 7 cards with two class repetitions, go through the deck again.  This time go faster and only say each word once.
  5. Once you’ve completed two cycles of your teaching cards (saying each twice and then once), go through the deck a final time.  This time however do not say the word.  Simply hold up the card and wait for your students to say the word.  You’re class should have already learned the words by this point.
  6. If your class has trouble with any of the words start again from step 3.
This is a fun way to introduce new ESL vocabulary quickly.  What starts out as a simple vocabulary card tool quickly turns into an ESL game that your whole ESL/EFL class will love.






Whats Under The Blanket?

What's under the blanket? - Easy ESL Games

This Super Simple contest entry comes from Debbie.   Debbie is a mother of two teens that works at a preschool in NSW.  Her game is called What's Under The Blanket? Debbie says her 3-4 year old preschool students love playing this game and that it's fun thinking up new things to place under the blanket.

The Details About What's Under The Blanket?:

  • ​This is a great game for learning names, favorite colours, really any topic works if you're creative about how you sent it up.
  • ​This game is great young learners between the ages of 4 - 7.

Materials Required:

  • A large enough area to make a circle on the floor.
  • A blanket or parachute.
  • I like using the Super Simple Song, Make A Circle as a lead in activity. To do this you'll need a way to play music.

Here's How To Play What's Under The Blanket?

  1. Have your students hold hands and make a circle.
  2. Turn on the song Make A Circle or sing it acapella.
  3. When the song finishes everyone should be sitting on the floor in a circle.
  4. Chose one student and have them leave the circle and turn around...NO PEAKING!
  5. ​Quietly chose another student and ask them to go into the middle of the circle.
  6. Cover that student with a blanket.
  7. Call the first student back to the circle and ask them.  "Who's Missing?"
  8. Sometimes students will guess right away and sometimes they'll need a little help.  Make sure that if you're helping your students you're making them use their English to figure it out.
  9. Once a student guesses correctly pick two new students and repeat the process.  Try to positive behaviour whenever possible.

This game can also be played with flashcards or realia in smaller classes which makes the number of ways you can adapt this game almost limitless.

If you want to use this game in baby classes make sure you are not putting any toddlers under a blanket.   There is a very good chance they won't like it.  Your class will probably end very poorly.  We very strongly recommend using toys in baby classes and just asking the kids to cover their eyes.

  • ​It’s easy.
  • It's a great game for babies and young learners.
  • It’s a great way to help your students learn their classmates names.
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