Category Archives for "Baby ESL Games & Resources"

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

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

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 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?

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

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

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 an unbelievably easy guessing game you can use in your EFL classroom.

ESP Thumb site - Easy ESL Games
ESL Game for Asking Questions _ ESP _ 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.


2-1-0 is an easy way to teach a lot of vocabulary items very quickly.

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.






How to play What’s in the Bag? aka the Mystery Bag.

How To Practice Questions Using The Game What's In The Bag? - Easy ESL Games

American English School Logo - What's in the bag - Easy ESL Games

This Super Simple game submission comes from Lawrence.  Lawrence is originally from Los Angeles, and has been teaching kids in Japan for 10 years.  Last year, he opened a school named is American English School in Tarui, Gifu prefecture. 

The Details About What’s in the Bag?:

  • ​It’s a great game for young learners because it involves a little bit of mystery and it appeals to tactile learners
  • ​The only materials you’ll need are a bag made out of cloth (make sure it doesn’t have holes) and a few lesson related toys.
  • ​If you want to add a little music we'd recommend playing the Super Simple Song, Mystery Box in the background.  Everytime the song says "Mystery Box" just say "Mystery Bag" a little bit louder.

This game can be modified to fit any lower level language topic.  In this example we're using food as the topic.  Target languages include "Is it a banana?" "Do you like bananas?" and whatever other peripheral English you choose to include.

Here's How To Play What's In The Bag?

  1. ​Before class starts fill the bag with lesson related toys and relia.  Try to include one item for each student if possible.
  2. Pre-teach your lesson's vocabulary.
  3. Turn on the song Mystery Box while making sure to say "mystery bag" just a little bit louder.
  4. Hold the bag in front of your students while asking them, "What's in the bag?"
  5. Suggest crazy things that could be in the bag as a way to get all of your students involved.  E.g. "Is it a dinosaur?" "is it a spaceship?"
  6. Then, pull the bag a little tighter around the object so your class can see the shape of the realia.
  7. Ask again, "What's in the bag?"
  8. Wait for some answers and use their answers to initiate natural conversation. E.g. "It's a truck?   What colour is it?  What color do you like?" etc.
  9. Make sure that you are modeling the target response ex, "It's a carrot?" and only replying to those students that are using it.  Once you kids figure out that you only answer to full sentences they should all start using the dialogue pretty quickly.
  10. Then, Pass the bag to your students so that they can feel it.  At this point they’ll be “all in”. When a student answers while using the correct language pull the item out of the bag and use it to have a conversation. If it's an apple you could ask questions like, "Do you like apples? How big is an apple? How many can you eat? etc.
  11. Finally, give the toy to one student.
  12. Repeat until 1 minute before the game gets boring or the mystery bag is empty.

What's In The Bag?:

    • ​It's a classic ESL classroom game.
    • It's about as easy as a game can get.
    • It can easily be tweaked into a conversation starter.

Classroom Language Cards are an amazing resource that will get your youngest learners communicating quickly.

How To Teach Classroom Language To ESL Students - Easy ESL Games

Teaching classes for young children & babies can be difficult to say the least. If students have little or no English foundation, teachers are left searching for ways to connect their lesson  targets to the information their students already have.

Unfortunately, young ESL students rarely have any English language foundation to connect with.

So what’s a teacher to do?

 It turns out, the answer is simple. Young learners can easily make connections through the use of TPR. The Total Physical Response method for language learning involves keyword prompting (from the teacher) and whole body responses (from the students). Basically, by combining a word or phrase with an action, students will internalize and understand the word or phrase much easier than if they tried to learn through rote memorization.

With this in mind we are really excited to share our Classroom Language Cards with you. Each card has a useable and relevant word or phrase written on it and an accompanying action. For example our “I don’t know” card is accompanied by a picture of the monkey shrugging his shoulders.

Classroom Language Cards-I I Dont Know- Easy ESL Games
Shrugging your shoulders works to effectively pantomime the phrase “I don’t know” in almost every language on earth. More than likely this will include your student’s native language as well. The TRP connects the key word with it’s meaning and your students learn faster!

These Classroom Language Cards have become an integral part of our young learner curriculum. We simply go through the deck using the 2 – 1 – 0 method in each class. After a few weeks of repetition the difference in our student’s abilities were obvious.

We use these cards because these cards work! 

  • ​They are a great classroom resource.
  • You can use them in every lesson.
  • They help your EFL / ESL students form a foundation of contextual classroom English. 
Easy ESL Games - Classroom Language Cards
Classroom Language Cards
Classroom Language Cards
Classroom Language Cards

Hammers is a great Comprehension Check you can use in low level ESL classes and demo lessons.

Easy ESL Games -Hammers - Thumb

Hammers is a great comprehension check for beginner ESL students and it’s just about the easiest game around. Often times when teaching really young children they’re absorbing information but reluctant to speak. This game has never failed to demonstrate what a child has learned.

The Details About Hammers:

  • ​The only materials required to play this game are a few plastic hammers which you can find in various toy stores or on Amazon and some topic related materials.  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 low level students of any age.  
  • A game of hammers take 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 Hammers

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 a plastic hammer to one or two students.

3) Instruct the students to lift the hammers up as high as possible.

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

5) The first student to hit the correct card with their hammer gets a point.

6) Repeat.


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

The best thing about Hammers  is that this ESL game works with beginner students young and old.  For adults simply use level appropriate cards and put more cards on the table.

One last point, I feel that it’s my duty to caution you. You should be very clear that their is “No Hitting!” before you give your students the toy hammers. If you forget to inform your class about the no hitting policy before handing out the admittedly fun-looking toy hammers you’ll probably find yourself in a heap of trouble…I know I did.

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