By Kevin Fabris

June 6, 2016

10 - 20 Minutes, Big Class, Big Room, Easy ESL Games, EFL, ESL, Fun, Game, Games, Materials Required, Practice It, Rainy Day, Small Class, Teams, Young Learner

ESL Games aren’t always equal parts of language acquisition and fun.  Volleyball is very much tilted towards fun.  I recommend using this game as a rainy day activity or as a backup activity for when your class needs 10 – 15 minutes of excitement.


  • The only materials you need are a balloon and a barrier (net).  In the pictures included we’ve used the sofas from my school.  The important thing is that the barrier isn’t a safety risk.  If you don’t have sofas a portable whiteboard or chairs will work too.
  • This ESL game should take between 10 – 20 minutes to play.
  • This game works best for classes of 4 – 10 ESL students.

How to play ESL Volleyball:

  1. Setup your net.
  2. Choose your topic.  In the example shown we are teaching the letter E and its phonetic pronunciation.  You can just as easily use counting, verbs, adjectives, etc.
  3. Fill up the balloon.
  4. Invite your class to write your lesson’s topic on the balloon.  E.g. E, E, E, etc.  Just as easily, big, small, fast, slow, etc.
  5. Divide your class into teams.
  6. Just like in real volleyball the point of this ESL game is to not let the balloon touch the floor on your side of the court.
  7. You can add English to this rainy day game by telling your class that if they don’t say the target language or if the balloon touches the floor on their side of the court, the other team is awarded a point.
  8. You have to be very deliberate about using the language.  Every time I’ve played this game my class instinctively done it without using the target language.  After a few points were awarded to the other team that was quickly remedied.
  9. Set your cut off score (first team to 7) and have fun.

Your ESL class is sure to love playing volleyball.  I really like the fact that by using a balloon rather than a ball the game is a little easier and a lot crazier.

Here are some other grammar points and topics you can use with ESL Volleyball:

Teach “I have” by drawing a random possessions the children have in their book bags on the balloon.  Each time a child volleys the balloon the have to say “I have a something.”  Make sure each object only gets used once.

Teach “I like” by drawing food on the balloon.  Children have to say “I like something.” Each time  they volley the balloon.

For more advanced classes you can add in question and response as well.

S1 – “What do you like?”
S2 – “I like something.”
S3 – Where do you live?”
S4 – I live somewhere?

If you like this Easy ESL Game you might also want to try ESL Basketball.  It’s a go-to game for us.

Watch more here:

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