By Kevin Fabris

December 7, 2015

10 - 15 Minutes, Easy ESL Games,, EFL, ESL, Fun, Game, Materials Required, Practice It, Small Class, Speaking, Use It, Vocabulary

Small ESL classes and man-2-man language lessons can often prove to be extremely difficult to teach.  Children are naturally intimidated by an adult speaking directly to them in a foreign tongue.  In these situations having a fun, engaging activity to break the ice can make all the difference between success and failure.

Can you think of anything more fun than a Nerf gun?  I sure can’t!

The Details:

  • I use this ESL game for teaching simple sentence structures and prepositions.


S1 – It’s behind the table.

S2 – It’s an elephant.

S1 – It’s next to the elephant.

S2 – It’s a chair.

  • Materials required are a Nerf gun with foam darts and a selection of random objects and toys.  For an added vocabulary learning bonus try to make sure the objects are course related.
  • This game should take about 10 minutes to play.
  • This game is ideal for ESL student’s between 5 and 12 years old.  In my experience it tends to work a little better with girls because their usually not as rambunctious.
  • This ESL game works best with a man-2-man lesson or with very small class sizes with no more than 4 students total.

How to:

  1. I like to start any preposition lesson by reviewing the preposition chant.
  2. Setup a table with random toys scattered and stacked on top of it.
  3. S1 picks a target for S2 (the shooter) by picking a location.  Eg, It’s on the table.
  4. S2 must then identify an object on the table using the target language. Eg, It’s an elephant.
  5. Once S2 correctly uses the language target they get a turn to shoot the Nerf gun at the elephant.  If they hit the elephant they get a point. Rather than keeping track of points I find just taking the object off the table using the actual object as a point works best.
  6. Switch shooters and repeat until there are no objects left on the table.
  7. The students with the most toys in their “points pile” wins.

Do you have any other ways of using Nerf guns in your classroom?  I’d love to hear any ideas.


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