By Kevin Fabris

January 6, 2016

5 - 10 Minutes, Baby, Comprehension check, EFL, ESL, ESL printables, Fun, Learn It, Memory, Some Materials Required, Vocabulary, Young Learner

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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