Games for Children’s First ESL Lessons


Teacher’s copy

Children learn a second language very quickly. However, when they are encountering English for the first time, it is difficult to find activities other than songs, that keep them interested and participating. Although songs are an excellent way for children to learn English, other approaches are needed. This is especially true if the children are living in a culture where no one speaks English.

esl curriculum

Ants eat apples.

To begin,  the children will need to learn the English alphabet. The letters can be taught by using a picture of something that begins with the letter.  However, children learn their first language by hearing their parents speak in sentences. So let’s introduce that first letter together with a picture and a sentence that describes it. The children can then repeat the sentence, draw the picture and practice printing the letter.

Teach four or five letters. then try a game like this.

esl curriculum

Picture Game


esl curriculum

Modified Bingo

esl curriculum

Modified Bingo Instructions

Young children need to participate in the lesson. They can listen for only very short periods of time. Another way to keep them active and learning is to try a modified Bingo game. It won’t take very long before someone calls BINGO but children will want to play the same game many times. They will have fun and they will be learning! When they know the initial captions then move on to the enrichment captions.

esl curriculum

Independent Work

Some programs offer extra pages that provide independent work. These give the teacher time to work with individuals and small groups.

Adapt any of these ideas to meet the needs of your groups. The age of the students and their cultural background make every class different.

See Also:

Our Childrens’ ESL Storybooks make esl classes interesting!

ESL Storybooks

Teacher Productivity Power Tips


About brian_mu8dft39

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page:
This entry was posted in Children's ESL, ESL Activities, ESL Suggestions, Teaching English, Tips for Teachers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Games for Children’s First ESL Lessons

  1. This is a cute game with young English learners! It certainly keeps the kids actively engaged in learning!

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