ESL Listening Games

English Whispers

ESL Listening Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Any Level - 20 minutes

This listening game can be used to practice a variety of language points or vocabulary. Divide the students into equal teams and have each team sit in a row facing the board. Give the student sat at the back of each row a short written conversation. The students at the back whisper the first sentence of their conversation to the student in front of them. That student whispers the sentence to the next student and so on down the line. When the sentence reaches the person at the front, that student stands up and writes the sentence on the board. If the sentence is incorrect, it is whispered down the line again. It's up to the students at the back when to whisper the next sentence. They can say each sentence quickly or wait until the sentence has been written on the board. The game continues until one team has written all the sentences of their conversation on the board correctly. That team wins the game. For young learners, use individual words rather than sentences.
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English Whispers
 

Its not Musical Chairs

ESL Listening Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2-B1) - 20 minutes

In this fun listening game, students listen to an audio recording and race to answer comprehension questions about it. Put chairs in a circle with one less chair than there are students in the class. Ask the students a listening comprehension question based on the audio recording you have prepared. Then, play the audio. The students walk around the circle of chairs listening to the recording. When a student hears the answer to the question, they sit down. There may be one or several students who sit down. At this point, pause the audio. If it is just one student who sits down, ask them for the answer to the question. If it is a few students who sit down, ask them to whisper the answer to you individually. If a student's answer is correct, they remain seated. If not, they stand up. Next, ask another question that can be answered in the next part of the recording and restart the audio. The standing students then start walking around the chairs again until they hear the answer to your next question and so on. The last student left standing is out of the game. Then, everyone stands up, a chair is removed from the circle and the game continues until there are only two students competing for one chair to become the ultimate winner.
Its not Musical Chairs Preview
Its not Musical Chairs
 

Odd One Out

ESL Listening Game - Listening Activity - Young Learners - 10 minutes

Here is an engaging listening game to help students practice a variety of vocabulary. Ask the students to stand in a circle. Explain that you are going to say lexical sets of words and that if the students hear a word that does not belong to that set, they must stop what they are doing. Ask the students to do an action, e.g. hop like a frog, dance like a monkey, jump like a kangaroo, etc. As the students are doing the action, they listen to you call out sets of words, e.g. run, speak, hear, read, look, banana. When the students hear a word that doesn't belong to the set, they stop doing the action. The last person to stop is out of the game. If a student stops on the wrong word, they are also out of the game. Repeat with different lexical sets, e.g. animals, nouns, etc. The last student left standing wins the game. To make the game harder, you can use similar-sounding words. You could also ask the students why the word doesn't belong to the lexical set when everyone has stopped, e.g. 'A banana is a fruit. The other words are verbs.'
Odd One Out Preview
Odd One Out
 

Sticky Fingers

ESL Listening Game - Listening Activity - Young Learners - 15 minutes

This entertaining listening game works well with young learners. Choose three students to play first. Clear a runway to the far wall of the classroom. Outstretch your arm. Each student then grabs one of your fingers. Assign the three students with a keyword, e.g. take. Tell the students that if they hear that word, they should let go of your finger and run to the wall. Start saying words that have a similar sound to the keyword, e.g. took, tickle, bake, cake, etc. If a student lets go of your finger and runs when you haven't said the keyword, they are out of the game. When you say the keyword, the students let go of your finger and run to the far wall. Your task is to tag out the students before they get to the wall. Any student who is tagged is out of the game. Repeat until only one student is left. Then, start a new round with three more students. When everyone has had a go, play again with the winners of each round until you find the ultimate champion.
Sticky Fingers Preview
Sticky Fingers
 

Throw a Question

ESL Listening Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Young Learners - 15 minutes

In this useful listening game, students listen and answer a question and then create a similar question of their own. Have the students stand in a circle. Tell the students that they are going to practice questions and answers they have recently studied in class. Throw the ball to a student. When the student catches the ball, ask them a question, e.g. 'Can you swim?' The student who catches the ball answers the question appropriately, e.g. 'Yes, I can.' The student then throws the ball to another student and asks them a similar question and so on, e.g. 'Can you ride a bicycle?' If a student says a grammatically incorrect question or answer, they are out of the game. When this happens, restart the game with a new question. The last two students left in the game win.
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Throw a Question
 

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