Warm-up activities are an essential part of any good EFL lesson plan.
They are designed to get students focused on using English and getting comfortable with their classmates. Ideally, linking a warmer to the focus of the lesson plan is ideal, but not always necessary. The most important part is warmers should be lighthearted and fun!
Here are 3 fun activities that can be adapted for different age groups, class sizes and abilities.
On the board in a vertical line write: 4 5 6 7 6 5 4. One line for team A and one for team B.
They need to think of words that have 4 letters, 5 letters, 6 letters. You start them with a word for 7 letters. The catch is that the words must be linked together so the last letter of the 7-letter word must be the first letter of the 6-letter word below it. The first letter of the 7-letter word must be the last letter of the 6-letter word preceding it. Play the best of 3 rounds.
Sample 7-letter words: teacher, student, windows, partner, schools (don’t choose words starting with j or q or vowels besides e)
Extension: To make the activity more difficult, the last letter of the bottom 4-letter word must be the first letter of the top 4-letter word. This closes the loop.
This is a classic game that students of all levels enjoy.
Partner the students. Depending on the level, you may want to start by eliciting colors and writing them on the board. Write on the board, “I spy with my little eye something that is ‘color’” Partner A chooses something in the room of a particular color and recites the sentence. Partner B must guess what Partner A sees.
Extension: Make the game more difficult by adding a time limit or a guess limit.
Write the letters of the alphabet in a vertical line down the board. One line for team A and one for team B.
Give the students two minutes and a category and tell them they have to think of a word that begins with each letter. The team with the most correct words in two minutes wins. Play best of 3 rounds.
Sample Categories: animals, fruits and vegetables, countries, things you wear, furniture, adjectives, irregular verb 2 etc.
Extension: After the last round, use the word list on the board and have the students talk with a partner about a question that you write on the board. Ideally have your final round match with your lesson plan for the day.
For example, fruits and vegetables, ‘What do you like?/What don’t you like?/Why?’
Have fun with these games and consider joining in with your students! Great EFL warm-up activities really set the tone for a great class. Enjoy!
Jocelyn is the co-founder of award-winning digital TEFL course, TEFLPros