Do you want some fresh, new ideas for teaching countable and uncountable nouns, along with worksheets, lesson plans and online practice recommendations? Then you’re certainly in the right place!
Countable and Uncountable Nouns Activities: Top 15
Are you ready to get into the best ESL games and activities for these kinds of nouns? Then keep on reading because we’ll get into all the details that you need to know!
#1: Countables and Uncountables Nouns Game Go Fish
One of my favourite activities to do with my students on the unit for this grammar concept is Go Fish. Except that instead of regular playing cards, you’ll want to make your own cards. I’ll often do it with food as this is associated with this grammar concept most often in ESL textbooks.
I’ll make cards with the following:
- apple (1)
- apples (group)
- bottle of water
- water (general)
- bowl of rice
Do you see where I’m going with this? Some are singular, others are plural and finally, some are uncountable nouns. Then, students play in groups of 3-4 with the standard Go-Fish rules. Except they must ask the questions in the right way, depending on what kind of noun is it. For example:
- Do you have an apple?
- Do you have some apples?
- Do you have a bottle of water?
- Do you have any rice?
Then, students must answers appropriately with either yes or no.
#2: Dialogue Substitution
A common way that countable nouns and uncountable nouns are introduced to students is through a dialogue. If you ask students to read it with a partner, you may notice that they don’t really pay close attention to what they’re actually reading. It’s not our students fault, it’s mostly that they just don’t have a reason to read.
Instead, consider removing some of the words (in this case, some of the nouns) and ask students to fill in the blanks as they read. This turns it from a very simple reading exercise to one that focus on grammar and meaning as well. Find out more about it here:
#3: 10 Things
In 10 things, students have to race to think of 10 things that they might need in a certain situation. 5 are countable nouns while the other 5 are uncountable. Some examples of situations you could include are:
- English class
- At the beach
- At a music festival
- Mount Everest
For English class, students may need to bring a pencil, pen, eraser, textbook and dictionary. They may also need some water, air to breathe, common sense, etc.
In some cases, students will have to get a little bit creative with the uncountable nouns. For beginners, you may want to make this game in 6 things and students have to think of 3 for each category.
#4: Class Party
This is a simple exercise that get students to plan an imaginary class party. Put students into groups of 4 and ask them to think of 10 things they’d like to eat or drink. And, a few other things they’d like to bring in terms of activities, decorations or party favours.
After that, students have to divide the list into countable and uncountable nouns. Finally, you can compile a master list together as a class.
#5: Flashcard Sentences
In our opinion, flashcards are a seriously under-utilized teaching tool and they lend themselves so well to teaching countables and uncountables nouns. Here are some of our best ideas for using them in your English classes:
#6: ESL Hot Potato Game
If you want to create some fun and excitement in your class, then you’ll want to try out Hot Potato. The way it works is that students pass around an object, either a potato, potato with a timer from the game you can find on Amazon, or any object. When the timer goes off or the music stops, the person holding it has to do something.
In this case, show the student a flashcard and they have to make a sentence with a countable or uncountable noun. Do you want to try it out? Learn more here: Hot Potato Game.
#7: Countable/Uncountable Nouns Listening Activities
Most ESL textbooks introduce this grammatical concept by using a reading. However, you can easily use a listening activity as well. One easy way to do it is to give students a quick primer about what these nouns are. Then, you play the listening passage and have them take notes about what they hear. Finally, they can divide the nouns into countable or uncountable.
Do you want to know the steps to follow when planning an ESL listening lesson? Then you’ll want to check this out: How to Plan an ESL Listening Lesson.
#8: Task Based Language Teaching Activities
Task based teaching and learning is basically where students have to complete a task of some kind. The main advantages to this of styles are that students have a little bit more freedom to learn what they want to learn and also that the definable task to complete can serve as a serious motivator.
In this case, there are lots of tasks you can do related to uncountables and countables, especially related to food. Students could think of a dream meal they’d like to prepare and then make a shopping list, menu and steps to follow to complete the meal. Or, they could plan a class party. There are lots of other situations related to this as well—get creative and think of something that your students would find engaging and is of course appropriate for their age.
Do you want to find out more about this and get some additional ideas? Check this out: ESL Task Based Teaching.
This is a fun mixer game where students get some strips of paper with questions and others with answers and then have to mingle with their classmates to find a match. Once they do, they do rocks-scissors-paper to see who gets both papers and 1 point. In this case, you’ll want to focus your questions on countable/uncountable nouns, with a mix of singular and plural.
- Do you have any apple?
- Yes I have one.
- Are there any apples?
- Yes, there are some.
- I’m so thirsty! Do you have some water?
- Yes, here’s some.
At the end of the activity, the student with the most matches is the winner. Be sure to check that they’re correct. Find out more about this ESL mixer activity here: ESL Rocks-Scissors-Paper.
#10: How to Teach an ESL Grammar Lesson
Even experienced English teachers are sometimes a little bit shaky on the steps involved in teaching an ESL grammar lesson like one on contable/uncontable nouns. If that’s the situation that you find yourself in, don’t worry! Help is here.
You’ll want to check out this step-by-step guide for teaching English grammar right here:
#11: ESL Board Games
I love to use board games with my students because they’re fun, interactive and can be used with a ton of grammatical points, including this one. The way is works is that you can write various words in each square, either a quantifier of some kind (any, some, an, etc.) or a noun (pen, clock, people).
When the student lands on the square, they have to make a true sentence with that word in it. For example:
- There aren’t any animals in this room.
- There are some extra desks.
- There’s a pen on my desk.
- There are many people at school.
Do you want to find out more about how to use board games in your classes? Then you’ll want to check this out: Board Games for ESL.
#12: Grammar Gameshow Quiz
Do you want to have some fun with your students? Then check out this very well-done quiz game here:
#13: Quantifier Activities
English quantifiers like some, any, much, etc. go hand in hand with countables uncountables and many of the activities that you might consider using to teach them also work well for this grammar point. Here are some of the best ideas that you might want to try out:
#14: Picture Prompt ESL Warmer
A way that I like to introduce this concept of countable and uncountable things is to show my students a picture with lots of things in it. Then, I ask my students to tell me some of the things they see and I add the appropriate quantifier (a/an/some/many, etc).
- apple (some apples)
- water (bottles of water)
- people (many people)
- igloo (an igloo)
Do you want to try it out with your students? You can learn more about this activity right here: ESL Picture Prompt Warm-Up.
#15: Songs and Chants
I love to use songs and chants when I teach kids. Here’s one excellent example for one that you can use to teach this important grammar concept:
Countables and Uncountables Nouns Worksheets
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! There are lots of top-notch worksheets for countables and uncountables. Here are some of the best ones:
Online Practice for Contable and Uncontable
If you want to give your students some additional practice opportunities for this important English grammar concept, worksheets is certainly one option. However, you may also want to recommend some online practice. Here are some of our top picks:
ESL Lesson Plans for Countable Uncountable
Are you a busy teacher just looking for lesson plans for countable/uncountable nouns that you can print and go? Who isn’t, right? It’s a huge time-saver and you’ll definitely want to check out our top recommendations here:
Did you Like these Countable and Uncountable ESL Activities and Games?
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- English (Publication Language)
- 144 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
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Have your Say about Countable Uncountable Nouns
What do you think about these ESL activities for uncountable and countable nouns? Have you tried out one of them from this list or do you have another recommendation that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API