If you’re looking for some of the best ESL countries or nationalities games and activities, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for all the details you need to know, along with worksheets, lesson plans and a whole lot more!
ESL Country and Nationality Activities and Games
Let’s get into the best ESL country activities and games to try out with your students today.
#1: Countries and Nationalities Board Race
A fun game to do with kids is a board race. Divide the class up into teams, depending on how much space you have for them to write on the board and then have them line up by team. The people at the front each take a marker and have to write something on the board. In this case, it could be any of the following:
- The spelling of a country you say
- The nationality of a country that you say
- A guess at which country you’ve giving hints for
The first person to write down the correct answers gets a point for their team. Continue playing until everyone has had a chance.
#2: Countries of the World Board Game
In real life, I love to play board games. That’s why I like to make some for my students to use too. In this case, you could fill the board with various things like flags, famous foods, etc. and students have to guess which country you’re talking about. Or, students could have to answer questions about countries like the following:
- What is a popular food that people eat in South Korea?
- Name three countries in Europe
- Which continent is Thailand in?
This kind of activity is also ideal for teaching about continents and oceans. There are lots of trivia type questions possible for these things and it’s a nice way to review key vocab words.
#3: Chain Spelling for Nationalities and Countries
A nice activity to help students review their spelling is this game. Everyone stands up and the teacher says either a county or nationality. Then students have to take turns spelling it out, letter by letter and if someone misses, they sit down and are out of that round.
For more advanced students, consider saying the country and students have the spell the nationality or vice-versa. Check it out:
#4: Countries Nationalities Songs and Chants
If I’m teaching kids, I always like to include some songs and chants into my classes. They’re a great way to help students remember new vocabulary. I’m not musical, but thankfully there are lots of good options on YouTube for just about any unit. Here’s just one recommendation:
#5: Task-Based Countries of the World Project
I love to include some task-based ESL activities in most of my classes. They’re a nice change of pace from the usual communicative style of activities that are found in most ESL textbooks. In this case, a nice project is as follows:
- Put students into groups of 3-4
- Each group chooses a country and does some research (food, climate, geography, culture, etc.) about it
- They prepare a poster or PowerPoint slide
- Each group does a short presentation to the class
- Q & A session
Find out more ideas here:
#6: Hot Potato Countries around the World Game
If you want to inject some fun and excitement into your classes, then consider playing hot potato. Students pass around an object and the person holding it when the music stops or the timer goes off has to do a task of some kind. In this case, it could consist of one of the following options:
- Spell a country or nationality
- Guess a country based on the hints you give
- Identify which country a flag is from
- Say what country you’re pointing to on a blank map
- Say what the nationality is for a country that you say
As you can see, there are plenty of options depending on the level of the students you’re teaching. More information here:
#7: Which Country Am I?
This is a classic party game where you have to ask questions to guess the famous person, animal or another sort of thing that’s taped to your body but which you can’t see. In this case, use countries around the world and students have to talk to their classmates to try to figure out which one they are. Find out more:
#8: Countries Quiz Game
#9: Countries and Comparatives/Superlatives
Countries around the world and this grammar point are a fantastic fit for each other. Here are just a few of the sentences that you can make:
- Canada is bigger than Korea.
- Russia is the biggest country by area.
- China is the largest country by population.
Here are some of the best recommendations:
#10: Countries around the World Bingo
I love to play bingo with my students and they generally like it too but it’s not that educational when played the standard way. That’s why I like to include a serious listening element (and optional speaking one) into it. Instead of just saying the words, or in this case countries or nationalities, I give hints and students have to guess what I’m talking about. Check it out:
#11: Would you Rather Live in _____ or ______?
Would you rather is usually a silly speaking activity that involves two very good or two very bad choices. For example:
- Would you rather die by drowning or in a fire?
- Would you rather be famous or be rich?
However, it can also be used for more serious things too! I like to give students choices between two countries that they could live in and then have them discuss their answer with a partner. For example,
- Would you rather live in Canada or Australia? Why?
#12: ESL Country Running Dictation
One of the best 4-skills ESL activities that I know if running dictation. It’s the perfect way to get sleepy students out of their seats and moving around the classroom and for injecting a bit of excitement into the class.
In this case, find (or write) a dialogue between two people from different countries talking about where they’re from. Students have to work together to dictate the conversation and then once done that, put it into the correct order. It’s fun, engaging and interactive and I think you’ll love it as much as I do. Have a look:
#13: Guess Which Country the Food is From
#14: Telephone ESL Speaking Game
Do you remember playing Telephone when you were a kid? The way it works is that you have to pass a message down the line and then compare the original version with what the last person has. The results are usually so funny!
In this case, make the starting sentences with plenty of country or nationality vocabulary words. Check it out for yourself:
#15: ESL Money and Banking Activities
Money and countries are a natural fit for each other and I often like to teach them together. Here are some of the best ideas for this:
#16: Your Country Just a Minute Speaking Activity
Just a Minute is an excellent activity if your students are all from different countries and are at a more advanced level. Put students into groups of four, ensuring that there’s no two students from the same country in the same group.
Then, students have to speak for an entire minute about their country without stopping. The other three group members have to listen carefully and ask 1-2 follow-up questions each after the minute is up. Learn more about it:
#17: I’m an Alien (tell me about your country!)
A fun way to get students talking about their country is to pretend that you’re an alien (or visitor from another country) who knows nothing about where they are. Play it up and elicit lots of information about the food and culture, places to go, climate, etc. Find out more about it:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 123 Pages - 04/13/2020 (Publication Date)
#18: Dialogue Substitution
A common way to introduce new vocabulary like nationalities and countries in ESL textbooks is through a dialogue. However, it’s often the case that students just blow through them without really paying attention to what they’re reading. It’s not really their fault, it’s just that I haven’t really given them a reason to read.
If students are at least a little bit familiar with the vocab, consider removing some of the key words. Then it turns the exercise from a simple reading one into one that’s also focused on meaning. Have a look at all the details:
#19: Memory Circle
If you want to help students remember new vocabulary words then consider using the memory circle game. It’s ideal for kids but I’ve played it with teens and adults too. Find out more about it here:
#20: Countries around the World ESL 20 Questions
I love to play 20 questions with topics like countries, animals or foods. In this case though, I generally limit it to 10 questions because it’s too easy if the topic is already narrowly defined. Take a look at how I adapt this popular game for my EFL/ESL learners:
I love to use some nationality and country worksheets with my students. They’re perfect for review or homework. Here are some of the best recommendations:
Online Practice for Nationalities and Countries
If you want to give your students some extra practice with countries of the world, flags or nationalities, then consider using some online practice:
Nationalities and Countries ESL Lesson Plans
If you’re a teacher, then I’m sure you already know what a huge time-saver a ready-made lesson plan can be. It’s huge if you can just print something off and take to class to use with the students. Here are some of the best ESL country lesson plans to choose from:
Did you like these Learning Countries Games and Activities?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 57 Pages - 10/26/2015 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book that you can find over on Amazon: 39 ESL Vocabulary Activities and Games for Teenagers and Adults. The key to better English vocab classes is a variety of interesting, engaging and interactive ESL activities and this book will help you get there in style.
Pick up the digital version to take with you on any device with the free Kindle reading app for some lesson planning on the go. Or, get the physical version of the book to keep as a handy reference guide on the bookshelf in your office. Whatever the case, it’s some English teaching gold.
Pick up a copy of the book today and get ready for some better TEFL lessons tomorrow:
Have your say about these Country Activities
What’s your top pick for an ESL country game? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have your eye on another one? 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 2020-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API