If you’re looking for some of the best ESL kindergarten games, then you’re certainly in the right place. We have the top 20 to try out today, along with lesson plan ideas and a whole lot more. Have some fun with your kindy kids who are learning English.
Top 20 ESL Kindergarten Activities and Games
Are you ready to get into the Kindergarten ESL activities? Keep on reading for the best 20 of them.
#1: ESL Flashcard Games
I LOVE to use flashcards in my ESL classes for kids. They are probably one of the most under-utilized teaching tools in my opinion. There are just so many things you can do with them and they’re source of a ton of great ESL kindergarten games. Here are some of the best ideas:
#2: ESL Animal Activities
Kids LOVE talking about animals and they are the basis of some of my favourite ESL kindergarten games. Seriously, we could talk about animals for the entire semester and nobody would be unhappy I think! For some of the best ideas, be sure to check this out:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 51 Pages - 09/11/2015 (Publication Date)
#3: The Hot Potato ESL Kindergarten Game
If you want to have some pure fun and excitement in your classes, then consider playing Hot Potato. It’s perhaps the ultimate ESL Kindergarten game.
The way it works is that students pass around an object and when the music or timer stops, the person holding it has to do a certain thing. One quick example is making a full sentence with subject/verb agreement. What this thing is depends heavily on the age and abilities of the students. But, check out some of the variations and ideas here:
#4: ESL Pronunciation Games for Kindy Kids
It’s key to get our young students saying English words correctly right from the very start. This way, if they keep on studying English, they have a chance to become fluent.
The good news is that there are a ton of fun, interesting games and activities you can use in your classes to help your students out with this. Check out some of the best ones here:
#5: Songs for ESL Kindergarten Kids
There are a ton of catchy songs on YouTube that are ideal for teaching grammar and vocabulary to kindergarten kids with. Play the song a few times and you’ll likely have at least a couple of students singing these songs to themselves outside of class! Here’s one popular song about body parts:
#6: ESL Body Part Activities
Parts of the body is certainly a great topic for kindergarten kids. There are just so many fun games and activities that you can do with them and the vocabulary is simple and concrete enough for even little kids to understand. Here are some of the top recommendations:
#7: Picture Prompt
A quick and easy ESL warm-up is this one: picture prompt. The way it works is that you have to find a picture that relates to the topic of the day. Then, depending on the level of the students, elicit some things from them. It could be as simple as shouting out words that they see in the picture (tree, man, bicycle), making some sentences or answering some questions.
Find out all the possibilities here: Using Pictures as an ESL Warmer.
#8: Discussion Starters for Kids
I love to have a little chit-chat the beginning of my ESL kindergarten classes. Students at this age are usually super eager to talk to the teacher so take advantage of this. If you’re not sure what to talk about, then you’ll want to check out the ideas right here:
#9: Use a Routine to Start your Class
One of the best things I ever did when teaching Kindergarten kids was to establish some routines. The most useful one was a way to start off each class. We talk about certain things like how everyone is feeling, day of the week, etc. Try it out for yourself and I think you’ll love it!
#10: Simple Chants for Kindergarten Kids
Besides songs, chants are another fun way to get students speaking English. The catchier the better too because they’ll help students remember key vocabulary. Here’s one about action verbs that I’ve used successfully in my classes with kindy kids before:
#11: Disappearing Text ESL Kindergarten Activity
Try out this fun ESL Kindergarten activity if you want to help students remember key bits of sentence structure. The way it works is that you write a sentence on the board and students have to say it together. Then you gradually erase words and students have to repeat it. Eventually, they’ll be saying the whole thing but with nothing written on the board.
Check it out here: Disappearing Text ESL Activity.
#12: Show and Tell
Kindergarten kids loves to bring in a special thing from home and then tell their classmates about it! Consider having a special day where students do short presentations about something meaningful to them. Of course, you’ll have to elicit the parents’ help to coordinate this, but I do find the effort to be worth it.
Find out more about this activity here: ESL Show and Tell.
#13: The Memory Circle
A fun way to help kindergarten kids remember new vocabulary items is to use the memory circle. The way it works is that you assign a certain topic such as body parts or animals. Then, the first student says a word (alligator). The next students says that word and then adds their own (alligator, tiger).
The game continues until one student can’t remember a word and they are “out.” Play for a certain amount of time or until the last person is standing. More information here:
#14: ESL Balls Games for Young Learners
#15: I’m an Alien
Try out this fun ESL kindergarten activity in your classes today. The way it works is that you pretend you’re an alien and don’t know anything about a certain thing. Then, your students have to explain to you in English what it’s all about. Of course, play it up and feign ignorance about basic things to make this activity more fun. Check it out here:
#16: Chain Spelling
If you’re teaching your kindy kids some new vocabulary words, then consider playing this fun ESL spelling game with them. Basically, it’s a “last person standing” challenge where a student has to add the next letter to a word. Want to try it out? Here are the details about it:
#17: ESL Telephone Game for Young Learners
A fun speaking, listening and pronunciation game you can play with your younger learners is telephone. The way it works is that students have to pass a phrase or sentence along the line and then at the end, compare it with the original. The results are usually hilarious!
Want to find out how to do it in your kindy TEFL classes? You can check it out here:
#18: 3 Fun Flashcard ESL Kindergarten Games
#19: Story Books
Kids LOVE reading stories and having stories read to them as well. Consider incorporating some popular English children’s books into your classes as it’s a natural way to learn English and have some fun too.
Remember that kindergarten kids don’t mind reading the same book over and over again so don’t be tempted to use too many of them. Instead, use just a few and let your students become familiar with them.
#20: Color Game for Kindergarten ESL
ESL Kindergarten ESL Lesson Plans
Okay, let’s be real. What teacher doesn’t like to save themselves a bit of time? If you’re seriously in the time crunch, then you may want to just print off one of these lesson plans for kindergarten and go. Here are some of the best resources:
ESL Kindergarten FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about teaching ESL to kindergarten students. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
How do I teach Kindergarten ESL?
Teaching ESL to kindergarten students is possible by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Develop a routine and use it consistently.
- Have clear rules and expectations for behaviour.
- Use lots of praise, encouragement and positive reinforcement.
- Use a variety of interactive ESL games and activities.
- Be sure to let students move around the classroom (TPR).
- Always set the context in any lesson.
How do you teach conversational English to kindergarten?
Teaching conversational English to kindergarten students starts by first teaching some basic vocabulary. Then, ask students simple questions like how they’re doing, what they did at school or at home and whether or not they liked, along with simple questions about their day like what they ate.
Is teaching ESL to kindergarten students difficult?
If you don’t share a language with the kindergarten students, it can be quite difficult to teach them, especially if you don’t have a co-teacher to assist you. However, it’s certainly possible by using things like pictures, video clips, stories, songs, chants, and simple games. Also, teach kindy kids how to read as soon as possible.
Did you Like these ESL Games for Kindergarten?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then the book you’re going to love is this one over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Kids. There are dozens of student-centred, engaging and fun activities and games that are your students are going to love.
The best part is that you can just open up the book and pick a couple of activities to adapt to almost any topic or grammar point in just a few minutes. Yes, it really is that easy to have better English classes today.
You can find the book in both digital and print formats. We recommend keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your teacher resource room to use as a handy reference guide when doing lesson plans. Or, consider taking a copy with you on your phone, tablet, or laptop to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go.
Do you want to find out more details? Head over to Amazon to pick yourself up a copy of the book today:
Have your Say about these ESL Kindergarten Games
What’s your top pick for a kindergarten ESL game or activity? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have another recommendation? 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 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API