If you’re looking for some of the best ESL sports activities and games, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for the best sport ESL ideas, including worksheets and lesson plans.
ESL Sports Activities and Games
Let’s get into the best sport-themed ESL activities to try out in your classes today.
#1: ESL Sports Running Dictation Game
If you’re teaching more advanced learners, then consider using running dictation. It’s one of the best ESL activities because it gets students out of their seats and moving around the classroom while using a range of skills.
In this case, find (or write) a conversation between two people talking about sports that they like to watch or play. Then, students have to work together to record the dictation that’s posted around the classroom. Next, they put the conversation into the correct order.
Try it out with your students today! Find out how to do it here:
#2: Hot Potato Game
If you want to have some fun and excitement in your classes, then Hot Potato might be one of the best ways to do that! The way it works is that students pass around a potato (or another classroom object) around the class and the person holding it when the timer goes off or the music stops has to do a task of some kind.
In this case, the task would be related to sports. Here are some of the options, depending on the level of your English learners:
- Name the sport on a flashcard
- Spell a sport, after you say it or after looking at a flashcard
- Look at a flashcard and make a sentence using an adverb or frequency and the sport
Want to give it a try with your English classes? Find out all the details:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 57 Pages - 10/26/2015 (Publication Date)
#3: Chain Spelling Vocabulary Review Game
If I’m teaching children or absolute beginners, I love to include some spelling practice in my classes. A fun way to do this is a game like this one.
All the students stand up and I say a target vocabulary word (or show a flashcard). Students have to take turns spelling it, letter by letter. If someone misses, they sit down and are out of the game. I set a time limit of 3 seconds (as counted down by my fingers) to keep the game moving along quickly. The winner is the last person left standing.
Want to give it a try in your classes? Find out all the details here:
#4: Sports English Vocabulary Game
#5: ESL Sport Guessing Game
This is a classic party game that involves trying to guess a secret word or person that you can’t see by asking questions. In this case, use sports! It’s fun, interactive and can be quite challenging. Of course, some people will guess their sports very quickly so be sure to have some extras for the early finishers.
Learn more about it here:
#6: Sports Board Games
In my real life, I love to play board games. That’s why I like to use them in my TEFL classes too. It’s super easy to make your own with just about any vocabulary set, grammar point or topic, including sports.
For some of the best ideas and examples of how to make your own ESL board games have a look here:
#7: ESL Sports Bingo
Who doesn’t love bingo, right? Except playing it the normal way where the teacher says a word and the students cross it off their paper doesn’t really have that much educational value to it beyond word recognition. Not to worry though, there is a way to play Bingo that’s heavy on the listening skills, and optionally, speaking too.
Curious to see how to do it? Check this out:
#8: Task-Based ESL Sport Activities
I love to include some task-based activities in most of my courses. They’re engaging, interactive and a nice change of pace from the usual communicative style of most current ESL textbooks.
In the case of sports, I generally do the following:
- Put students into groups of 3-4
- Have them choose a sport (this works particularly well if the Olympics are happening or are coming up)
- Do some research about the rules, popular athletes, equipment needed, etc.
- Make a poster or PowerPoint slide with a few details about it
- Do a short presentation to the class
- Answer some follow-up questions
#9: Can You ESL Sports Activity
#10: ESL Sports Survey
Just ask my students and they’ll tell you how much I love surveys. They’re interactive, cover a range of skills and are perfect for just about any topic, including sports, exercise or athletics. Sometimes you can find them in ESL textbooks of teacher resource books. However, if you can’t, it’s easy enough to make them in just a few minutes. Find out all the details about that:
#11: Telephone English Speaking Game
Do you remember playing this game when you were a kid? The way it works is that students have to pass a message down the line from person to person and then compare what they have at the end with the original one.
In this case, use lots of target sports or exercise vocabulary words in the original sentence. Learn how to do this activity:
#12: Sports ESL Charades
I love to play charades in my classes as a kind of vocabulary review. It’s perfect for this task and students usually really enjoy it. Find out how to adapt this popular game for the ESL classroom:
#13: Adverbs of Frequency and Sports
In many ESL textbooks, sports and words like sometimes, once in a while, never, etc. are combined in a single unit. Sports and these kinds of adverbs are a natural fit. For example, consider the following sentences:
- I play soccer once in a while.
- I’ve never tried curling.
- I like to do yoga a few times a week.
For more activity ideas, have a look at this article:
#14: Guess the Word ESL Sports
#15: Choose your Own Adventure ESL Sports Writing Activity
Group writing activities are few and far between but this is one of the best. In this case, require that students choose a sports-themed story and have a number of different outcomes based on what happened in the game.
It does require a bit of planning and work to set this up but the results make it worth it. Try it out with your classes today. You can find out everything you need to know about it here:
If I’m teaching kids, I’ll rarely go to class without a set of related flashcards! They’re super versatile and can be used for so many games and activities. Find out some of the best ideas:
#17: Dialogue Substitution
In many ESL books, new vocabulary is introduced through a dialogue. But, maybe your students are kind of like mine and just blow through it quickly without really paying attention to what they’re reading. Of course, it’s not their fault, it’s mine! The problem is that I haven’t given my students a reason to pay close attention.
It’s for this reason that I’ll sometimes remove some of the key words. This turns it from a very simple reading activity into one that involves meaning as well. Here’s how to do it:
#18: Picture Prompt
Unless teaching absolute beginners, it’s likely that most students already know some vocabulary related to sports or exercise. If this is the case, it’s helpful to help students activate this prior knowledge before jumping into the new stuff.
One of the best ways to do this is with this simple TEFL activity. Find a picture with lots of sports equipment or people playing a variety of sports. Then, have students tell you (or talk with a partner) about what they see. Find out all the options for this versatile ESL warmer:
This is another party game that’s easy to adapt to English class. The way the actual game works is that you have to describe a secret word but not use a set of related words. I’ve changed it a little bit but the mechanics of the game are quite similar. Learn how to do it here:
#20: Man/Woman on the Street Interview Activity
A fun way to make the usual (talking about sports) into something a bit more interesting is to do something like this interview-style activity. It’s interactive, engaging and students really enjoy it.
Sounds like exactly what you need for your classes to inject a little bit of enthusiasm? Have a look here:
Sports ESL Lesson Plans
There are lots of ESL sports lessons available online. Here are some of the top recommendations:
ESL Sports Worksheets
If you’re a teacher, then I know you want to save some time when planning your ESL sport lesson. The best way to do this is to use some sports worksheets that other teachers have made! Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to, right? Here are some of the best resources to check out:
ESL Sports Vocabulary
Here are some of the most common sports vocabulary words in English which you may want to teach your students:
- American rules football
- away team
- figure skating
- home team
- summer Olympics
- table tennis
- winter Olympics
Did you like these Sports Themed Activities
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities For Kids. The key to better English classes for children is a variety of interactive and engaging activities and games and this book will help you get there in style.
You can easily find the book in both digital and print formats. I recommend keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide when planning your ESL lessons. Or, take the e-version with you to your favourite coffee shop for some serious lesson planning on the go.
Either way, these ESL games and activities for kids is some ESL teaching awesome and you’re going to love it. Pick up the book for yourself on Amazon:
Have your say about ESL Sports Related Games and Activities
What’s your top pick for an ESL sport themed game or activity? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have another one that you’d like to recommend? 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