Do you want to help your students remember each other’s names (and you too)? Here’s a simple name game for helping your students (and you) with learning names. It’s challenging, a little bit competitive and quite effective at breaking the ice too! Read on for one of the best ideas for a name game icebreaker to try out with your students.
The best part? This name game icebreaker for adults works equally well with kids. In fact, almost any class could try it out. This is good news because names games for adults often seem a bit juvenile. This certainly isn’t the case for this one though and it’s an excellent learning names game for any age of student. Try out this icebreaker name game today.
Name Game Activity
Skills: Speaking/ Listening
Time: 10-15 minutes
Materials Required: Nothing
Age: Children, teens, or adults
In short, this is one of the best name game icebreakers that is a super versatile activity. It can be used for a variety of students in almost any country or situation. Almost any level or age of students can play it, as long as you adapt it a little bit. That makes it one of the best icebreakers to learn names.
Try out this icebreaker name game for yourself and have some fun with it! We love to have activities like this in our back pocket that can be used with any group of students and require nothing in the way of materials or preparation time.
Name Learning Activity
A way that you can get your students to remember names (and you too!) is to do this simple ice breaker speaking activity.
Go around the class, and have students say, “My name is ______and I like _______.” The next student repeats the previous ones, and adds their own.
It goes on until it finally gets to you and you can impress the students with your memorization abilities! It works best for smaller classes of less than 10.
For more advanced students, you can choose something more difficult than “I like,” such as “My name is _________ and last weekend, I __________.” Besides remembering names, you can also use this activity to work on regular/irregular verbs.
I usually finish off the activity by repeating all the sentences (if I can!). If I can’t, the students are usually very happy to help me out with the ones that I’ve missed.
Useful for Teaching Basic Grammar or Vocabulary Too
For example, if you just did a unit about animals, you could have each student choose an animal and go around the circle saying, “I like tigers, he likes elephants, and she likes cats.”
This also covers subject-verb agreement (I like, she likes).
As you can see, it works much better for beginner students than higher-level ones. However, if you’re using it for a name game icebreaker, it’ll work for any level.
My #1 Teaching Tip for Name Game Icebreakers
Unless you have a freakishly good memory, you’ll want to write down what the students say on a piece of paper. Something simple like John-pizza. You will most certainly be the one that students look to in case someone forgets something and it’s easy to get flustered and call a student by the wrong name or something like that.
As a fun way to finish this activity, go around the circle. If you forget, it’s usually not a big deal and I find that the students love to help me (especially kids) so I just ask them.
More Ideas for Teaching English
Did you like this icebreaker name game? Then you’re going to love this book filled with similar activities!
Get your courses started off on the right foot with some engaging, interesting and fun ESL icebreakers. They’ll help your students get to know each other and you get to know them.
Why Use Icebreakers?
I find that using some icebreakers at the beginning of the course sets it up for success for the following weeks and months. Sounds great, right? It is. A class or two of icebreakers can certainly make a big difference in terms of the atmosphere for the rest of them.
If you need some ideas, then you’ll want to check out this book on Amazon: 39 ESL Icebreakers. There are dozens of activities and games to choose from.
Available in a Variety of Formats
The book is available in both print and digital formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office as a handy reference tool. Or, the digital version on your phone or tablet for lesson planning at your favourite coffee shop. It really is that easy.
Detailed, Step-by-Step Instructions
Each activity starts off with a brief overview so that you can see, at a quick glance whether or not it’ll work for you. Then, you’ll find detailed, step-by-step instructions for how to prep for the activity and then what to actually do with your students. Finally, don’t forget to read the teaching tips that will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes for each specific activity.
Get the Book Today
Sounds like some ESL awesome? Is it exactly what you need for your upcoming classes? Learn more about 39 ESL Icebreakers for Teenagers and adults on Amazon:
Need More Names Games for Kids or Adults?
Are you looking for some more ice breaker name games that you can use with your students? Besides this one we’ve just talked about, there are a myriad or others to choose from. Here are just a few of our favourites:
Name Learning Games FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about learning name activities. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
Why use name games in ESL classes?
Name games help students remember each other’s names, build rapport, and practice pronunciation and listening skills.
What’s a simple name game icebreaker for ESL beginners?
“Name Bingo” – Students walk around asking each other’s names, filling out a bingo sheet with the names they gather.
How do learning name games promote language learning?
Name games encourage conversation, vocabulary acquisition, and familiarity with common greetings.
Are there name games suitable for all age groups?
Yes, adaptable games like “Two Truths and a Lie” can work well with both kids and adults.
How can learning name activities improve pronunciation?
Repeating names aloud helps students practice sounds and intonation patterns of the English language.
Can name games be incorporated into virtual ESL classes?
Absolutely, using icebreaker questions like “What’s the story behind your name?” can engage students online.
Do name game icebreakers only focus on names?
No, they often lead to broader conversations about hobbies, interests, and personal experiences.
What’s an example of an intermediate-level name game?
“Name Chain” – Each student says their name, a hobby, and the name of the previous student, forming a chain.
Have your Say about this What’s your Name Game
What’s your favourite way to help your students remember each other’s names? Do you have a favourite ice breaker name game? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.