Are you looking for a quick warm-up activity or “get to know you” icebreaker activity for your English classes? Yes? Thought so.
Then you’ll want to consider the popular party game, the “Never Have I Ever” icebreaker. And yes, you can do this game without using inappropriate questions or statements! Keep on reading for all the details you need to know about how to play the I have Never game with your English learners.
Never Have I Ever for ESL/EFL Students
Time: 10-20 minutes
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Materials Required: Nothing
Never have I ever ESL Game is taken from the classic party game that you can play in your ESL speaking classes as well. The way it works is that students think of a few things that they haven’t done but that they think others in the class have.
For example, maybe someone hasn’t been to Japan or China but most of the people in the class probably have. Or, perhaps someone has never tried Indian or Vietnamese food. If you have higher level classes, no thinking time is really necessary, but with intermediate students, you might have to give them a few minutes of time before you start the activity so that they can prepare.
You could also elicit a few possible categories such as food, travel, hobbies, free time, etc. if you feel this activity will challenge your students too much when open-ended.
One of the reasons I like it so much is that it’s a no-preparation, no-materials required English activity. It’s always good to have a few of these in your back pocket in case you get a last minute class thrown at you. And this have you ever activity certainly fits the bill.
Never Have I Ever Icebreaker For Big Classes
The first student starts with one of their statements, saying, “Never have I ever _____. ” The other students listen and if they have done it, they get a point. You can get students to show if they have done something by raising their hands. I usually get students to keep track of points themselves by writing a tick on their paper or in their notebook.
The I Have Never Game For Smaller Classes
If you have a small class, you can appoint a captain to keep track of scores on the board. You go around the room until everyone has said at least one statement (for big classes) or a couple of them (smaller classes) and then tally up the final points.
Whoever has the most points is the “winner” and the person who has had the most interesting life so far! If you have a large class, it’s best to divide students up until groups of 7-10.
Some Good Examples of Statements
Here are a few examples you can give your students to get their creative juices flowing:
- “Never have I ever blamed someone else for something bad I did.”
- Had braces
- Spit in public
- Burned myself with a curling iron
- Cooked a 3-course meal
- Crashed a party
- Gotten a bad sun burn
- Dyed my hair an unusual color
- Lost my wallet
- Failed a class
- Had a physical fight
Do you have any favourite Never Have I Ever statements that you like to use? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Procedure for Never Have I Ever:
- Give students time to prepare 2-3 statements; the amount of time depends on the level of your students. They need to think of things that they’ve never done, but which they think their classmates have.
- The first student says one of their statements. If someone else has done it, they put up their hand to signify this and they get one point. I usually have students keep track of the points themselves or appoint a captain to do this.
- The next person can say their statement and you follow the same procedure, until everyone has said at least one statement. You can also continue until you’ve done two or three rounds, depending on your class size.
- The person with the most points has had the most interesting life.
No-Prep, No-Materials Activity
Do you ever have last-minute classes thrown at you a few minutes before it’s happening? Every teacher does! That’s why it’s ideal to have ESL activities like this one in your back pocket.
The best part is that they require no preparation or materials. Just an idea to try out with your students.
And, of course, you can use this game in any language: Spanish, Korean, etc. And it doesn’t even have to be for language learners. It makes a nice icebreaker for any group of people.
Never Have I Ever For Kids or Teens: Is it Possible?
If you’ve played this game with your friends before, you may know that it can get a little bit racy, and end up with lots of statements that of a very personal nature. That may lead you to believe that it can’t work with kids. However, that’s not the case and you can certainly play a G-rated version of this activity with children.
Here are some Never Have I Ever kids questions that your students could use. As you can see, these questions would certainly work for teenagers as well.
- Never have I ever cheated on a test.
- …cried during a movie or TV show.
- …gotten gum on my hair or something stuck in my nose or ear.
- …broken a bone.
- …stayed up all night.
- …had a sleepover.
- …thrown up from eating too much junk food.
As you can see, it’s the kids or teen version of Never Have I Ever is entirely possible!
Do you Like this ESL Speaking Activity?
If you like this ESL speaking activity, then you’re going to love this even more. Check out this book on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. It’s the book that belongs on every English teacher’s personal bookshelf. More than 100 useful games and activities for ESL/EFL students. Make your classes interesting, engaging and fun while reducing lesson planning time.
Check out the book for yourself on Amazon. It’s available in both print and digital formats. The digital copy can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. You can have top-quality ESL activities at your fingertips wherever you go.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 146 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
Never Have I Ever for English Learners
Do you want to see this ESL activity in action? Check out this fun party game in action in an English class. There are some excellent never have I ever examples, and never have I ever kid questions in it.
Have your Say about Never Have I Ever
What do you think about using this popular party game for your ESL classes? Have you tried out the have you ever game before with your English learners? How did it go? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us. We’d love to hear from you.
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Never Have I Ever Card Game PDF
If you’ve played Cards Against Humanity, then you may be looking for a similar game. Once that’s becoming quite popular these days is based on this traditional party game. You can download the PDF file right here and make your own card game:
Last update on 2020-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API