If you’re looking for some of the best learning numbers games and activities for ESL, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for some of the top picks for fun ESL numbers activities, along with worksheets and lesson plan recommendations.
Fun Numbers Games for ESL
Let’s get into the best activity ideas for fun with numbers.
#1: Numbers Whiteboard Race
I don’t exactly know why, but students (even adults) love to write on the whiteboard. That’s why I like to use some whiteboard races to teach numbers. I divide students into a few teams (depending on how big my whiteboard is) and have students line up behind their first player.
Depending on the level, you could ask students to do the following:
- Write down the number in response to a math question (4 plus 7, 2 times 4).
- Spell a number that you say.
- Write down a simple math equation that would work for the number that you say (7, 6+1).
The first students to do it correctly gets a point for their team. Continue on until everyone has had a chance to play.
#2: The Flyswatter Game
Try out this game if you want to have some fun in class! In this case, fill up the whiteboard with numbers and give some hints about them.
#3: Use Total Physical Response (TPR)
A nice option for teaching numbers to children is to use TPR. I like to get students up and out of their seats and this is a nice way to do that.
For teaching numbers, you could ask students to do the following:
- Hold up 6 fingers.
- Pick up 2 pencils.
- Stand on 1 foot.
#4: Picture Prompt
This is a really nice way to introduce a lesson on numbers. Have a picture that has a lot of stuff going on. Then elicit from students what they see (people, dogs). Ask how many people and how many dogs. You’ll get a nice idea of how confident students are with their numbers. Or, it makes a nice rounding off activity at the end of a lesson.
#5: Money and Banking Activities
If you want to take numbers to the next level, then consider teaching students about currency, money, and perhaps doing some simple role-plays for someone at a bank. Have a look here at some of my top picks:
#6: Hot Potato Numbers Game
If you want to create some fun and excitement in your class, then consider using the hot potato game. Students have to pass around an object and when the music stops, the person holding it has to do a task fo some kind. In this case, it should be related to numbers. Perhaps a math problem of some kind.
#7: Me Too
In this case, require that students make a sentence using a number. For example, I live with 3 other people. Or, I go to bed around 10.
#8: Include Numbers in the Warm-Up Routine
When I teach little kids, I love to have a routine that I begin each class with. I’ll ask a few basic questions such as what day of the week it is, what the weather is like, what people ate for breakfast, etc. You could also include some numbers questions like:
- How many students are in the class today?
- How many teachers did you see today?
This is a challenging listening activity for slightly higher-level students. Just find (or write) a passage that contains numerous instances of the target numbers. Learn more about it here:
#10: Use the Test Teach Test Approach
Unless students are absolute beginners, they likely already know at least some of the easier numbers. That’s why I like to use this approach to find out what my students know, so I can tailor the lesson to what they don’t. Learn how I do it:
Test Teach Test Approach to Teaching English.
#11: Dialogue Substitution
#12: Chain Spelling
A nice way to work on numbers spelling is to use chain spelling. It turns something kind of boring into something a bit more fun because of the competitive element. Find out all the details you need to know here:
#13: Numbers Board Game
A fun activity that is very student-centred is to make a numbers board game that students can play in small groups. In this case, fill the board with simple math problems (1 + 5 = _____). Then, students have to answer the question when they land on that space.
It really is so easy to make your own game in just a few minutes. Find out how here:
Students have to take turns adding a 1, 2, or 3 to zero. The first person to hit 21 loses the game. Play a few rounds.
#15: Language Drilling Ideas
Numbers are one of those things that should be drilled because students should be able to recall them without even thinking about it. Here are some of my top ideas for helping language concepts become automatic:
#16: Daily Schedule
A nice idea for slightly higher-level students is to focus on learning how to tell time. Daily schedules are a natural fit! Here are some of my ideas:
#17: Draw a Picture
Try out this hilarious game! Find a picture of an alien or monster with lots of eyes, arms, etc. Then, one student will have to describe to the other one how to draw it. Check it out:
#18: Teaching Kids New Words
#19: Don’t Say It
This is a classic drinking game that can be used to teach numbers as well. Designate a certain number that students shouldn’t say. Instead they should clap. Students all stand up in a circle.
For example, students should say any number with a 2 in it. You have to count up from 4. It would go: 0, 4, 8, clap, 16, etc. If a students makes a mistake, this sit down and are out of that round.
#20: Make a Group
This is a numbers activity that needs some space. Tell students to make groups of various sizes and they have to move around the classroom and do it.
Online Games with Numbers
There are lots of fun number games online that I like to recommend to my students.
ESL Numbers Lesson Plans
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time it can save to use materials that other teachers have created. Here are some of the top picks for teaching numbers lessons:
Worksheets for Learning Numbers
Check out some of my favourite options for numbers ESL worksheets:
More Ideas for Teaching English
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 131 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent...
The key to better ESL/EFL classes is a wide variety of interactive and engaging games and activities. Have dozens of student-centred ideas for lesson plans at your fingertips in this book: 101 ESL Activities for Kids.
Pick up a copy of the book today and get ready for better English lessons tomorrow:
Numbers Activities: Join the Conversation
Do you have any favourite number games or activities that you like to use in TEFL classes? Leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Last update on 2022-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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