If you’re looking for the best there is there are ESL activities and games, then you’re certainly in the right place. We have more than 20 of them that are engaging, student-centred and fun. Plus, you can check out our recommendations for there is there are worksheets, lesson plans and other resources.
There Is There Are Activities and Games for ESL/EFL
Let’s get into the best ESL there is there are games and activities.
#1: Describe the Picture
This is a classic activity for ESL there is there are. Find a picture with lots of objects in it. Then, put students into pairs and they have to take turns making sentences related to it. For example: ‘
- There are some pencils on the desk.
- There’s a book under the bed.
- There isn’t any sports equipment in the boy’s room.
This can also be done as a teacher-led warmer activity to help activate students’ prior knowledge. Ask students what they see. They may shout out “pencils.” Then, the teacher can reframe that into a grammatically correct sentence using the target grammar, “There are 3 pencils.” Emphasize “are” and the plural “s.”
#2: TEFL Basketball Challenge
Try out this fun game for just about any grammar point or vocabulary set, including this one! The main requirement is that you have a classroom with a lot of space or access to a gymnasium.
Students have to make sentences using there is and there are related to flashcards in front of them, using the target grammar. I generally require that students must make sentences that pay attention to both form and meaning. Find out more about how to play it here:
#3: Hot Potato
Try out this “there is, there are” exercise with your students:
#4: Typhoon There is There are Game
This game is a nice way to review there is there are ESL. There are a few different ways to do it:
- Ask students questions related to things in the classroom (Are there any pencils on the floor?)
- Ask questions related to the school in general (Is there a library here?)
- Questions related to a picture (Are there any animals?)
Try it out and I’m sure your students will love it as much as mine do!
#5: Dialogue Substitution
Maybe your students are kind of like mine. If I ask them to read a dialogue from the textbook with a partner, they just blow through it without really paying attention to what they’re reading. Of course, that’s my fault and not theirs! I haven’t given them a reason to read.
The better way is to remove some of the key words. In this case, the ones that are related to the target grammar. For example:
- There ____ 5 people.
- There are 2 _____ but there _____ any dogs.
This turns a simple reading exercise into one that focuses on meaning as well. Check it out:
Find out more about one of my favourite there is/there are exercises:
#6: There is There are ESL Board Game
I love to play board games in real life, which is why I like to use them in my English classes as well. It’s easy to make my own in just a few minutes.
For this unit, I fill up the board with various questions that lead to students using “there is” and “there are.” I make ones that are related to things in the classroom or around the school. For example:
- Are there any good places to eat on campus?
- Is there a quiet place to study here?
Find out all the details you need to know about making your own:
#7: Preposition Activities
Prepositions and common classroom objects are a perfect fit for this grammar point. You can get students to make sentences like:
- There are 3 pencils under the desk.
- There’s a marker on the table.
- There is some water in that bottle.
Find out more ideas here:
#8: Fun ESL Games for Teaching Grammar
#9: Countable and Uncountable Nouns
These kinds of nouns can be a little bit tricky! Some students just get it, while others struggle with it because it’s a little bit abstract. I think it sometimes depends on the first language and whether there is a similar concept, or not.
Whether something is a countable or uncountable noun directly related to whether or not it’s considered singular or plural and whether to use “is,” or “are.” Here are some examples:
- There isn’t any water in the glass.
- There’s a bottle of water on the counter.
- There aren’t any grains of rice left on the plate.
- There isn’t much rice.
As you can see, it does get a bit tricky! Find out some of my top ideas:
#10: ESL Charades
This is one of the best there is there are games that’s perfect for this unit if you make some simple sentences that students have to act out. For example:
- There are 3 basketballs.
- There is a glass of water on the table.
Check it out:
#11: Error Correction Relay Race
This is a challenging listening activity that’s perfect for higher-level students. Find, or write a passage containing lots of the target grammar.
Put students into pairs and then read it out at a faster than normal pace. Students can take notes and then compare with their partners to try to recreate what they just heard. Repeat the process. Then, students can compare what they have with the original version. Find out more about it:
#13: Running Dictation
This is one of my favourite ESL games because it covers various skills in a single activity. Plus, it can be adapted to just about any grammatical point, including this one.
Find, or write a conversation between two people using lots of the target grammar. Then, students have to work together to dictate the conversation, sentence by sentence. After that, they have to put the conversation in the correct order. The first team to do this correctly is the winner. Check it out:
#14: Sentence Structure Activities
Time spent building better sentences is never wasted time in a language class! For ESL there are there is, there are some tricky things to keep track of, particularly with the negative forms. Add in quantifiers and it’s easy to see why students can make mistakes with this.
If you want to work on sentences, here are some of my top recommendations:
#15: Ideas for Teaching ESL Speaking
#16: Using the Test Teach Test Approach
Unless students are absolute beginners, it’s likely they may already be familiar with the concept that you’re teaching them. There is and there are certainly could be one of those things because they’re taught early on in the English learning journey.
Consider using the test-teach-test approach. Give students a test/task of some kind to find out how much they already know and then target the lesson to what they don’t. Want to give it a try? Find out all the details here:
#17: Speaking Fluency Activity
This is a simple activity that helps students work on their speaking fluency. I get students to talk about what their bedroom looks like because it will lead to students using “there is” and “there are.”
For the first round, students have to speak for 2 minutes without stopping. Their partner has to ask 1-2 follow-up questions in order to encourage active listening. Then, they switch roles.
After that, students switch partners and have to repeat the process. Except that they have to give all the same information in just 90 seconds. Do it again in 60 seconds.
#18: Vocabulary Auction
If you want to have a great class, then consider using vocabulary auction! It’s one of the best there is games out there.
Write a bunch of sentences that use the target grammar. Cut them up into individual words. In teams, students have to bid on the words that they think will help them make grammatically correct sentences. After that, there’s a trading time.
Finally, students try to make as many sentences as possible. It does require a bit of preparation time but it’s perfect if you can reuse this activity for multiple classes. Find out how to do it:
#19: Puzzle Finder
I like to use this ESL activity for absolute beginners. Write some simple sentences:
- There is a dog.
- There are some books.
- There’s a pencil.
- There aren’t any socks.
Put one half of each sentence on a puzzle piece and the other half on a corresponding one. Students have to circulate around the class, trying to find their match. Learn how to do it:
#20: Picture Prompt
#21: Draw a Picture
This is a fun activity that leads into using there is and there are. Find a picture of an alien or monster. Then, a student has to describe what they see to their partner who has to draw it. This will lead to sentences like:
- There is a really big head.
- There are 4 arms.
Want to give it a try? Here are some tips:
#22: Rock Scissor Paper
This is a simple question/answer review game that works well for this. Students get a mix of questions and answers and then have to circulate around the classroom, trying to find their matches. Once they do this, they play rocks scissor paper to see who gets to keep both the slips of paper and gets one point.
Find out more about it:
#23: Got to Hand it to You Error Correction Activity
This is a simple error correction activity that relies on teamwork to make it more interesting and a little bit competitive. Make a worksheet filled with errors related to the target grammar. Then, students have to work together to fix the errors. Learn how to do it:
There Is There Are Worksheets
If you’re looking for some worksheets for there is and there are, here are some of my favourites to check out:
There Are There Is Lesson Plans
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time it can save to use lessons that other teachers have already created. Here are some of the top options for there is there are ESL lessons:
There Is and There Are FAQs
There are many common questions that people have about teaching this important English grammar concept. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
How do you teach there is there are ESL?
You can teach there is there are ESL by explaining the basic rules (there is for a singular noun and there are for a plural noun, with an S). However, there are exceptions for some nouns like people or feet. Then, do some practice exercises, worksheets, games and activities to reinforce this concept.
How do you explain there is and there are to kids?
The best way to explain there is and there to kids is through using pictures and simple sentences. Show a picture with a monkey and the sentence: There is a monkey. Then, have a picture with 5 monkeys and the sentence: There are 5 monkeys.
What are some ESL games and activities for teaching there is/there are?
Here are some of the best ESL games and activities for teaching there is/there are:
- Running dictation.
- Picture prompt.
- Board games.
- Vocabulary auction.
Did you Like these ESL Activities?
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- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
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Have your Say about Teaching There Is There Are
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Last update on 2022-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API