ESL teenage games – 2020

esl games for teenagers

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) is challenging enough on its own, but teaching teenagers is even trickier! Preparing classes, collecting materials, and setting up creative learning methods are just some of the daily hassles of teaching ESL to teens. Their attention span is short, and engaging them takes time. But numerous ESL teaching games make classes more fun, engaging, and productive. 

If you are an ESL teacher targeting teenagers as your students, engaging them in interactive games will surely boost progress. 

Benefits of using games to teach ESL to teenagers

  1. Games provide an alternative way to teach language in a meaningful and useful way.
  2. It motivates the students and reduces stress while concentrating.
  3. It is more engaging and practical for real communications
  4. Games promote interactions
  5. ESL games improve learning acquisition

There are many other benefits of incorporating games into the learning process. It is also a welcome break from the mundane learning routine. So if you want to create meaningful contexts in language learning in an interactive way, here are a few ESL games you can practice with teenagers.

These 5 ESL games are easy to set up, and you can do it in a classroom or while teaching online. These different games that can be played with teenagers while teaching ESL were tried and tested on many students between the ages of 13 to 17. It is an excellent way to ease the tension and get them engaged. 

esl teenage games

  1. Charades

Charades is a classic party game that a lot of people around the world play. It is a word or phrase guessing game where a person will act out a syllable, a word, or a sentence, and the other person or people guess what it is. 

As for ESL classes, you can act our words and phrases you have taught before. It is a fun way to recollect and verbalize learned materials. It is especially fun for teenagers as they are always eager to learn new ways to have fun in and out of class. You can motivate them to play this game by emphasizing that it is excellent for breaking the ice at parties.

  1. Hot Potato

For this game, you will need to use a timer and pass on an object. Once the timer goes off, whoever is holding the object has to do something. For this, you can incorporate questions based on different themes. For example, if you are on the topic of directions, the person holding the object has to answer questions as to where something or someone is. 

Examples of questions to someone holding the “hot potato” are:

  • Where is the principal?
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Where did your mother go?

The one holding it has to reply by giving directions to these places.

This game will keep the teens on their feet, but it will help them articulate their words and sentences faster. It is a productive game for making the students genuinely interact through this fun language exercise.

  1. Role-Playing

Another fun game you can play while learning a language is role-playing games. There are several ways to use role-playing to make it educational. 

The first is by switching roles. You can ask your student to be the teacher while you listen. Or you can create a scenario and ask them to take the part of a character. Scenes such as customer and salesman, waiter and diner, etc., are a great way to teach them practical ways to learn language skills.

You can set up different settings, such as:

  • A phone call to a friend asking about a job position
  • At a store where a mother and daughter are looking for a birthday dress
  • At a job interview
  • Two neighbors sharing gossip over a cup of tea or coffee

Scenarios can depend on the subject you have taught. You can theme it based on directions, inquiries, expressing emotions, and real-life situations.

esl teenage games

  1. Change the Ending

This game is a fun way for teenagers to learn how to express ideas and explore their imagination in another language. The rule of the game is to come up with alternate endings to a story.

To set it up, share a popular story that everyone is familiar with. It can be fables and fairytales that everyone has heard of. For example, recount the story of Cinderella, Snowhite, or any popular fiction to them in short. Write down the titles and ask the students to pick an account. Then tell them to come up with an alternate ending to the story that they select.

This game can either be played in writing or orally. You can tell the students to recount the story, but the ending has to be different. That way, they can come up with funny, mysterious, or ridiculous conclusions. It is exciting for the listener as well as the speaker. 

  1. Commercial Time

For this game, you will need to pick random items and put them in a bag without telling the students. Explain to them that they are the owner of a business company, and they need to promote their products. Let the students pick an item from the bag and pretend that they are the owners. 

You have to ask them about the product that they pick. What would you say about the product, how would you describe it and what would you do to convince the customers to buy it. 

This game will teach them how to use words to come up with catchy slogans, play around with phrases, and learn new ways to describe things.

The game requires minimal preparation, allowing the students to get creative, and they always love it.


Before starting any of the games, make sure you mentally prepare your students with motivational talk so that they feel comfortable speaking. The point of these games is to prepare them to use their newly-acquired language skills at a practical level practically. You can always improvise the games in ways that will benefit the students most. Hopefully, they grasp the importance of the games and feel more engaged in the ESL class! We hope you enjoyed our article on ‘esl teenage games’ if you enjoyed this article please check out more on our blog section! 

Alternatively check our friends website who also has a great list of activities for ESL teenage games.