Ten 5-Minute Activites
to Keep Young ESL/EFL Learners
Anyone who has worked with Young Learners
is well aware of how active children can be. As children have lots of extra energy and tend to have shorter attention spans than older learners, it is important for the teachers to develop a series of ‘up the sleeve’ activities to Keep Their
classes moving at a good pace and to Keep
the children ‘on Their
toes’. This article includes a variety of five minute activities which help spice up the EFL class and maintain children’s attention.
Odd one out. Draw a circle, a square, the number 3 and a triangle on the board. Encourage the children to identify the image that does not belong (the number 3). Repeat this with new drawings or using flashcards/activity cards.
What’s missing? Write 4 or 5 numbers on the board. Tell the children ‘Close your eyes’ and rub out one of the numbers. Children open Their
eyes and must say the number that is missing. Once they have played a few times, encourage children to come to the front of the class and rub out the numbers. This can also be done with pictures or flashcards.
What is number three? Draw 3 or 4 classroom objects or animals on the board. Write random numbers (from 1-10) next to the pictures. Ask questions such as “What is number 7?” Ss: It’s a cat! “What number is monkey?” Ss: Three!! Point to pictures and ask: Is it a (mouse)?
What is it? Begin drawing a picture on the board (for example, a mouse) but draw it very, very slowly stopping every once in a while for students to guess what you are going to draw. Ask ‘What is it?’
Physical Response Activities
Please... Tell the children that they are going to play a game. They must only do the actions if the teacher says the word ‘please’. For example, say Please stand up (children stand up), please jump (children jump), close your eyes (children shouldn’t close Their
eyes as the word please was not said).
Human numbers. Encourage the children to make numbers with Their
body. Say a number, the children try to form the number. Once they have done this a few times, they can try to form numbers with other members of the class.
Mime and guess. Encourage different children to come to the front of the class and mime an emotion (bored, happy, sad, frightened). The other children guess the emotion then act out the emotion.
Back drawing. Encourage the children to draw a number from 1-20 on Their
partner’s back. Their
partner tries to guess the number then draws a number on the other child’s back.
Count around the room. Tell the children to count from 1-20 taking turns saying the numbers. Establish the order in which the children will count before they begin. When the children reach 20 see if they can count backwards (20,19,18...).
Body Connectors. Place the children in pairs or groups of 3. Give commands such as ‘Hand to hand’ (children put Their
hands together). Later, add commands such as Hand to arm, Arm to foot. Option: When the children have played a few rounds tell them that when you call out “body connectors” that they should change partners.
When working with large groups of Young Learners
it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. Children, like adults, are unpredictable hence, as teachers, we should always be ready to change the pace of the class and channel the children’s energy.
Have fun and good luck keeping them on Their