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Online ESL Games For Kids


Silly banana is a fun drilling game used in the classroom. But we can adjust this can to suit our online classroom, and students love it!

To play this game, all you're going to need are some flashcards of the vocabulary you want to practice and one silly banana flashcard. You don't need to use fruit flashcards and your 'Silly Banana' flashcards can simply be a distinctive flashcard that stands out from the rest.

  1. Start by introducing the flashcards one by one using TPR and chants as you do. If you're not sure how to use TPR and chants in your class, check out my TPR video.

  2. Next, introduce the silly banana flashcard and explain that if students see this flashcard, they need to touch their nose and say beep beep.

  3. Shuffle the flashcards together and show them one by one, using a target sentence structure where appropriate. "What fruit do you like? I like apples. What fruit do you like? I like grapes. What fruit do you like? Beep beep!"

  4. Once students have seen the silly banana and completed the action, shuffle the cards and go again. Keep going until you think all the vocabulary has been practiced.

For the classroom version of this game, be sure to watch the Silly Banana video.


For this activity, all you're going to need is a die and some flashcards of the vocabulary you want to teach. If you don't have a die, then don't worry; you can use a pen and paper to create number cards and have your students shout STOP as you shuffle instead.

  1. Start by introducing the vocabulary one by one using TPR and chants as you do. If you're unsure how to use TPR in your classroom, check out my video on TPR linked below.

  2. Shuffle the cards using a small chant as you do, and then pick one card and show it to the class.

  3. Next, ask your student to roll the die. If you're teaching large groups online and using number cards instead of an online die, you can have the whole class count to ten together and then stop shuffling once they get to number ten.

  4. Whatever number the die lands on is the number of times students will say that word out loud. Make sure you are saying the word with students using the action you have just taught them.

  5. Next, pick another flashcard, roll the die and go again. Keep going until you have been through all the flashcards.

In this example, I have used this game to drill vocabulary words. Still, you can add in target sentence structures if your students are at a higher level.


For this game, all you need are some flashcards of the vocabulary you want to practice.

  1. Start by introducing the flashcards one by one, of course using TPR and chants as you do.

  2. Next, you're going to shuffle the flashcards and then very quickly flash one card to the camera and then quickly cover it again. The students need to observe and see if they can name the flashcard that was shown.

  3. Once students guess the correct flashcard, have them practice your target sentence structure and then go again. Keep going until all the cards have been practiced.


This game is a little like The Flash, and all you're going to need are some flashcards of the vocabulary you want to practice

  1. Once again, introduce the flashcards one by using TPR and chants as you do.

  2. Next, you're going to take one flashcard and cover it using another.

  3. Very slowly, start revealing that flashcard bit by bit as your student tries to guess what the flashcard is.

  4. Once they have guessed correctly, they can practice the target sentence structure

  5. Pick another flashcard, and go again.


For this activity, all you need are flashcards of the vocabulary you want to practice.

  1. Start by introducing the flashcards one by one, using TPR and chants as you do.

  2. Next, shuffle the cards and explain to your students that we will practice the words in silly voices.

  3. Start by indicating the silly voice you want students to use, for example, a high voice, and show them a card. Repeat the word using the silly voice five times and then show another card.

  4. Keep going until you have practiced all the new words.

With this game, you can mix the silly voices and the number of times you say a word. You could even combine with the dice game and have students roll a die to see how many times they say a word in a particularly silly voice.


Suppose we are teaching large groups of students. In that case, trying to interact with every student individually just isn't going to work. You need to think about your class as more of performance on camera than a class. This doesn't hold for small groups or one-on-one lessons. In those situations, you can interact with students more without losing everyone's attention. But in large groups of students, there are some things you can do to connect with students. One of the most important ones is eye contact.

New online teachers tend to make the mistake of looking at the pictures of their students on the screen when talking and listening to them. Still, for the students, this looks like you're looking down and not at them. We need to make every student feel like we are talking to them, and eye contact is a huge part. So, although it feels unnatural, look into the camera when teaching as this is where your students' eyes are. If you need help setting up your online teaching videos, be sure to check out my online teaching tips video where I go through some easy steps tp get you looking great on camera.

Secondly, you need to remember to smile! A lot, all the time. Think about children's TV presenters and how much they exaggerate their facial features. They do this because it helps to connect with children over the camera. It's really easy to concentrate on bringing up different pictures o trying to click on various things on screen to forget that your students are watching you. So remember to smile and look at the camera as much as possible.

Lastly, transitions become very important. If you're not sure what you're doing next in your lesson and start to um and ah as you try to find your flashcards or the right screen, you lose that connection with your students. Try some filers instead. For example, try praising students for longer than usual as you get organized. Or try counting down from ten before introducing something new. Even a simple finger play song can help keep students' attention while you prepare the next step of your lesson.

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Phonics Materials:

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1 comment

1 comentário

Merve Biçer
Merve Biçer
14 de fev. de 2021

I really liked your ideas and will try them immediately! Thanx a lot!

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