12 Enjoyable Speaking Games for Language Learners
Here are a few fun activities to get your learners to speak. This
- Who’s Telling the Truth? Have each learner write three facts about themselves that nobody in the class knows on a piece of paper. Make sure each learner includes their name on the top. Collect the papers and bring three learners to the front of the room. Read aloud one of the facts true for one of these three learners.
All 3 say that the fact is theirs, and the class questions them to ascertain who is being truthful and who is not. Each learner can ask one question to one of the three learners. After a round of questioning, the learners guess who is being truthful.
- Variations on the game Taboo: In variation 1, you create a presentation with a noun on each slide. Have one learner come to the front of the room and sit with their back to the PowerPoint. The rest of the learners take turns describing the words on the slides, and the learner at the front has to guess them.
For variation 2, separate the learners into groups of four or five. Place the cards with random nouns in the center of each group. Have learners take turns describing a noun for their group members to guess. The member who guesses correctly keeps the card, so there’s a competition to see who has the most cards.
Variation 3 is for sophisticated speakers. Separate the class into two teams. Pupils are given a word to describe to their teammates and a list of words they cannot use in their description. Each learner should have two to three minutes to see how many words their teammates can guess.
- Descriptive drawing activity: Pair up the learners and give each learner a picture, placing it face down. They must illustrate the picture for their partner to draw.
- Comic strip descriptions: Give each learner a portion of a comic strip. Without showing their pictures, the learners should attempt to describe their images and put the comic strip into the correct order. After ten minutes, the learners can guess the order, show each other their portion, and see if they were correct.
- Secret word: Students are given a topic and a random word unrelated to the topic. The learners must hide the word in a speech about the topic—they’re trying to ensure the other learners can’t guess the secret word. The other learners listened carefully to the speech and attempted to guess the secret word.
- Debates: Give each learner a piece of paper with “agree” written on one side and “disagree” on the other. Read aloud a provocative statement, and have each learner hold up their paper showing the agree or disagree side depending on their opinion. Choose one learner from each side to explain their position and participate in a short debate.
- Impromptu speaking: Arrange a list of topics that learners will be able to talk about. Split the class into teams, and have each learner choose a number—that’s the order they will go in. Each learner will respond to a statement without preparation. They must continue speaking for 45 seconds. The other team listens for hesitation and grammatical and vocabulary mistakes as the learner speak. If the other team can identify an error, they get the point.
- Desert island activity: Give each learner a piece of paper and ask them to draw an item—any item. Pick up the drawings and pass them out again; no learner should receive their own drawing.
Next, tell the learners they’ve been stranded on an island, and only half of the class can survive and thrive on the island. The only thing each learner will have on the island is the item shown in the drawing given to them, and the goal is to convince the class that they must survive based on that item.
- Storytelling activity: Bring four learners to the front of the class. Three of them must sit in a row, and one must stand behind them and act as a manager. Give the manager a stack of cards with nouns written on them.
The control will hand a noun to one of the three learners, who will start to tell a story. The learner continues telling the story until the manager decides to hand another noun to another learner, who will then take over the story.
- Two Truths, One Lie: Each learner should write 3 statements about themselves on a piece of paper. 2 of them must be true, and one must be a lie. Learners read their three statements, and their classmates question them to determine which statement is a lie.
- True/false storytelling: Give each learner a piece of paper with either “true” or “false” written. Each learner should tell the class a true or false story, depending on which word they received, and the class should guess whether it’s true. To improve the activity, you can permit the other learners to question the learner telling the story.
- I Have Never…: All learners in the class should begin this activity by raising five fingers in the air. The learner who goes first tells the class one thing they have never done. The learners who have done that activity should put a finger down and tell the class a story about this activity. A learner is out of the game when all their fingers are down.