I Spy ESL Vocabulary Game

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Have you ever played the I Spy ESL Game with younger learners? The activity is a simple yet effective way to improve your students’ listening and speaking skills. It also can be a fun method for reviewing vocabulary and increasing interaction in class.

Student Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Age Group: Kids

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I Spy ESL Game

I Spy ESL Game Preparation:

To prepare for the game, you could create a vocabulary list of all the key terms that you would like to review with your students. To keep it simple, look through the list of vocabulary terms in the chapters of their textbook if they have one. Select a few words from the text and prepare to use them for the activity.

I Spy ESL Game Guidelines:

Before playing the game, demonstrate an example for the class. Tell the students that you are going to play the “I Spy” game and review some vocabulary.

First, look around the room and repeat the phrase, “I spy with my little eye something that is blue.”

If you want, write the sentence on the board as well. It will be helpful for visual learners and will help reinforce the learning outcomes.

Next, have the students respond appropriately using the correct form.

For example, one student could ask, “Is it my book cover?”

You would respond using a full sentence to demonstrate further:

“No, it isn’t your book cover.”

Then, students would continue to ask you if it is other objects around the room. Again, encourage them to use correct grammar and full sentences.

Finally, when someone guesses the correct object, reward them with a point.

Do a few more examples until everyone understands how to play the game.

For the main part of the activity, split the class into small groups. Have everyone play “I Spy” within their group and get them to keep track of their points.

After about 5 to 10 minutes, stop playing the game and lead feedback. Remember to review any problems that they had forming sentences and correct pronunciation.

Follow-Up ESL Activities:

If time remains in class, try playing other fun vocabulary games to review some of the terms. For instance, check out the new No Harm No Vowel ESL Game or play a quick round of Have You Ever.

More ESL Vocabulary Games for Kids and Adults:

View the ESL vocabulary games archive.

View more ESL activities.

Related ESL Resources Online:

I Spy Games on Scholastic.com


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