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  • Study English Online

  • 10 ESL Online Games You’ll Love

    Text Version:

    You know you need to practice English on your own, but there’s only so much time you can spend looking at flashcards or filling in pages in your language workbook. The good news is that there are plenty of fun ESL online games you can use to practice your English without it feeling like a chore.

    Here are ten free online games that we love and think you’ll enjoy, too:

    Big Describer. This is a great game for reviewing adjectives. You select a category, such as food, animals, or transportation, as well as a speed (fast, slow, or review), before beginning the game. During the game, you must select one image from a set of ten based on a short description. The game continues with different descriptions and images, and the faster you identify the correct image, the more points you get.

    Hangman. This is a favorite paper game for both native and non-native English speakers, and you can find many different versions online. Players must guess what letters are in a word, and when they guess correctly, that letter is added to the appropriate space in the word. If they guess incorrectly, their opponent (or the computer) draws a body part of a stick figure. The goal is to figure out the complete word or phrase before your opponent draws an entire hanging stick figure.

    Word Machine. More advanced learners who want to practice their spelling and vocabulary should try Word Machine, a game in which you must spell words with a given first letter. The trick is that you have to spell three words on each level. After each word, you are given another letter you have to include, so while you might start with “M,” your second word will also have to contain an “E,” and the third will have to contain an “L.” You get more points for entering words quickly and using rarer letters!

    Grammar Ninja. Wouldn’t your grammar lessons be a little more exciting if there were ninjas involved? In this game, you’re asked to identify different parts of a sentence, such as pronouns or prepositions, by clicking the correct word to hit it with a throwing star. You can choose to be a beginner, intermediate, or master ninja based on your current learning level.

    Words with Friends. Compete against friends and ESL classmates on your computer or on your phone by playing this word game, in which you must spell words with tiles on a board to earn points. It’s similar to the board game Scrabble.

    Spelling Bee. Perfect for beginning English students who want to improve their spelling of common vocabulary words, this online spelling bee requires you to listen to a word from a specific category, such as kitchen, furniture, or food, and spell it. The goal is to spell as many words as you can without making an error.

    Likes. Use this game to review degrees of liking and common foods. You’ll hear a sentence, such as “I love kiwis,” and then you’ll have to click on both the food item (included in a series of images) and a top image that matches the degree of liking. This game is timed, so you have to move quickly.

    Word Twist. Here’s a game that lets you compete against other online players. You’ll be given a board with either 4×4 or 5×5 letter tiles (you choose the size), and you’ll have to spell as many English words as you can using tiles that are either next to, above, below, or diagonal from each other. This one’s similar to Boggle.

    Word Search. Improve your spelling by learning to recognize English words hidden in a word search. In this version, you can choose your difficulty and play a new search every day with a different themed category every time.

    Sporcle Quizzes. While they’re not strictly word games, the quizzes on Sporcle will give you a chance to practice English by answering trivia questions in many different categories, such as geography, movies, literature, and language. There are thousands of different quizzes on the site, so you’re bound to find some that match your interests and study goals.

    Try these games for yourself, and share this guide with your friends so they can start playing!

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  • Comments on this post (1 comment)

    • Nancy Steves says...

      I am a new Literacy Volunteer tutor working with a young Spanish speaking woman. I used your game big describer in my last session. She loved it! It was a great tool!

      On October 10, 2015

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