Learning the English alphabet is the very first step to learning the language and achieving fluency. And for our beginning students just learning how to use the English alphabet, here are some fun games I have tried, so far,to help teach and review the ABC in class.
Most of them I have found online and adapted for my classes.
I have been inspired to use several of them in ELT seminars and teacher development courses I have attended….
I have also included, few games I have come up with, while improvising in class…
I am also uploading some photos, taken in class this school year, of games that have worked and have been much fun!
Well, here it goes!
- Write the letter of the Alphabet on the white sticker or directly onto the cups.
- Model how to play in whole group or small group setting.
- Have the children close their eyes.
- Place a treat under one of the cups.
- Chant, “Eye Spy, I Spy.”
- Children open their eyes.
- Call on students one at a time to guess which cup is hiding the eyeball.
- Students read letter of the cup where they think the eyeball/treat is.
- Students lift the cup to see if they are right
- Game continues until the treat is found.
- Repeat game again.
- They can keep the treat, only if they manage to say a word which starts with it as soon as they find it!
These cups take up less room and work great for letters, words, and numbers too. The students can:
- Say the letter.
- Say the sound.
- Name something that begins with the letter.
- Put the cups in ABC order first.
LETTER MONSTER SWATTER
I was inspired to create this the other day and I thought I’d share it if anyone would like to use it. I just printed 2 copies (one for each team ), then cut out the different pieces and glued them together. Then I laminated it and taped it onto a fly swatter with the middle part cut out. It can work as a letter monster, a word monster, or even a number monster
LETTER PLATES and CLOTHES PIN LETTER MATCH
I have to thank my friend Andrianni Tsarkou for reminding me of this idea , during her EEPEK workshop , last November in Larissa.
I used a large paper plate and a medium size for this one. The first I simply took a marker and wrote the letters around it and the second I used my cool “Jumpo ” stickers (needed the bigger plate for the size). Then I took my clothes pins and wrote the letters on those too. I put them in a bowl next to the plate and there you go!
Kids match clothes pins with lowercase letters to uppercase letters on this paper plate.
You can also combine these two ideas ,like I did in the photos, below..
WRITING WITH BOTTLE CAPS
Make a set of “alphabet” caps to help students learn the letters. Write a letter of the alphabet on each cap . Make two or three caps for common letters such as A, E, I, O, U, C, D, H, L, N, R, S, T.
You can give the students words in capital letters to write them in small letters, and vice versa. They work in teams. The team which writes the word faster, wins!
- Using the alphabet caps, help students to spell out their names. Are there other words they might be able to spell out with the caps, such as “mom”, “dad”, “dog”, or “ball”?
- Place all your alphabet caps in a bag and shake them up. Ask a student to draw one cap out of the bag and read the letter out loud. Then she/he has to think of something that starts with that letter. Allow for phonetic spellings, for example if she/he says “phone” for the letter “f”.
Even more ideas, I have come across are:
Write letters or chunks on them and make words.
Colored circle stickers are perfect size for bottle caps.
Write words/numbers before you try to stick them on. Its hard to write once they’ve been stuck to the cap –
Write words (person, place, things, actions) on each color and pull out to use as a writing prompt –
Write letters and make a scrabble game –
Write high frequency words and have kids create sentences (color code by parts of speech –
Elkonin Technique for hearing sounds of a given word. Pull down caps as each sound is heard –
Compound Word Matching Game –
Write words on caps and put them in ABC order –
Write sight words on lids and try to stack them in towers up as you read more and more words –
Game pieces for sight word tic tac toe
ABC MINI BOOKS
For this you need: white paper & old magazines or simply ask your students to draw their own pictures. Each week we choose a new letter to work on. Write the upper and lower case letter on a piece of white paper, then go through old magazines with your Ss to find pictures that begin with that letter (or just draw their own pictures). Let them cut them out and glue them on the paper, which helps them improve their cutting skills too! The Ss love to look at it over and over.
For instructions about how to make a mini book, read here…
THE HAMMMER GAME
I found these hammers at JUMBO, after we had finished with our ABC and basic vocabulary.
I could have made some cards with words on them but, I finally decided to write those words on the board and play there, instead.But, it worked out fine, that way, too!
I called out a word and who ever hit it first with the hammer got to keep it for their team.
THE SNOWBALL THROW ABC GAME
I use the same game for word recognition, before we finish the Alphabet. If you wish to do the same after you have finished teaching the Alphabet and some basic vocabulary, you can ask the players to spell the word they hit, or you can spell a word for the players to spot and hit! The teacher could also, call a word in the student’s mother tongue . The players find and throw the snowball at the corresponding English word on the board, to win a point for their team.
If younger students don’t know the letter sounds yet, you can just call out a letter and they can throw a snowball at it once they find it on the wall. For a faster paced game, you can call out a letter sound and the players throw a snowball at the corresponding letter.
TOUCH AND KNOW
Blindfolds and oversized cardboard letters or magnetic letters ( I have bought them from JUMBO) help our juniors get a feel for the alphabet in this tactile game. Prepare several letter cutouts ( or use the magnetic ones, like I did) and place them in a box. In turn, have each child wear a blindfold as he draws a letter from the box, feels its shape, and identifies the letter by touch.We play this game in teams and it’s great fun!
ABC RELAY RACE
Have two students, one from each team, stand next to their team alphabet line, on the board . Explain to them that they have to run and write the corresponding small/capital letter , next to each one of the letters in their line .You can even work with letter sounds or ask them to write a word that starts with each letter they see. There are numerous variations of this game… The first team to finish, wins.
This is such a fun game! My students loved it!
Practice letter recognition and letter sounds with a fun game that gets kids moving.
A fun variation, can be watched here…
And for more ideas, you can read this …
THE SNAIL BOARD GAME
Well, if I am not mistaken, the original idea belongs to Papadeli Sophia but, I have seen several variations of it, online, so far!
I ask them to say/spell a word that starts with each letter.
An fun ABC board game, played in pairs.
DRAW IT, MIME IT OR SPELL IT
We play this game, with new words or vocabulary I wish them to revise.
Get students into groups of three or four and ask them to sit around a table. Put a set of picture cards face down on each table. Distribute the cards evenly among the group. Tell them their cards are secret! They must not show them or talk about them. Students now think of how they can draw it, spell or mime it. Give them time, but not too much. Students take turns in , miming, spelling or drawing, while the others in the group guess. The student with the fastest correct answer gets the card with the word. The winner is the person with the most correct answers.
THE ABC SONG PASS-THE-BALL GAME
To help my students remember the ABC song, I have them sing it several times, of course. This is a fun way to do so!
Children develop listening skills, and practice their ABC as they pass the ball around the circle in this cooperative musical ABC game. I tell the children that when they hear a “new” letter , then the ball is passed to the next student.
The last student holding the ball when the song finishes, is the winner and gets special stickers!
They just can’t get enough of this game! We get to sing the ABC song again and again….
If there is doubt as to who is holding the ball, for example half way through a changeover, then tell them to play “paper, scissors, rock”.
Insist that they only pass the ball, not throw it!!