Most ESL courses for kids and beginner learners will begin with lessons about greetings and introductions. These are often lessons teaching English expressions such as ‘How are you?’, ‘What’s your name?’, ‘Nice to meet you.’, etc. Once students learn greetings and introductions in English, this can form part of your daily classroom routine. It will also allow children to greet their friends in English and talk about their feelings.
One of the best ways to teach greetings and introductions to ESL kids is through fun and exciting classroom games. Coming up with fresh classroom game ideas can be tough, so we put together this list of 5 super fun games and activities to teach greetings and introductions to kids.
5 ESL Games To Teach Greetings And Introductions To Kids.
1: ‘How Are You?’ Pass The Ball Game
Top of our list is the classic ESL classroom game ‘Pass The Ball’. Pass the ball can be used with any target language, but it works particularly well when teaching greetings in English to kids. It can be difficult to get children to talk, especially when they are just beginning to learn English. Playing pass the ball is a great way to involve all students and to get them speaking using the target language.
For this game all you need is a small soft ball. To play, simply play the pass the ball video in class. When the music is playing, students must pass the ball. When the music stops, the student with the ball must answer the question. So, when teaching ‘How are are?’, when the music stops the student with the ball must answer the question (e.g. I’m happy/bored/tired/excitied/sad, etc).
TIP: To involve the whole class, encourage the rest of the students to ask the question together, and the student with the ball can answer. This activity can be used with other greetings or introductions such as ‘Nice to meet you.’ – Nice to meet you, too. ‘What’s your name?’ – ‘ My name is Kevin.’
2: ‘Nice To Meet You’ Game
This game is a fun way to use the greetings ‘What’s your name?’ and ‘Nice to meet you.’. It can, however, be easily adapted to practice other expressions. To play, place 6-8 flashcards on the board (or simply write the words) in a horizontal line. For beginner learners, these could be phonics flashcards, alphabet flashcards, or any other topic you want to review.
Then, divide the class into two teams and choose one student from each team to come to the front. Ask these two students to stand at opposite ends of the line of cards. Now the game can begin. When the teacher says ‘Go!’, the two students should walk down the line of flashcards towards each other. As they go, they should touch each flashcard and say what’s on the card. When the two students meet in the middle, they should stop and greet each other. Like this:
Student A: Hi, What’s your name?
Student B: I’m Kelly. What’s your name?
Student A: I’m Chris. Nice to meet you.
Student B: Nice to meet you, too.
After greeting each other, students should then play rock, scissors, paper. The winner gets to stay where he/she is (in the middle of the line of flashcards). The loser must sit back down. Then another student from the losing team should come to the front to replace him/her. This student must begin again from the end of the line of flashcards.
Again, when the teacher says ‘Go!’, the two students will begin walking towards each other as they touch each flashcard and say the word aloud. When, they meet they should greet each other and play rock, scissor, paper.
The aim of the game is to make it to all the way to the other end of the line of flashcards. If a student gets all the way to the end, they win a point for their team, and the game starts again with two new students
3: The Name Game
This simple classroom game is great for practicing asking and answering ‘What’s your name?’ in English. To play, choose one student to come to the front and stand with his/her back to the class so they cannot see the rest of the students (or ask them to close their eyes). Then the teacher should point to one student in the classroom. This student then has a choice. They can say their own name, or the name of another student in the classroom (e.g. ‘My name is Chris.’).
Next, the student at the front of the class, without looking, must try to guess if that student was telling the truth or was pretending to be another student in the class. Kids really enjoy this game and it becomes a lot of fun when the students begin impersonating their classmates and disguising their voice.
4: ‘How are you?’ Board Games
Board games are a great way to increase student talk time in the classroom. Here is an example of a board game you can play to teach students how to ask and answer about their feelings. You can download this game, plus many more board games from our printable board games page.
Print and give one board game to each pair of students. To begin, students should place their eraser at the bottom where it says start. Then students should play rock, scissors, paper, and the winner can move their eraser to the next square. After moving their eraser, the students should make a dialogue based on the emoticon in that square. For example, ‘Hello, how are you?’ – ‘I’m tired.’
The aim of the game is to ‘Race around the world’ and the first student to make it all the way around is the winner. Once student will go clockwise, and one anti-clockwise.
5: Greetings Mingle Game
This final ESL game to teach greetings and introductions will get students up out of their seats and speaking with their classmates. For this activity, choose a fun ESL song that the students enjoy. Play the song and ask students to walk/dance around the class when the music is playing. When the music stops, students should meet the closest student to them and shake their hands and greet them using the lesson’s target language. For example, students can say ‘Hi. My name is Chris. What’s your name?’, or ‘Hello, how are you today?’, etc.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found some good game ideas to teach greetings to ESL kids. Before you go, don’t forget to checkout our FREE ESL lesson materials, including flashcards, board games, lesson plans, and PowerPoint Games.