Guessing games are great to use as warmers, fillers, and review activities. Not only are they a lot of fun, but they are also fantastic for learning vocabulary and grammar.
On this page we list the 10 super fun guessing games for kids. Although these activities are mainly aimed at young learners, many of these guessing game ideas can be easily adapted to use with adults and teenagers.
For more classroom game ideas, check out our other post, 10 Incredibly Fun Vocabulary Activities For ESL Kids.
The Best 10 Guessing Games for Kids
1: Guess the Word Games
Whichever topic you are teaching, a simple guess the word game, although simple, can be very effective. Show students some flashcards and ask them to repeat after you. Once students have practiced enough, choose one flashcard, and don’t show the students. Then ask them to try to guess what the word is while using the target expression.
For example, if you teaching animal words, when students guess they can ask the teacher ‘Is it an elephant?’, and the teacher can respond ‘Yes, it is. / No, it isn’t.’.
2: Hidden Picture Guessing Games
In this guessing game there is a picture hidden behind some color squares. As you click the squares the image is slowly revealed and students must try to guess what it is.
This guess the picture game is a great way to introduce or review new words with students and can be used with any vocabulary. For hidden picture PPT games on many topics, and an editable template, click here.
3: Guess the Picture (Pictionary)
This simple guessing game idea needs little to no prep. All you need for this game is something to draw on. To play as a whole class, ask a student to draw something on the board from the lesson and ask students to guess what the picture is of.
To make it more fun, divide the class into two / three teams. Give each team 30 seconds or so to guess as many pictures as they can. This game is a lot of fun and young learners especially love showing off their artistic skills.
4: Guess the Mystery Object
Using real objects in the classroom is a great way to connect the vocabulary and grammar that students are learning to the real world. A great way to do that is with this guess the object game. To play, you need a bag or a box to put the mystery objects in.
Invite students one by one to come up to the front of the class and reach into the bag/box and feel the object inside. Without looking at the object, they must try to guess what the mystery object is. This can lead to some hilarious guesses! This activity is great for both kids and older ESL students.
5: Online Guessing Games
In these online guessing games, students must use ‘Telepathy’ to read the teacher’s mind and find out the answer. Of course, your students can’t really read minds, but kids love pretending that they can.
In these guessing games each answer as two possible answers and students must choose ONE and write it down. If they get it correct, they get a point. If they get it wrong, they don’t. Many online guessing games can be found on our Activity Videos page.
This game can be played individually or in pairs / small teams. For a Telepathy game PPT template, and a printable answer worksheet, click here.
6: ‘I Spy’ Guessing Games
When you were a child you probably played a variation of this game at one time or another. In the classic (British) version of I Spy, one person would look around and choose an object that they can see and then say ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with (b).’. At which point the other people must try to guess what object beginning with the letter b he/she is thinking of.
This kind of guessing game can be used in your English class to review many different words and topics. For example, if teaching colors, one student can look around and choose an object and then say ‘I see something (green)’. The other students must then guess what green thing they are thinking of.
Or, if you are teaching adjectives, one student can look around and choose something and then describe it using adjectives. For example, ‘I see something big and heavy.’.
7: ‘Act It Out’ Guessing Game (Charades)
In the classic version of charades people would use actions instead of words to act out the title of a movie, book, play, or song. In the English classroom, this kind of activity can be used to review key vocabulary and expressions that students have learned.
To play, write down the key words / phrases from the lesson on pieces of paper and put them all in a small container. Then divide the class into 2/3 teams. One person from each team will choose a piece of paper and act out the word without speaking or making any noise. If the team guesses correctly, then they get a point.
8: Guess The Word To ‘Save The Teacher’ (Hangman)
Hangman is a classic classroom game in which students must try to guess the word the teacher is thinking of by guessing letters of the alphabet. If students guess the wrong word then the teacher would begin drawing a picture of a hanging man. If students get it wrong too many times and the teacher completes the picture, then the students lose.
Although this drawing is just a simple stick figure, the idea of showing children a drawing of a man hanging from his neck seems quite gruesome to me, and not appropriate for kids. As a fun alternative to hangman, try ‘Save The Teacher’ using the video above. The rules are exactly the same as hangman.
To play, think of a word and draw a small horizontal line corresponding to each letter of that word. Then ask students to guess the word by first guessing letters from the alphabet. If they guess correctly, then write it in the correct space on the board. If students guess wrong play the video and the fuse will get closer to the rocket. When students guess wrong too many times, the teacher and the rocket will blast off into space!
9: ‘What Am I?’ Guessing Game
In this guessing game, the teacher would think of something and then give students 3 clues as to what it is by saying sentences as if he/she is the object. For example, if the word the teacher is thinking of is ‘The Sun’ then the 3 clues he/she might say “I am hot. I am bright. You can’t see me at night. What am I?” This is a great way to reinforce students’ understanding of the lesson’s vocabulary and a fun review activity. For more ‘What am I? quizzes check out these ’40 What Am I?’ questions.
10: Guessing Games With Cards
Most ESL textbooks these days come with small word/picture cards at the back. If you’re not so lucky, you can download and print free mini-flashcards from our flashcards page. To play this game, ask students to make groups of 3/4. Then give each group a set of cards. Then one student from each group should close their eyes while the other members of the group point to one of the cards.
Then the student should open his/her eyes and guess what card they chose while using the target language. If he/she guesses correctly then they can keep that card. Then it’s the next students turn. The game finishes when all the cards are gone and the students with the most cards is the winner.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found some useful guessing game ideas for your next class. Before you go, don’t forget to check out our free other free games and activities including PowerPoint Games, Online Quizzes, and Online ESL Games.