3 Theatre Activities To Help ESL Students Learn Vocabulary


3 Theatre Activities To Help ESL Students Learn Vocabulary

The creative challenge of teaching young children ESL is both the fun part and the hard part. Planning activities can be a struggle but here are three activities to have in your back pocket as you help your students learn vocabulary.

 All of these activities have some element of using active recall to help children learn. Active recall is the most efficient way to move information from short-term memory to long-term memory. It is the best way to make sure your ESL students learn their vocabulary in a way that really sticks.

Activity 1 – The Costume Change

This activity is a little like Spot The Difference, but on you, the teacher. Have some costume clothes ready, like a cape, some funky glasses, a bowtie, or a colourful shirt. Make sure that they are big enough to put over your regular clothes. Tell your students to take a good look at you and then have them close their eyes.You can have them put their heads down if you have some peekers. Remove one piece of clothing and then have them open their eyes again. Ask them to guess what you have taken off. Do this as many times as you can with the clothes you have. It’s a great way to test clothing vocabulary and work their active memory.

Activity 2 – The Mystery Box

This is also a great memorization game to test vocabulary. Get a good-sized box and gather a selection of props that can fit inside. These props can look like small toys, tools, stuffed animals, or household items. Lay out all these props in front of your students and ask them to memorize everything they see. Then hide the items by covering them with box. Call on one student at a time. The student that can name all six objects (or however many there are) is the winner!

Activity 3 – Peek-A-Boo Flashcard

This activity is very easy. You put up a screen or cardboard in front of you and then slowly raise an illustrated flashcard over the edge. Ever so slowly, so they don’t know what it is right away. The slow reveal of the picture will make your students have to guess what it is and then call out what they see. This is a great way to actively strengthen the connection between visuals and vocabulary. 

These three activities are very easy to do in a physical classroom or online. They all help ESL students learn new terms in a way that challenges them to actively recall terms rather than passively review them.

For more ideas on how to teach English through drama, download the free e-book, Teach Children English Through Drama.

Visit the Kids English Theatre Youtube Channel for more drama games, language exercises, puppetting demos, and other fun ideas to make your lessons fun and unforgettable. 

Be Theatrical!


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