Favorite games at school!

At Volunteer Programs Bali, creative learning is our main priority. It is super important for us that our children have fun and enjoy the classes and learning at the same time. Our free afternoon classes are not mandatory for our students, and it is amazing to see how many children come out of free will every day to our classes to learn English. We strongly believe this is because of our way of teaching.

Although we do use an international ESL curriculum, we urge our volunteers to implement creativity and games into their classes. By doing so our kids learn English in a fun way, where they don’t feel pushed or pressured to learn, but where they actually enjoy learning.

A lot of the games our volunteers play with our students are educational. Even though it looks like the kids are just having fun, they are actually learning a lot about new vocabulary, teamwork, pronunciation, spelling and grammar. Also these games can be used for any topic within the curriculum, and on any level of English. Whether our kids are learning basic colors, or past tense grammar, they can learn this all through games and creative activities.

We have asked our kids and volunteers what the favorite games are, the games they love to play most at school and where they have most fun. Read all about it below and get inspired!

  1. Musical chairs

Probably our most popular game is musical chairs. Actually in most classes the chairs are replaced with pillows, to technically it should be called Musical Pillows.
Maybe you know this game from your childhood? The pillows are being put in a circle and the kids have to walk/dance around them. There are just not enough pillows for each kid, when there are 10 kids, there are only 9 pillows.
We turn on the music, usually some upbeat dance songs that gives much energy to the kids. The kids walk around the pillows and when the music stops they have to sit down as fast as they can on one of the pillows! The one who’s last to sit down loses.
Our volunteers implement an educational aspect into this game. So the child that loses has to an assignment, for example writing down an English word on the white board.
This game can be adjusted to any level of English and to any topic/vocabulary as you can create the assignments accordingly.

  1. Competition games

Our kids just love competitions, in any form at any time. Their team spirit and motivation gets very high when they are doing a competition in class. There are many ways to do small competitions with the kids and this is also adjustable to any level of English or any topic or vocabulary.
The most common way to do the competitions is as follows. The class is divided into two teams. Team 1 and team 2. It can also be girls against the boys, if there is fair balance in class.
The teams get to stand in a line in front of the white board. The volunteers call out a word, and the person in front has to run to the white board and write it down correctly. Whoever is finished first and got the correct word gets a point. We can play around a lot with this way of competitions. We can give the English word and they have to write down the Indonesian translation, or the other way around. Or they have to draw the word, or the volunteer shows a picture of something and they have to write down the word. And we can continue like this, there are many ways to be creative and the kids never get tired of it!
For more advanced classes you can also ask them to write down whole sentences. Even our senior high school students love to run and do their best to be the winner!

  1. Find a word

You know those puzzles where there are many letters scrambled on the paper and you have to find words in it? You’ve probably seen them in magazines.  Well, we love to play this in class! Our volunteers get very creative in making these puzzles, they can make them in different shapes, big, small and so on. Again, this can be adjusted to any class, any level of English and any words.
It can be done individually by the students, or as a group in class by making the puzzle on the white board. For beginner classes it starts very simple, with only a few simple words, and only horizontal, for more advanced classes you can make it as complicated and difficult as you want!

  1. Hang man

One of the most traditional games to do in class, but still one of our kid’s favorite! For those who don’t know this game, let’s just run it down. One student gets in front of the class and thinks of a word he wants his classmates to guess. This word can be as hard or as easy as you wish, again depending on the level of English in that particular class and the vocabulary they are working on. You can also work in categories, for example if you are learning about colors, they can only put down a color and not any other word. The student will put dots on the white board of the amount letters of the word. Now the other kids have to guess the letters. Each letter they guess right will be put down on the correct place in the word. But for each letter that does not come in the word, parts of the Hang Man is being drawn.
Whoever guesses the word first wins and get to come in front of the class and make the next word.
it is a great way for our kids to get familiar with spelling of certain vocabulary as well as the English alphabet.
This game can also be played in teams if the students are very competitive.

  1. Duck, Duck, Goose

This game is a favorite especially for our younger students. It is a great game to play outside, and very good for kids who need to lose some of their energy by running around a bit! The kids sit in a circle. One child is outside the circle. He touches every child, one by one, and says duck, duck, duck and so on. The moment he says goose, the child he touches at that moment has to get up as fast as he can and try to touch the kid back. They run around the circle once and the person outside has to sit on the spot of his ‘victim’. If he made it all around and gets to sit down, the other child is now the person outside the circle. This game can also be played with other words, actually whatever you like and what suits best with your lesson plan. For example, if you are learning about body parts, you can say arm, arm, arm, leg. Leg is then the magic word to get up and start running!

What game was your favorite when you were young? And do you have any great games or ideas to share with us? We love to hear it!