Warmers are great because they are fun and communicative, they should take around five
minutes, be very simple to set up and a good way to review or practise language. Learners
typically need a little ‘warming up’ at the start of each lesson. By varying your activities,
making them brief and purposeful learners will be more energized and focused towards
dealing with the target language of the lesson.
By varying the warmers you can keep learners on their toes and interested.
Warmers should not involve presenting or learning ‘new’ language, they should only involve
language learners already know or have learnt recently. They should also be brief, the idea
is to energise learners rather than let the warmer dominate the lesson.
Below are a few warmers. Some you will probably know already and some hopefully will be
new. Let me know what your favourite warmers are.
Stand learners in a circle, say “My name’s….” and ask, “What’s your name?” while throwing
the ball to a learner. Indicate that they are to do the same until everyone has spoken. Next
throw the ball to a learner while saying their name and continue around the group. Stating
likes and dislikes, how old are you? Have you ever? etc can extend this activity.
Write the names of famous people / characters on enough post-it notes for everyone in the
class. Each person has a post-it note on their back and with a partner they have to ask and
answer questions to guess who they are. Alternatively this can be played using fruit /
classroom nouns / animals etc.
Meet ‘n’ Greet
Similar to the post-it game except the names of people are not kept secret but openly
displayed. Learners are at a ‘party’ and must mingle, meet and greet each other in
Back To The Board / Taboo
In two teams A and B: One person from A sits with their back to the board. Team B writes a
word on the whiteboard that team A have to explain to their teammate. They cannot say
the word or mime/gesticulate. Allow a time limit of 1 minute per go.
Odd One Out
Prepare some vocabulary lists (5 or 6 items) (E.g. kettle, microwave, saucepan, etc.). In
pairs/small groups learners find the word that does not fit and why.
In pairs and hand out a sheet of paper. Learners write the name of a man and met (e.g. Elvis
met…) at the top of the page and the fold the paper over and pass it along. The next person
writes the name of a woman and at (e.g. Madonna at & place) learners continue passing the
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‘story’ around until eight folds have been written on or the story comes back to the first
writer. Once complete the learner opens the page and reads “their” story. Learners decide
who has the best/funniest/saddest story.
Not Yes Or No
A learner stands at the front of the group and the other learners have to ask them questions
to try and force them to respond with either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The learner should answer the
questions as quickly and honestly as possible. Once they say yes or no another learner takes
their place. This can be played in small groups too.
Draw A Word
In 2 teams, A & B: Team B whispers a word to a member of team A, who then draws a
representation of it at the board. Team A has to guess the word (E.g. a picture of clocks to
elicit the word ‘Time’) again, set a time limit. Points are awarded for correct guesses.
Board 15 words learners know. Have them write 5 of the words on a piece of paper (or in
their notebooks). Next call out the words at random (as in bingo) and learners tick off the
words they have written down. The first one to tick off all their words is the winner.
One learner sits with their back to the board. Write a sentence behind them (E.g. He must
be ill.) The group are witnesses and orally suggest concrete evidence of the situation (He is
sitting in the doctors / he has a temperature etc.) until the learner guesses the situation.
Tell learners you have an object to give away and the person or team that comes up with
the most imaginative reason for having it ‘win’ the object. Try to include desirable objects
(Ferrari) with undesirable objects (an empty tin can).
Draw The Teacher
Draw 2 ovals on the board and put the class in 2 teams. Say “They are eyes!” and the two
leading learners (one from each team) run up and draw eyes on the oval. Then return to the
start point and repeat – “they are eyes”. The pen is passed to the next learners in line and
the teacher calls out “It’s a nose” etc. The first learner to correctly draw the face parts and
identify them wins a point. This can be made more fun by making it clear to the learners the
oval is YOUR (the teacher’s) face, learners can enjoy – with your permission – making fun of
This will also work if you want to do body parts as well. Just draw the basic torso instead of
ovals. If learners are unsure as to which facial/body part it is just point to it. Another
variation could be for naming parts of animals. The resulting picture would be a monster.
i.e. peacock’s tail, snake’s head, elephant feet, bat’s wings, etc.
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Each pair has a coin (or counter that will spin). One learner has to say as many sentences or
words in the target language as they can before the coin stops spinning. Their partner needs
to count and the one who says the most wins. Winners could compete in “spin offs”.
Prepare a text containing prepositions. Remove all the propositions and have them written
on pieces of paper, then put them in an envelope. In groups give each an envelope. Learners
should listen to the text and whenever you raise your hand they should bring you a suitable
preposition the fastest correct team wins points. Points can be deducted for a wrong
Pass It On
This is a chanting activity involving rhythm and vocabulary. Sit learners in a circle and review
the vocab (eg animals). Take one card and place it on the floor face down in front of the
learners. Build up a simple clapping rhythm chanting “Pass it on! Pass it on!” make sure this
is slow enough to allow learners time to pass the card, face down, along the floor. Stop the
clapping after 3 or 4 beats and the learner who has the card in front of them to pick it up.
Everyone asks “What is it?” and the student responds “It’s a X”. This can be played with
plastic food, toy animals etc.
Have 2 learners come to the front of the class. Choose two flashcards at random and keep
them secret. Attach a flashcard to the back of each player with a paper clip so neither
learner can see what it is. Learners face each other and do ‘sumo’ poses with their hands
behind their backs. They have to the count of 100 to try to see the other persons’ card
without using their hands. Once they call out the correct answer they are they winning
sumo wrestler. Keep other learners busy by having them count together loudly 1 to 100.
Board the following word tree/maze (or on a large piece of paper). At the end of each
‘branch’ add sounds you want the learners to practice – in this case ‘th’ &‘s’. At the bottom
of the tree draw four objects to review (or add flashcards) – in this case cat, dog, monkey
and bird. Learners follow clues given by the teacher (E.g. ‘three shirts’ for th + s) to follow
the tree down to one of the four pictures (E.g. bird). The first learner to shout out the
correct object becomes the teacher.
Learners stand in a circle facing inwards. Choose a topic to review (E.g. fruit). Learners pass
the balloon around the circle by batting it towards each other. Each time the balloon is hit
the learner must say the name of a fruit. The game can be more challenging by adding
numbers for every fifth hit of the balloon (E.g. 1, orange, plum, lemon, 5, cherry etc).
What are your favourite warmers?
Sophia McMillan Oct 2019
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