Web ESL Games

In this guide, we’ve curated a list of ’10 Must-Try Games for a Successful Online ESL Classroom in 2024.’ These proven educational games will not only make learning English fun but also promote active participation and language development among students.

1. Story Dice – Great for all levels

Website: https://davebirss.com/storydice-creative-story-ideas/
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Game objective:
  • Use five (or nine) story dice with random images to create a story.
  • Use the dice prompts to build a story.
  • Arrange the dice in the order they appear on the screen, or swap them if needed.
  • Don’t take the images too literally; use them metaphorically or for representing various concepts.
  • You can start from the left and incorporate each image as you go, or plan your story’s ending first and use the dice to help you develop the narrative.
  • Experiment with different strategies to find what works best for you.

2. Family Feud

Website: https://www.arkadium.com/games/family-feud/
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Game objective:
  • The objective of the game “Family Feud” is to score the most points by guessing the most popular answers to survey questions. It’s a fun and competitive game that tests players’ knowledge of popular opinions.
How to play:
  • Form two teams, each with a designated team captain.
  • One team presents a survey question and reveals the top answers.
  • The opposing team’s captain guesses one of the answers in a limited time.
  • If the guess is correct, the team earns points based on the answer’s rank. Three strikes end the turn.
  • Teams take turns presenting questions and guessing answers.
  • The game ends when a set number of rounds are completed or when one team reaches a predetermined point goal.
  • The team with the most points wins.

Watch gameplay here https://www.youtube.com/@familyfeud

3. Scattegories – Can be played 1:1 or in a group

Website: https://swellgarfo.com/scattergories/
esl game

Come up a with unique answer for each category that starts with a specific letter.


Each player/team needs to think of answers for different categories that begin with a designated letter. Set a timer for the round, with the duration based on your preference. We recommend 120 or 150 seconds.

  • Players get 2 points for a unique answer starting with the key letter.
    Example: Letter: A – Category: Countries –> Answer –> Argentina –> 2 points
  • If they can’t think of a word with the key letter, they can write a word starting with any letter as long as the word fits the category. Players get 1 point for such answer.
    Example: Letter: A – Category: Countries –> Answer –> Brazil –> 1 point
Scoring and Totaling:

After the timer ends, compare answers. Only unique answers score points. Players with the same answer get zero points. Each player/team adds up their points. Congratulate those with high scores.

Next Round:

Choose a new letter and repeat the process. Keep playing until you run out of time or letters.

4. Spyfall – Fun group game

Website: https://www.spyfall.app/
esl game
Game objective:
  • The spy: try to guess the round’s location. Infer from others’ questions and answers.
  • Other players: figure out who the spy is.
  • Take a moment to review the rules of the game by clicking on this link: https://www.spyfall.app/gamerules.
  • We recommend having at least 4 students in a class to make the game even more engaging and exciting!
  • Spyfall can be played either online or in a classroom setting, which makes it a flexible and versatile game for everyone to enjoy.

5. Drawasaurus – Multiplayer Drawing Game

Website: https://www.drawasaurus.org/
Screenshot 2024 01 06 at 14.01.33

It’s an online multiplayer version of Pictionary. Players choose one of three words and draw it within a time limit. Others guess in the chat box, and whoever gets it right and fastest earns points. The drawer gets an extra point if others guess their drawing.

For an optimal gaming experience, we recommend a minimum of 4 participants. Be cautious of public rooms, as inappropriate drawings may occur. Just create a personalized room, assign a name, secure it with a password, and then share the details with your students.

6. Catch the Phrase in the Story

Website: https://randomwordgenerator.com/phrase.php
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Game objective:
  • Enhance students’ listening skills and word recognition.
How to play:
  • Distribute a word, phrase, idiom, or sentence privately to each student. This can be done through written notes or private messages on platforms like Zoom.
  • Allow students 1 minute to create a short story that incorporates the assigned word or phrase.
  • Once ready, each student takes turns sharing their story with the class, and everyone should listen attentively.
  • After each story, the other students have one opportunity to guess the target word used in the story.
  • If the storyteller successfully tricks the listeners into not identifying the target word, they earn 1 point for each listener fooled.
  • If the listeners correctly identify the target word, they earn themselves 1 point.
  • Tally the points at the end of the round.
  • Increase the challenge in subsequent rounds by using more complex sentences or idioms.

7. Wordle

Website: https://wordlegame.org/
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Game objective:
  • The objective of Wordle is to guess a hidden five-letter word within six attempts by using deductive reasoning and word-building skills.
How to play:
  • Word Selection: One player selects a secret five-letter word.
  • Guesses: Players take turns guessing valid five-letter English words. Limited to six guesses.
  • Feedback:
    • Green: Correct letter in correct position.
    • Yellow: Correct letter in wrong position.
    • Gray/Black: Not in the secret word.
  • Solving: Game ends when guessers find the word or exhaust six attempts. Guesser wins if they solve it, otherwise, the selector wins.
  • Etiquette: Maintain a friendly atmosphere and avoid obscure words.

You can create your own version of Wordle by having each student choose a 5-letter word and challenging the rest of the class to guess those words.

8. Picture Truths and Lies

Website: https://randomwordgenerator.com/picture.php
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Game objective:
  • Fool fellow students by describing a picture, either truthfully or with a clever lie, to earn points.
How to play:
  • Each student selects a picture they will describe. Alternatively, you can provide pictures privately by sharing them digitally or handing out printed copies in class.
  • The student has 30 seconds to prepare their description and must decide whether to tell the truth or craft an imaginative lie. However, they must clarify that if they choose to lie, it should be a completely different narrative from the actual image.
  • Once the student has finished describing the picture, the class has the opportunity to ask 3-5 follow-up questions to gauge whether the player is truthful or not.
  • Scoring mirrors that of Game 6: Players earn 1 point for correctly identifying if the description was truthful or false (matching their own judgment). The main player accrues points for every student they successfully deceive.
  • Eventually, the player reveals the picture, showing everyone the actual image.

9. Guess the Word

Website: https://www.thegamegal.com/word-generator/
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Game objective:
  • Get other students (or teacher) guess the target word or phrase without using specific “forbidden” words or phrases listed on a card.
How to play:
  • The player that goes first selects a word.
  • The teacher starts a timer (usually one to two minutes).
  • The Clue Giver tries to get their classmates to guess the target word or phrase by providing verbal clues and descriptions.
  • Other students can make unlimited guesses within the time limit.
  • The Clue Giver may pass on a card if they find it too difficult, but they can return to it later if time allows.
Scoring and Winning:
  • If the class guesses the target word or phrase correctly, the Clue Giver earns one point.
  • The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
  • You can set a specific point goal or time limit for your game.
Optional Variations:
  • You can modify the rules to make the game more challenging, such as reducing the time limit.

10. Word Hunt

Website: https://www.arkadium.com/games/word-hunt/
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Game objective:
  • The goal of the game is to create words by clicking or tapping letters and connecting them. Progress through levels by completing puzzles and earn coins to use for hints.
How to play:
  • Click or tap a letter and drag it to form a word.
  • Look for context clues in the puzzle grid to help find your next word.
  • Completing puzzles advances you to the next level.
  • Achieve milestones to earn coins for hints.
  • Bonus Words, valid words not in the current puzzle, can earn you coins. Click the star icon to track your Bonus Words and receive rewards for your vocabulary skills.

Comments (1)

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    May 9, 2024 at 15:18

    I really enjoyed this content! They can be strategically used as a brain break activity or even as a warm-up activity to start the class, I think. Thanks so much for sharing!

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