Theatre Game of the Week #1

Someone left a comment on one of our blogs asking for weekly theatre games and activities that can be used in the ESL classroom. Ask and you shall receive! I taught in the Hong Kong school system for four years as a drama teacher. Theatre games were part of my daily bag of tricks. Here is one that is super fun and a good way to test the English speaking level of a group. Excellent for first days when you're just getting to know kids.

Game Name: Change Chairs or Have you ever?

Tools needed: Chairs (1 less than people sitting in the circle)
Approx game time: 20 minutes
Kids needed: 10 or more

It goes like this.  You stand in the middle. 1) You ask, "Raise your hand if you like ice cream." Kids raise their hands. 2) "Stand up if you like ice cream." Kids stand up. 3) "Change chairs if you like ice cream." Kids change chairs. You sit down. One kid is left in the middle. Now explain the rules to the group and the kid in the middle.

Teacher- Find a way to make us "change chairs". How are we alike? How are we different? You must say... "Change chairs if..."

If the kid is not shy than this will be an easy step to take. You might need to give him suggestions like "What am I wearing?" and point to your glasses. Don't give them the answer but help them find a word that they know the answer to.

Side Note: Although saying "Change chairs if you have arms" is funny, it isn't very clever. With older kids tell them to be creative and bar them from easy answers. You can also make this game more difficult by only allowing people to say likes/dislikes (Example: "Change chairs if you like Justin Beiber.") But as a fair warning, the children are super cute and will lie directly to your face.

For secondary school kids, you can have them practice their tenses by asking "Have you ever..." instead of "Change chairs". Past tense is something that kids in local HK schools tend to struggle with.

At the end of the game: Students should be able to say things we have in common and that we don't have in common. Students should also be able to identify some popular things within the classroom. If doing past tenses, ask the students to recall the names of kids who have done a certain task. This game is all about having fun, speaking loudly, and getting to know each other.


  • TeacherHK
    08 October 2012

    Thanks! I'm excited to see all the different games you can show us!
  • mike
    08 October 2012

    What is the kids sec going to have in it? stuff like this? if so, i think it's a good idea. Not crap drama schools trying to beat a dead horse for more money.
  • Mango
    22 October 2012

    Link is broken for #3. I clicked on it and number 1 came up

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