The I Went To The Barbershop ESL activity is a simple rhyme for young children, with the option to create more verses.
Students will need a partner that they don’t mind sitting on the knee of. One student in each pair will need a chair to sit on.
Important: The actions in this activity could potentially be dangerous if done without care. Make sure your students understand this, and do them at your own risk.
- One student sits on a chair, and their partner stands a few steps away from them. The class chant the following together while walking towards their partner (and miming a haircut): “I went to the barbershop, To get my hair cut off…“
- They then chant the following and sit down on their partner’s knee, who moves their knees from side to side: “And when I got there, I sat on the chair, And the chair went, Wibbly, wobbly, wibbly, wobbly…“
- The sitting student suddenly shouts “Pop!” and opens their knees, so their partner falls down.
- A good extension is to create new verses, either as a class or in small groups. The students have to think of other places to go to and invent lyrics and actions for those places. They may need some help, and don’t worry about obeying strict rhyming rules. For example: “I went to the swimming pool, To get nice and cool, And when I got there, I jumped in the water, And the water went… splash!“, or “I went to the supermarket, To buy lots of tomatoes, And when I got there, I threw a tomato, And the tomato went…splat!“
- If the students write verses in small groups, they could perform them for the class. Then you could add them all together into one big rhyme.
Young children will love the actions involved in the I Went To The Barbershop ESL activity. It’s a fun way to associate basic vocabulary with actions, and even start introducing a little past simple.
For those who are old enough, creating new verses is a great way to review places in the city vocabulary. They can also practise some basic past simple for the action verbs done at each place.
For a similarly-named game (which is also good for young kids, and can be used for low-level past simple practice), see I Went To The Shop.
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