Say That Colour

In the Say That Colour ESL activity, students have to ignore the colour that is written, and instead say the colour it is written in.

Students for Say That Colour ESL Activity:1+Time for Say That Colour ESL Activity:5-10 mins
Resources for Say That Colour ESL Activity:
Projector; Internet or Prepared Slides

You will need to project the colours vocabulary in a random order, one word at a time. However, the words should appear in various different colours.

If you have an Internet connection, just use our Say That Colour Generator. Otherwise, prepare a computer slideshow.

Students can do this activity as a whole class. Or you can divide the class into groups which take turns.

  1. Start by showing students the words for colours, written in the same colour. As a class, the students have to say the colour aloud.
  2. Next however, display the words written in a colour other than the one the word represents (e.g. BLUE, written in green). The students have to ignore the word and say the colour that is displayed (i.e. green). It’s not as easy as it sounds, and students should have fun trying to keep up!
  3. Our Say That Colour Generator allows to you to autoplay a slideshow that automatically displays new words every few seconds. Or, you can time students/groups on a list of twenty random words, generating a new one when the students say the correct answer.
  4. There is even the facility to only generate the next word when the colour is typed in correctly. This is great for students playing alone. Or one student could face away from the board (with the computer monitor turned off), and their team could shout the colours to type in.
Target Language

The Say That Colour ESL activity is a fast but fun way to practise colours vocabulary – which otherwise can get boring pretty quickly! As such it’s designed for beginner students, but you could use it as a light-hearted warmer at higher levels too.

The activity could also be a good warmer or short time-filler for the topic of science. This is because the task is an example of the ‘Stroop Effect‘ which demonstrates how interference increases reaction time. The two psychological theories that may explain this effect are the ‘Speed of Processing Theory‘ (i.e. the interference occurs because words are read faster than colours are named), or the ‘Selective Attention Theory‘ (the interference occurs because naming colours requires more attention than reading words). You could task your students to research similar phenomena and report back to the class.

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