Silly Sentences

Designed primarily for kids, in the Silly Sentences ESL activity students have to help each other guess the contents of crazy sentences.

Students for Silly Sentences ESL Activity:4+Time for Silly Sentences ESL Activity:10-20 mins
Resources for Silly Sentences ESL Activity:
Internet and Projector or Board and Chalk/Markers

If you have a projector and an Internet connection, try our Silly Sentence Generator. Otherwise, you can prepare some suitable silly sentences using your target language, make them up on the spot, or get the kids to create them themselves.

  1. One student sits/stands at the front of class, facing away from the board. In order to randomly choose kids without too many arguments you could ask whose birthday is closest for example. Or, if the students have class numbers, you could use our Random Number Generator.
  2. Write/project a ‘silly sentence’ on the board, using the target grammar if you have one. For example, Justin Bieber is swimming on the moon with a dinosaur or Three tigers are eating pineapples in a tree. Use places/people/things that the students are familiar with to make it more fun. Remind the student at the front not to turn around and look
  3. The students then have to get the student at the front to gradually guess the sentence, by giving them clues for each word/group of words in turn. Ask them to put their hands up so they can provide the clues one at a time rather than all at once! They may not use any of the words on the board (or a part of them) in the clues. You can decide whether or not gestures are allowed.
  4. After each clue, the student at the front has to guess which word(s) come next, and say as much of the sentence as they know. If they are correct, the next student to give a clue can move on to the next part of the sentence.
  5. When the student is able to guess the whole sentence, another student comes to the board (you could use the person who gave the last clue), and the process repeats.
Target Language

The Silly Sentences ESL activity works really well as a fun, low-intensity warmer or time-filler. Kids will love it, especially when you write something ‘crazy’ on the board in a more formal classroom setting. And although some adults might find it a little childish, it definitely depends on your group!

You can use it to familiarise students with simple grammar structures you have been learning, and you could also include recently learned vocabulary. Another option is to focus on parts of speech, in which case have to include the relevant part of speech in their clue for a word.

When they are familiar with the idea, you could let students contribute their own silly sentences too. The Silly Sentences ESL activity works best with high beginner and low intermediate levels.

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