Spot The Difference

The Spot The Difference ESL activity is a version of the well-known kids activity that can be used to practise a number of different language topics.

Students for Spot The Difference ESL Activity:1+Time for Spot The Difference ESL Activity:10-20 mins
Resources for Spot The Difference ESL Activity:
Projector; Internet or Prepared Images

There are many spot the difference images available online. The language that you wish to practise will influence your choice (see Target Language section below). We’ve collated some of the best spot the difference pictures that you can project on the board in your ESL class here:

Kids: Making a cake, Under the sea, In the playground, Christmas, On the farm
Present Continuous: Family time, At the beach
Present Perfect Simple Passive: Bedroom

Students can complete this activity individually or in pairs.

  1. Project a pair of spot the difference pictures on the board.
  2. Each student/pair has to find as many differences between the two pictures as they can. They write down the differences in full sentences using the target language.
  3. Optionally, you could project the image for a set time, then remove it before the students write anything. The students then have to remember the differences activity as they write them for an extra challenge.
  4. When they have finished (or when a set time is up), they take turns sharing the differences with the class. Circle the differences on the board with a marker and correct any errors in the target language.

As an extension with kids, you could even get them to then draw their own spot the difference pictures. Direct them to use the vocabulary/grammar you wish to practise, then get them to swap pictures with a classmate when they’ve finished.

Target Language

You can use the Spot The Difference ESL activity to practise a variety of grammar and vocabulary, depending on the picture you choose.

For beginner students and younger kids, differences can be in the form of basic there is/are, present simple and present continuous descriptions (e.g. In this one the woman is painting, not listening to music). With certain images, you could also practise prepositions of place (In this one the ball is under the chair, not on it).

Intermediate students on the other hand could practise the present perfect simple, including the passive voice. Differences must be written and shared in the form of a present result, e.g. The woman has moved or The window has been closed.

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.