Word Association Pass

In the Word Association Pass ESL activity, students throw a ball to each other and make a chain of associated words.

Students for Word Association Pass ESL Activity:4+Time for Word Association Pass ESL Activity:5-10 mins
Resources for Word Association Pass ESL Activity:

You can do this activity as a class, or in smaller groups (better if you have a large class). You will need a ball for each group.

  1. Students stand in a circle and throw the ball to each other in a random order. Each time they throw the ball they have to say a word associated with the last word that was said.
  2. The first student starts with a random word (e.g. apple), then the subsequent students make a chain (e.g. apple – banana – monkey – jungle – tree – green etc.).
  3. Once the students get used to the idea, challenge them to go as fast as they can. If a student takes too long, or days a word that doesn’t have any connection, you could make them do a forfeit (try our Challenge Generator).
  4. There are a number of possible variations and extensions you could try. For example, you could get the students to link twenty words, then go back along the chain, repeating the words in reverse order.
Target Language

The Word Association Pass ESL activity is a short, active warmer designed to get students thinking quickly. Due to the vocabulary knowledge required, it works best with intermediate or advanced students.

For similar games suitable for lower level students, try Catch and Count, Catch and Conjugate, and Phonics Catch.

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