In the Change Chairs ESL game (also known as Fruit Bowl), students have to change chairs if the sentence spoken by another student is true for them.
Clear a space in the classroom and arrange some chairs in a circle (facing inwards). You should have one less chair than the number of players – and it works best if you play yourself!
- The students sit on the circle of chairs, except for one student (or the teacher), who stands in the middle.
- The person in the middle says a sentence that starts with Change chairs if you… and ends with some condition (e.g. …have brown eyes).
- If that condition is true for a student, they have to stand up and find a new chair as quickly as possible, while the speaker also tries to sit down.
- The student left standing up then has to provide the next condition, and the game repeats.
Play the Change Chairs ESL game as a warmer or review game for specific grammar/vocabulary. For beginner students or kids the conditions might work best with the present simple, for example …have a sister or …walk to class. But with intermediate students you could use the past simple (…ate a banana yesterday) and/or present perfect simple (…have gone to the cinema in the last month). It also works well when practising clothes vocabulary (…if you’re wearing blue shoes).
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.