In the Concentration ESL Game (also known as Match Up or Memory), students have to remember the positions of matching vocabulary words/images.

Students for Concentration ESL Game:2+Time for Concentration ESL Game:5-15+ mins
Resources for Concentration ESL Game:
Internet and Projector or (Prepared) Papers

If you have a projector and Internet connection, the easiest way to play is using our online Concentration game. This game has a variety of vocabulary categories to choose from, all specially designed for English students.

If you don’t have a projector or Internet connection, you could also prepare your own game using twenty-four small pieces of recycled paper. Pick twelve pairs of target vocabulary to practise (see Target Language below), then write one element on each paper. Arrange them randomly, face-down, in a grid to play.

The only disadvantage with these methods is that there is only one game set, so there’s a limit to how many people can play at once. So with larger kids classes, why not turn making the game into a mini-project? Students could create different vocabulary sets in small groups, and even draw pictures to make vocabulary word/image pairs.

Divide the class into two teams. If you have more than six students per game, the students within each team take turns playing.

  1. The teams take turns playing, selecting two grid tiles each time.
  2. When a tile is selected, a word or image is revealed for a few seconds.
  3. If the words/images match, the team wins a point and those tiles are removed from play.
  4. As the words/images are only shown for a limited time, players have to remember their positions in order to try and select pairs in future.
  5. The team with the most points when all the tiles have been removed wins.
Target Language

The Concentration ESL game is a fun warmer or vocabulary practice activity for beginner or low intermediate students. Our online game allows you to select a variety of different vocabulary options, in which students match words and corresponding images. If you prepare the game on paper, you can use it to practise word pairs, such as synonyms and antonyms.

As detailed above, you could also extend the game into a mini-project, by getting students to make their own game sets. This could work well if you want to review a few different sets of vocabulary at the end of a book/module.

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.