The I Went To The Shop ESL game is a simple memory exercise which you can tailor to practise food, home or classroom objects vocabulary, or the past simple.
Arrange your students in a circle. It can also be played if the students are in rows. If you have a big class, you could split the students into two groups to play.
- Start with the sentence I went to the shop and I bought…, adding an object of your choice (you could also use the pronoun “we” if you prefer).
- The first student then has to repeat the sentence, repeating your object and adding another object at the end. With young or low-level students, you may need to write the phrase on the board to help them.
- Each subsequent student then repeats what came before them, adding their own different object at the end of the chain. Remembering the previous objects gets harder and harder as you go on, which is always fun!
- If a student can’t remember an object, get the other students to act to help them. Or, depending on their age/level, you could get them to do a forfeit.
For an extension, set a challenge of a certain number of objects to get to without prompts.
The great thing about the I Went To The Shop ESL game is that it’s suitable for any age group, from young kids right through to adults. In this form, with the sentence I went to the shop…, you can practise vocabulary of things you might buy, e.g. food. But you could also alter it slightly for home or classroom objects vocabulary too, for example In my house/classroom there is….
You can use it as a warmer, or even to practice the past simple with beginner or low intermediate students. Here the sentence would be Last weekend I…, and the objects would be replaced by activities in the past.
As a variation (useful with small groups), you could combine it with the game Last Letter First Letter. This means that each new object has to begin with the last letter of the previous object. Or with smaller kids, each object could begin with the next letter of the alphabet, helping them to practise that too!
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